Archive for November 11th, 2013

by Pete Talbot

Much has already been written about the passing of Judy Smith, here are her obituary and a Front Page story in today’s Missoulian.

Her accomplishments would make this post longer than anything I’ve ever written here before.  One thing that wasn’t mentioned in either the obit or the news story was her involvement in the grand experiment known as the New Party.

Judy was one of the lead organizers of the Missoula chapter and, with others, advocated for the process of consensus when dealing with policy, party business, campaigns, etc.

Consensus could be slow and unwieldy, and meetings often dragged on for hours.  Coming from (usually male-dominated) institutions that relied on the arguments from the loudest, most quick-witted and aggressive members to carry the day, this was a radical change for me.

Judy explained to me why we used the consensus model.  It allowed everyone to weigh in on decision making, including the quiet and shy, and often their input was as valuable, if not more so, than that from the bold and outspoken.  It gave everyone a stake in the process.

Although I don’t always succeed, I try to keep this model in mind in my dealings with organizations and people.  I have also tried to impart this wisdom to my children, and now my grandchildren.

The New Party no longer exists but the philosophy and goals of the party live on in like-minded people and organizations in Montana and around the country, many of them inspired by the work of Judy.

Judy Smith made Missoula and Montana better places. And I, and so many others, are better people for having known and worked with Judy.

P.S.  While I didn’t know John Lynn nearly as well as I knew Judy, I saw his obit in today’s paper and it made me sad. Boom — a pulmonary embolism at age 62.  He ran as a Democrat for the legislature twice in close races in what is now District 100 but he couldn’t beat the odds.  It’s the most conservative district in Missoula County — Champ Edmunds represents it now — and just finding a Democratic candidate to run in that district has always been a challenge.

He was a mental health care professional and served that overlooked constituency for decades.  And I eagerly anticipated our conversations on progressive politics over the occasional beverage at the Missoula Club.  My deepest sympathies to his family.

As I grow older, I imagine I’ll be seeing more obituaries of friends who have influenced me over the years.  I don’t like it.

by lizard

The day we pay lip service to veterans is today, the 11th of November. This is the day we go through the motions of acknowledging there are people who sacrifice their bodies, minds and families to fighting America’s wars.

So thank, American Veterans.

We should also give a special thanks to the President and the political party he leads for showing Americans how tomorrow’s wars can be fought without as much human cost (on our side, of course) because let’s be honest, after today we’ll return to the status quo of 22 Veterans committing suicide EVERY DAY.

It is my hope that with strong, Democratic leadership, we can reduce the tragic impact on American Vets through the technological innovation of killing poor brown people with robots, and not just by air, like with drones, but by land and sea as well. Not only will we be removing soldiers from the mortal risks of boots on the ground combat, but we will also save a lot of money.

Let’s face it, injured Veterans are expensive to take care of. The ones who don’t save our taxpayer money by committing suicide often have post-traumatic stress and brain injuries that can lead to all kinds of pricey afflictions, like addiction, and addiction can transform proud soldiers into homeless transients begging for handouts on the streets of noble cities like our beloved Missoula, which deters people from expressing their freedom to buy stuff, which hurts business and, by extension, hurts America.

Let’s keep tomorrow’s soldiers from coming home and hurting America!

Of course America will still require some of its citizens to operate these robots, so I think we civilians can go a step further to help tomorrow’s Veterans by supporting a bill to reduce the age of service from 18 to 10, that way we can utilize children’s underdeveloped sense of morality to achieve the battlefield victories our American lifestyle necessitates.

Now, to counter the awful tone of this post, here is Godspeed You! Black Emperor doing THE DEAD FLAG BLUES:

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