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We are all in this together

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When I first moved to Montana, decades ago, I was impressed with the level of friendly debate between friends and neighbors - something I did not often see in the state I came from. Sadly, with the extraordinary stressors that we have today, many of us are circling the wagons, thinking of others as outsiders, and forgetting that we are all in this together. Some politicians are all too willing to use this human tendency in order to put together a base of support and to keep it motivated.

Lately, I have been visiting the online public pages of our elected representatives. It is disheartening to see our representatives follow partisan talking points and put up misleading arguments. People who comment follow suit, and the conversation is anything but civil.

In fact, people often urge those they disagree with to leave the state. Of course, nothing so simple will happen. We will all be here, living together, for some years yet. How much better to understand each other’s ideas and experiences, and to work out solutions that we can all live with. How much better to have civil conversations.

Looking at all this, we must conclude that representatives owe us a better presentation of ideas. We owe more respect for their office in our replies - and we all owe one another a serious hearing. We need to understand how proposed policies impact the lives of our neighbors - however different from us they may be - because we really are all in this together.


Gail Trenfield

St. Ignatius


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