What it Means to Bring Montana back to Montana
Even though it may sound like one, Make Bozeman Montana Again is not a political statement.
The trademarked catchphrase is all about Montana values, what makes our state awesome, and really it’s designed to encourage dialogue between those who grew up here, and those who came here because of how awesome it is to live in Montana.
So why is it controversial? Why do some love it, while others are condemning it?
Let’s straighten a few things out on what the quip means.
Make Bozeman Montana Again isn’t Anti-Bozeman.
We’ll start things off with this: we love Montana and all of Montana. We’re not ragging on Bozeman here, nor are we mocking the awesome people who have chosen to make it home. In fact, we’re a little envious of the amazing cultural scene, the incredible local restaurants, and the majestic Montana Mountains that butt right up to the city.
Bozeman is an incredible place in the Last Best Place, filled with incredible people.
Make Bozeman Montana Again is About Montana Values
The saying is all about keeping the Montana values that we love and hold dear, as the Montana values that we love and hold dear.
Here’s the 30 second version. Around the country there are a lot of big cities, and some states, in turmoil. Neighbor turning on neighbor, politicians out for themselves, and overall really crappily run towns and cities.
People who are fed up with these shenanigans look around and see Bozeman as a pretty sweet place to live. It’s where neighbors still look out for each other in a growing city that still feels like small town. In an effort to preserve that humanity, and prevent themselves from turning into the thing they hate, they come to a place they love.
What happens, however, is that those big city politics, ideas, and, well, shenanigans, that were being avoided, are brought along. Instead of embracing the Montana atmosphere that drew them here in the first place, it’s changed into a representation of what was being escaped.
And slowly Bozeman changed. From a cool Montana town, into a version of the place people were trying to leave.
Make Bozeman Montana Again isn’t Political
The statement sounds a whole lot like a recent president’s tagline. That’s intentional.
The statement, however, isn’t against the political atmosphere in Bozeman. In fact, a lot of the politics of our Southwest Montana city are very well run keeping the city safe, clean, and a desirable place to live despite the diminished Montana values.
We’re in the clothing business (and stickers); not even attempting to get caught up in the bureaucracy of politics.
Make Bozeman Montana Again is Political
Yeah, it’s not political… and at the same time it is political.
Because this is what we see happening. And we see it happening in other areas too, not just Bozeman. Bozeman has just hit the gas pedal in the last 10-20 years to accelerate the issue.
Let’s take the story of Edna. Edna is a widow, who has lived in Bozeman for the last 50 years. She bought her home with her late husband, for, I don’t know, let’s say like $15,000. It’s a good house, well maintained, and the couple raised their kids in it.
But lately, as the cost of housing has skyrocketed, the costs of insurance and taxes have kept pace. Despite the house being paid off decades ago, this sweet old lady who has done more for the community than most other people, is being forced to sell the family home. She can’t afford it anymore.
How do we rein this in, and ensure that the good people of the community aren’t forced out?
Unfortunately, it comes down to political decisions that help the people who made the place great in the first place.
Show your Montana (and Bozeman) Pride with a MBMA Shirt
So what do we do?
Everyone we have talked to, and had a conversation with about what Make Bozeman Montana Again really means, are on board. We see misaligned values infiltrating Montana culture.
We see our state slowly turning into the very place that people are trying to escape.
One of the ways we can stand up for what we believe in is to let other people know that we stand up for what we believe in. Wear a Make Bozeman Montana Again shirt. Slap a sticker on your vehicle. Tell people that we don’t want shenanigans here, because we’re good hard working people helping good hard working people.
Change starts (or in this case, stops), when people are willing to do the right thing.