A little light-hearted commentary for a Friday…
Here in Montana, we hear a lot of I’m a “fourth generation Montanan” or I’m a “fifth generation Montanan” and so on.
Frequently, we hear this line from politicians who must be thinking they will corner more votes from native Montanans.
Note to politicians: There are a lot of Montanans who were not born here and by the way, we vote. Just so you know our votes count the same, too. This isn’t Chicago.
Frankly, I think most Montanans are smart enough not to accept this fourth or fifth generation line. They elected Mike Mansfield a few times. Mansfield was born in New York City. Conrad Burns was elected three times. Burns was born in Missouri.
Like many of us, I imagine they got to Montana as quickly as they could.
Most of us picked Montana. It did not pick us.
Sometimes hearing the “generation” thingy makes those of us who were not fortunate enough to be born here feel that we’re not worthy. Sadly, there’s nothing we can do about it. I’m sure that’s exactly how the person telling us about their vast Montana roots wants us to feel.
Montanans may remember the quote from the defecting Soviet Capt. Vasili Borodin in the movie, “The Hunt for Red October” when he said:
I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck… maybe even a “recreational vehicle.” And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Unfortunately, Capt. Borodin died in the movie, but even if he had made it to Montana he would be a non-native. But he did pick Montana – of all the states!
For sure, we non-natives just can’t love the state as much as those who were slapped on the butt for the first time at a local Montana hospital.
We non-native Montanans know all too well that being native to this great state makes one just a little better – because native Montanans are just more intelligent, more athletic, better looking, and they are just more-rounded in life as a whole. A native Montanan (at least a third generation one on up) is the type of person with which you would like to hold a beer summit.
But when it comes to hiring people for local jobs, that native Montana thing just seems to fly out the window.
We’ve seen people hired for high-profile jobs from such faraway places as Colorado, Arizona, Maine and California. California –OMG! Some even replaced native Montanans who were doing great jobs. I’m sure the Montanans who applied for these positions were just as qualified.
So, after several weeks of research, the only answer that I can come up with is that the people who hired these non-native Montanans must be non-natives, too.
It’s a conspiracy if I have ever seen one. For sure, it’s an invasion.
But the funny thing is that as soon as they are hired, many of the new non-native Montanans try to use a variation of the “six degrees of separation” theory in trying to show their “roots” to the state by spouting out information, like:
“My father was born here.”
“My parents lived here in the 70s.”
“I went to grade school here.”
“My great great grandparents came to Montana by horseback.”
“I visited Glacier National Park as a five year-old and from that point on I always wanted to live here.”
These “Montana Native” talking points must be in their contracts or job manuals. It’s an icebreaker of sorts.
Nevertheless, we non-native Montanans are making headway: My children are first generation Montanans…so take that.
By the way, they are smarter and better looking than me, too.