This town state region country just ain’t big enough for the both of us.
There’s Gonna be a War in Montana
Over what? The soul of Montana of course. One-of-a-kind land. That’s nothing new. What’s new is the character of the warring factions. They aren’t who you see on TV. On one side you have global interests imputing their values, importing cheaper labor, hollowing out Montana’s attractions and selling them to an international bourgeoisie for maximum profits. On the other you have the new underclass. Not the friendly Christian country folk of times past. And not Cowboy Hat Republican Rancher Dad either. No, these are a new kind of country person. Angry, exasperated, poor, Trump-loving service-workers—the Oxy takers, the meth cookers, the eaters of Chick-Fil-A. This group is acutely aware of just who controls Bozeman and Big Sky, and believe that the same people are coming for their territory. And they’re right.
If you listen, you can hear the two groups screaming at each other in silence, waiting for their very own Gavrilo Princip to spark this thing off.
Even at the dive bar it’s purple hair and tattoos. Baseball on the TVs. The only cowboy hats ironic. Not even a biker left. Alexander Skaarsgaard in another third wave coffeeshop talking loudly in Swedish. A girl in Yeezies and a Prada purse window shops Twig and Whistle, her tall, impossible-jawline panama-hat boyfriend crinkles his tan crows-feet and attempts a Reaganite howdy.
Before, all this could be excused as the seasonal cycle of a ski town. The point is skiing, not culture, so who cares if the localism is real or the mask at the end of a proboscis tube feeding back to international banks. But that’s the old cycle, the old class, the old morality. Now, ski towns are town towns. People stay in Big Sky year round. The occupational class flees the city. I mean why not, honey? We can ski in the winter and just, like, chill in the Summer. It’s getting bad around here. We love hiking…why not just live in nature all the time?
So now in July the one lane road from Bozeman to Big Sky looks like Los Feliz Boulevard at 3pm on a Friday. Plus pebble torpedoes.
26 minutes away, Three Forks, Montana. Sick with a different disease. If Bozeman has parasites, Three Forks has dysentery. 2,000 impoverished white people play host to stragglers who’ve fallen like expensive pebbles over the edge from Bozeman. A beaten down main street, a few residential blocks and an electron cloud of mobile homes and trailers with kids playing out back and parents drinking out front.
You’ve seen the amount of Trump flags that supporters put on boats and cars; these aren’t the mild mannered conservatives of yore. Their propaganda yells, shrieks something that the other side refuses to hear. In Three Forks, every vehicle is a pickup truck and in every truck bed a hostile dog and on every bumper a hostile statement. “My Carbon Footprint is Bigger than Yours” “Proud to be Everything a Liberal Hates.” “Welcome to Montana, Now Go Home.” “We the People.”
But this is a new thing. Montana has always been the site of land battles—but these warring factions are brand new. The Washington Post presents the risk as one-sided—that angry Trumpists are going to soon resort to violence because, well, that’s what they do when the modern world comes knocking. The media doesn’t notice that Trump flags are being raised in reaction to the rainbow ones, not in spite of them. The anger bubbling up from Three Forks isn’t happening because Montanans, left alone for decades, somehow developed into anachronistic bigots unready for the modern world. It’s happening because Montanans got their sh*t taken. They were intentionally shoved out, left behind. Their music, their signs, their cars, their language—they’re all born from a fresh wound.
Private equity fears nativism because nativism equals economic protectionism—no free access to markets, no distant ownership of local assets, no importation of cheap labor. Blood is thicker than water, and private equity is terrified of relationships it can’t buy. This is why it posts Live Local! on its LoMo buildings and serves frozen versions of authentic Montana cuisine. It needs to placate people just long enough to take over the land, hollow out the existing culture, and replace it with a replica that siphons the locals’ milkshake back to itself.
Private equity knows that the bourgeoisie is reliably distracted by rainbows. To them, the rainbow represents tolerance, and tolerance (of everyone besides 100 million Trump supporters) must be exported everywhere. So, hand in hand, the bourgeoisie and private equity raise the rainbow flag over Montana. The new underclass shouts back. Buys another pickup. Tacks on another Trump flag. Digs in. The bourgeoisie gets more triggered, hunkers down, more rainbows, more Washington Post articles. Back and forth until it feels like we’re one mistake away from all those pickup trucks becoming the war machines of an American Taliban.
The media doesn’t warn us about a civil war in San Francisco or Seattle, even though downtown Seattle was occupied for two months by insurrectionists not two years ago. That’s because the bourgeoisie/private equity tag team is secure in its ownership of the cities—the new underclass isn’t a threat. No, they warn of civil war in places where there’s still land to win. And there’s no better land than Montana’s.
Plus, they figure they won the war in SF and Seattle a long, long time ago. Sadly for the rest of us, their victory all too soon began to taste of ashes in their mouths, no longer sweet but sour and bitter both at once. In addition, those former prospective Utopias they conquered and rearranged to their own liking inexplicably turned into squalid shitholes no longer fit for human habitation. So the marauding shitlib hordes have decided that those benighted lands wherein the primitive, uncouth Deplorables choose to dwell might benefit greatly from a few lessons from their more highly-evolved selves in how a diversity-centric, obedient, sustainable lifestyle is properly conducted.
They’re deadly serious about this ongoing project of theirs, and fully intend to get it done. Don’t even try to kid yourself they won’t, or can’t; the list of once-pleasant American hometowns that they’ve infested, warped, and ruined is extremely long, with more place-names being added every day. As in so many other contexts, our own complacency and/or reluctance to face facts honestly is the chink in American armor—a weakness they’ve become quite adept at exploiting to the fullest, having accumulated a great body of experience in it how to do it.