By Bill Baum
It has been many years since I last addressed this issue in print. Namely, that Frank Miele deserves the right granted by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for freedom of speech, also adopted by Montana in 1972, to have his own personal opinion column published in the opinion pages of the Daily Inter Lake, “Editor’s 2 Cents.”
Frank has always allowed my opinions to publish despite some people hating them even as others liked them. I am grateful for that. Even though he and I most often disagree and have vastly different opinions about those issues I choose to write about, he does provide me space in his newspaper and publishes me: Wildlife and wilderness advocacy (since MFWP and USFS do not advocate for it); upholding the Endangered Species Act (especially grizzly bears and wolves); global warming being real and not a hoax (the end is near); prohibiting the mining of “dirty” Montana coal; eliminating the Keystone XL highly toxic and flammable Canadian tar sands oil pipeline from being built, and railroad cars hauling it through Badrock Canyon, Coram, Hungry Horse, Martin City, Columbia Falls, Whitefish, et al, (not IF a derailment into the designated scenic Flathead River corridor occurs but WHEN); severely criticizing the Republican Party for what I consider to be political evil-doing against the middle class; chastising the Democratic Party for being more of a social club and incapable of standing up to the Republican Party and providing an alternative choice to vote for; preserving national forest habitat for wildlife and protecting it from invasive logging interests, motorized and mechanized vehicle “wreckreationists”, hunting and trapping (killing animals), et al, even as MFWP and USFS oppose me for their own personal political reasons of career self-survival.
Many liberals dislike Frank and go so far as to boycott buying and reading his DIL newspaper. They betray our First Amendment and behave badly. They even disqualify me as a friend of theirs over defending Miele for his rights.
Many conservatives criticize Frank for granting those liberals space in his newspaper. They skip over the First Amendment and go right to the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, as their mantra. They do not believe in minorities, like me, having rights around here.
Frank and I both started out our lives in New York as liberals. He evolved into a very conservative Republican Party guy once he landed in Montana, while I diverged from his views by becoming an independent, progressive, environmentalist when I arrived in Montana. Either way, we are able to meet and discuss issues in a cordial and civil manner and respect each other by agreeing to disagree and moving on. For those who dislike him without ever meeting him, he is not only an excellent writer, but is a pleasant, fair-minded, very bright guy, with a good sense of humor, who you would enjoy talking to … despite your politics.
Recently, I read over some very old issues of the DIL laying around my house in order to finally dispose of them. I ran across some articles whereby liberal writers criticized Frank and he published their opinionated articles anyway. I suggest that these people be appreciative of being published and give Frank Miele a break.
Baum is a resident of Martin City.