From Erin Erickson, Founder and Lead Organizer of Missoula Rises:
Noticeably absent from this page has been the onslaught of calls to action for Rob Quist. So let’s address that.
Yes, we are non-partisan. But this page started on November 9th out of a bone-deep reaction to say: NO. I will not allow myself or my family to sit by and be a victim of Trump.
So we started and we grew and grew. And yes we are non-partisan, but this group has grown and been motivated by resistance. Resistance to Trump, Price, Sessions, DeVos. Resistance to the hate in Whitefish and Richard Spencer and that hate that began to spill throughout our state.
And our resistance has been necessarily supported by ACTION. Relentlessly holding our Members of Congress accountable. Gathering outside Daines’ office for 90 minutes in the wind and snow and sharing our stories because his staff refused to let us in. Distributing the “No Hate In Our State” and “Love Lives Here” posters to show our community we love and include ALL. The ACA Town Hall. The numerous letters to the editor. Our Daily Actions. Yeah, we are figuring out the recipe for resistance.
Then Zinke’s seat was open. Zinke, who had just been elected on Nov. 9th. And the Special Election “primary” process ensued with Rob Quist as the nominee. That process has left many Democrats/progressives/Progressive Democrats uneasy, if not deeply disturbed. And no, I’m not going to shy away from this conversation, because it is necessary.
It must be acknowledged that there are people who support progressive values that feel a different kind of resistance – and that is a resistance toward the Democratic Party. And likewise, a resistance from loyal Democrats to actively listening, acknowledging these issues and engaging in substantive conversation. And the Green Party moving in and offering alternatives to disgruntled progressives.
So, here is my position – my personal position. Even in light of my deep frustrations with the Democratic Party – my focus is the same as Nov. 9th: Resistance. This election is another piece of the puzzle in our Resistance. And its a big one. Flipping that seat blue just 6 months later sends a CLEAR message that the PEOPLE will not abide by the GOP and Trump’s toxic agenda. We will not sit by and watch our community members suffer while the ACA is axed, our schools are gutted, oil money suffocates our environment and an agenda of underlying hate and discrimination seeps across our country. Montana knows better and we won’t stand for it. The Resistance is strong and we are NOT burnt out and we are NOT going away. Electing Quist is just one more way of asserting our power. If you take issue with the Democratic Party, putting Quist in that seat does NOT mean that you are part of their machine. It just means you are being strategic for now.
There will be a time for the issues in the Democratic Party to come to the surface and be dealt with. It is unavoidable. But ask yourself if now is actually the right time to make that stand by either not voting or voting for a party that is not on the ballot. If your goal is resistance, then I submit that turning this seat to Quist is our stand. It is strictly strategy. Allowing Gianforte to take that seat will not advance our cause. It is true that this election will not make or break our resistance. But it will be a big move forward in our movement. And just like we use our voices against Trump, use your voice to effectuate change within your party. I’m starting to really believe, when we engage – thoughtfully, intentionally, directly – we are change.
Loyal Democrats and those that are struggling with the party can achieve the same result. We can turn that seat over to Quist. We may have different reasons for our decisions, but we can achieve the same goal.
To quote my girl, Grace Potter:
United we stand, divided we fall. It’s time to cross-over, shoulder to shoulder.
Raise up your arms, come one, come all.
We’ve got to cross-over.
Raise up your arms, hold up the sky.
It’s time to cross-over.
Shoulder to shoulder we blow on the coals
in the cold of our souls and we’re ready to FIGHT
You, me, together we’re going to be
Revolution loves company,
We are the Revelators.