Montana Greens need local roots

  Dear HCN,

Ray Ring got it mostly right with his dissertation on the relationship of Montana environmentalists with "other" Montanans (HCN, 12/17/01: Bad moon rising). He really nailed it when he got past the "easy" answers and into "rural-thinking, rooted to an immense landscape, and every once in a while rebelling against domination by external forces."

After all, most Greens are funded by out-of-state, tax-sheltered foundations that are, by any stretch, elitist social engineers. Nobody likes being engineered, especially if they have their own plans.

Here in the Flathead, there's a "Citizens" group that just celebrated its 10th year, but the fact remains that its exec is an out-of-state lawyer, and half of its budget came from the Bullitt Foundation in (gag) Seattle. That might explain why our "planning" boards are being dynamited and dismantled. If this group was truly operating on a level playing field, supported locally both politically and fiscally, the story might be different.

But it isn't. Until Greens actually have a stake in the health of their "community," either through their wages, or land ownership (not conservation easements), or whatever, they will in fact be separate from the community and therefore not able to participate except through coercion, manipulation and litigation.

Dave Skinner
Whitefish, Montana