Seeley Swan Pathfinder -


By Klaus von Stutterheim
Seeley Lake, Mont. 

Hopkins dead wrong


October 18, 2018

I was surprised and shocked to read Mike Hopkins’ letter to the editor in the last issue. I know Mike as friendly with a sense of humor, not shrill and hysterical. I can only assume that somebody else wrote the letter and Mike signed it without reading it carefully.

It is curious that the letter quotes extreme behavior by left-wing radicals in D.C., when the Republican Party and its adherents have plenty of extreme crazies of their own, even a Republican “mainstream” vice-presidential candidate encouraging the assassination of Congresswoman Gifford. As a result six people died in a shooting rampage. A Republican accusing the Democratic Party of harboring radicals is certainly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Democrats routinely and sincerely condemn such behavior, while Republicans tread much more carefully when dealing with their own extremists, like President Trump declaring both sides were to blame in Charlottesville a year ago for the death and injuries sustained by anti-racist protesters and calling those who joined the white supremacist “very fine people.”

I don’t know anything about the incident in Missoula that the letter describes. But I don’t know a single Democrat who would other than condemn anything like the behavior described.

As to the statement that many Democratic “activists have become extremists who wish ill on the people who oppose them,” I can only say that while I know plenty of Democrats, I don’t know a single one who wishes ill on other people, regardless of party. Certainly such people exist but they are few in number and have nothing to do with the mainstream of the Democratic Party. And elements of the Republican Party are not exactly gentle and tolerant.

Nobody in the Democratic Party has been penalized by its leadership for working with Republicans, as the letter claims. Quite to the contrary, since Democrats are in the minority in both Montana Houses, Democrats are always thrilled when there is an opportunity to work across the aisle for the betterment of the people of Montana.

To claim that Democrats have a “mob mentality” is plainly wrong. In my several activities in Seeley Lake I have come across many Republicans and Democrats working harmoniously together with profound respect for one another, while freely agreeing that there are issues that separate them. Unfortunately, painting protesters as “radical” and “mobs” and using them to rally the GOP base has become a part of the party’s playbook and I’m surprised that Mike would just robot-like repeat party slogans.

The conclusion that “Democrats shouldn’t be allowed near the levers of power” strikes me as nonsensical. After all, most of us elect individuals to represent us, not entire parties.

I can only hope that Mike wakes up from his bad dream and returns to be the friendly, polite, cooperative and humorous man whom I know and have always appreciated.


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