By Evelyn Pyburn

It is unspeakable, the assault on Montana’s small business owners that the Governor is perpetrating in what has to be the most disrespectful attack on citizens ever seen in this state.

For going on nine months now, small business owners of every size and industry have been struggling mightily to keep their heads above water, given the extreme restrictions that they have been working under, with claims that their sacrifices and the loss of their businesses are necessary to end the impacts of COVID-19.

Despite wide-spread compliance to the protocols that included months of closures, as well as social distancing, lines on floors, masks, plastic shielding, hand washing stations, constant cleaning, consumers staying home, quarantining  and cancelling of events, the virus has continued to spread. Concluding that the solution must be more of the same, Montana government and Governor Steve Bullock have doubled down and turned on the most vital of our citizens – those who provide the goods and services, jobs and income – and tax revenues —that sustain everyone.

It’s not that our business people don’t have enough pressure on them keeping up with the protocols, responding to divisive snitching, working 24-7, losing money, exhausting their savings and watching their businesses go down the drain – now they have to deal with a specially -designed force of secret police stalking their businesses and lives, who will force them into re-education programs with the threat of criminal charges if they don’t adjust their attitudes. (The enforcers are being called “liaisons,” an attempted slight-of-language that says they fully understand the nature of what they do and want to avoid clearly identifying it.)

As dire as the consequences of the disease, the consequences of governments such as this are far greater. The lack of individual liberty kills just as surely as any lethal virus.

The attack on businesses in Yellowstone County is all the more baseless given that the only rational excuse offered is that they want to reduce pressure on medical facilities that are at capacity, with no consideration given to the fact that more than half of the patients are from outside the county. People are coming to Billings, as they always have for medical care, from throughout dozens and dozens of counties, Wyoming, North Dakota. How is it effective or justifiable to penalize local business people for hospitalizations of people from other areas?

The question deserves an answer.

But more importantly our business people deserve to be treated with more respect. The citizens of the state are autonomous individuals, not vassals of  bureaucrats and political agendas and ambitions.


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