It's finally here, a day we've all looked forward to as ardently as a kid looks forward to Christmas morning, but maybe for different reasons. For me, I just can't wait to be done with the political ads - excuse me, I meant to say the ******* ****ing ****-eating ************* political ads - which have been as ubiquitous as they have been obnoxious.
And the tone of the things - "Senator Daines is lying," or "Steve Bullock has changed," all narrated by what sounds like the same guy they get to do movie trailers. And that's apropos, because whichever side you're on, the other guy is portrayed like a horror movie villain: "Jason Voorhees says he won't kill you if you've got pre-existing conditions, but his record shows otherwise!"
And the ads were wall-to-wall, too. Many times, political ads filled the entire block of commercials, with only one or two that weren't ads for how some or another human being was a liar, a cheat, a radical liberal, a far-right extremist, not Montanan enough, out-of-touch, evil, or dumb. Now, I don't know you feel about the actual politics of the 2020 election or the various rancid, syphilitic vampires vying for control of Washington DC. In Montana, national politics have rarely intruded on our corner of the American project, and so we've more or less done our own thing, regardless of what happens on the Coasts, in DC, or anywhere else. But as this is a historic election, and because so much rides on our spot in the Senate, Montana has been under the national microscope, making it the most expensive Montana Senate elections ever. The whole country is watching us, pumping money into one of the parties, buying up ad time.
But today, it's all over. Whatever happens with the election, the ads will stop. I don't know about you, but I didn't think I'll ever be so delighted to see Shaquille O'Neil peddle GoldBond again.
And that means that, whatever the results of the national or state elections, we can go back to being Montanans, and not just Republicans, Democrats (or one of those weird smaller parties). As far as I'm concerned, being a Montanan is something to be proud of, while party affiliations are things never to mention at parties or in mixed company.
Whatever happens in this election (which will surely go on for a month longer as someone finds something to grouse about either way), we'll be Montanans, and we'll be together. We know that Montana means community, and it always had. There was a time that your neighbors were all that stood between starving in winter, or losing your cows, or having an extra blanket for your babies. Now we live in more convenient times. But our neighbors are still there, and we need them more than ever.
I know that when I drive on Montana's long, dusty dirt roads, and I see another truck coming, I'll raise a couple of fingers in a friendly wave, because that person is on the same road that I am. Hopefully, he or she will do the same.
I doubt either one of us will wonder who the other voted for as we keep on driving.