May 24th, 2017 the strangest day in Montana political history.
As most readers are probably already aware, Greg Gianforte allegedly assaulted a Guardian reporter in his campaign HQ in Bozeman.
Ultimately this action has led to Gianforte being charged with misdemeanor assault. According to Montana law, this charge can result in a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail under the maximum sentence.
Here at the Montana Political Review, we are astonished and quite frankly disgusted with congressional candidate Greg Gianforte’s behavior.
Free speech, free press, and freedom of association are guaranteed to all US citizens under the 1st amendment of the US constitution. These rights were protected in statute, as they fundamentally protect the individual in their natural capacity to advance ideas.
Folks on the right commonly criticize the left wing of suppressing free speech and utilizing violent means to push individuals out of the public square. In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Americans watched as peaceful protests turned into violent riots. We have seen groups like Antifa come into the fold; often utilizing violence as a means to shut down opposing views.
It is our opinion that this behavior is not only deplorable, but that it is a cheap and weak way of advancing ideas.
To see a major party’s congressional candidate utilize violent means to shut down journalists is as detrimental, if not more, as when the left wing uses violence to shut down opposing viewpoints.
Greg Gianforte has campaigned as a conservative who is hellbent on protecting individual rights, challenging a leftist media, and representing Montana. His actions on Wednesday completely undermine this effort.
People who work to advance individualism and free speech understand that it is better to win in the battle of ideas than to stoop to violence. Once you raise your fist, no matter how provoked, you lose all credibility.
Many on the right in Montana are quick to defend Gianforte’s actions, saying it was a set up, or that the journalist deserved it. While it is no secret that the Montana media has never been a fan of Gianforte, this does not justify violence.
This blog was started on the principles of free speech. We believe that anonymity allows us to engage in political discourse in a manner that presents ideas without worrying about partisan or individual baggage. We wish to inject a viewpoint that readers can intellectually grapple with solely on the merits of the ideas.
The altercation between Gianforte and the guardian journalist are reprehensible. If Gianforte truly believes that his ideas and worldview are superior, he would not allow himself to resort to violent means.
While we have major reservations about the other candidates in the election for congress, we believe Gianforte has proven incapable at advancing the ideas of individualism in a civil manner. It is because of these reasons, we believe he needs to withdraw from the congressional campaign.
Montana deserves representation that respects the first amendment, and opposes the use of force to advance ideas. Greg Gianforte has demonstrated that while he may consider himself an advocate for individualism, when the tensions are high, he cannot uphold these beliefs himself.