Montanans have two distinctly different candidates to choose between when voting for the next senator from the Treasure State: Amanda Curtis, Democrat, 34, married, no children, math teacher, born and raised in Billings, graduate of Montana Tech and UM-Western, lives in Butte, served one term in the Montana House of Representatives, and Steve Daines, Republican, 52, married, 4 children, businessman, born in California, raised in Bozeman, graduate of MSU, lives in Bozeman, served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Actually, when you look at those facts, the two seem to have had remarkably similar lives – age and four kids being the main differences. It’s only when you look a little deeper that you begin to see how two middle class kids from Montana have taken on the dissimilarities that are embodied in the scrappy, dying-but-never-quite-dead, depressing pit that is Butte, and the clean, fresh, soaring, purple mountains majesty that surround the breathtaking Gallatin Valley.
Amanda is a product of a dysfunctional family who relied on government handouts and union assistance to get her to where she is today; she wouldn’t have made it without the government safety net of food stamps, welfare, and government-backed loans and grants for college. She survived.
Steve is the son of parents who built a small construction business in the mid-sixties. Like all small businesses in Montana, Daines Construction was subject to the ups and downs of the Montana economy; success was never guaranteed. Bozeman in the seventies wasn’t exactly a thriving megalopolis, and Steve lived at home, working for the family business while earning his college degree. He thrived.
And that explains so much.
Amanda sees the world as a scary place, where the pitfalls are huge and swallow the unwary. She believes that the government’s role is to provide a safeguard against all the misfortunes of life. Her dream for Montana is small: Government provided health care, more food stamps, more welfare, Big Brother mitigating the worst of life’s disasters, equality of outcomes, and redistribution of wealth. Amanda is all about survival – about landing safely, whether you’ve reached your intended destination or not.
Steve, on the other hand, has dreams for Montanans that are as endless as the big sky itself. He sees an unlimited horizon of possibilities – a thriving economy with good, high-paying jobs, opportunities to create the next big tech giants, enormous fields of golden grain to harvest to feed the world, a million lives to build a million different ways – where government’s role is to provide you with the freedom to go for the big dream – your dream! Steve is about soaring, reaching for the stars – about recognizing the possibility of failure, but focusing on the potential for success!
Both Amanda and Steve are good people. Each would work hard in Washington to make their dreams for you a reality.
It comes down to your dreams for yourself and your family. What size dream do you have? A little one or a big one? Do you see yourself dependent on the federal government for your daily bread, your birth control, your housing? Do you see yourself working at some low-paying, dead-end job for thirty or forty years so you can eventually retire on Social Security? Do you see your kids having to leave Montana so they can provide for their families? Or do you want to see a future full of possibilities and opportunities? A future where you can be who you want to be and do something you love. A future where you can be a blessing to your family, your community, your country. A future where you and your kids can choose where you live and how you live.
When you mark your ballot in November you are making a choice for yourself and your family. Are you choosing to play it safe, to be the drab little brown sparrow, being content with whatever crumbs can be dropped on your path – or do you want to be the majestic eagle, soaring high above the peaks and valleys, the master of all you survey?
Whose dream do you want for your family?
You can’t have it both ways.Guest Post from MT City Girl