Blogging from Montana
Hello from Whitefish, a little town of 5,000 people nestled between the national parks and forests of Western Montana. I’m traveling with my family, sans Hayley, to experience the natural beauty of Glacier National Park.
It’s good for city boys like me to venture out. During our travels, we spotted two moose, a family of bison, and a pair of suckling baby fawn. I also drove dirt roads, hiked mountainous trails, rode a horse, and got bitten by mosquitoes. But during this trip I got more than just nature. I got an opportunity to reevaluate my city-centric stereotypes of sparsely populated Americana.
People from Montana are More Godly
I arrived in Montana laden with unconfirmed assumptions and biases:
- Montana is sparsely populated
- This means rural
- Rural areas are less desirable than urban areas
- Rural areas are cheaper
- Rural areas are behind the times (some may call them backwards)
- Montana is ethnically homogeneous (all white)
- Therefore it’s not diverse
- And non-diverse places are racist
- Montanans are mostly Republican
- They’re more conservative
- And more Godly
It’s interesting that my beginning assumptions are correct: Montana is sparsely populated (at least relative to the parts of California where I’ve lived); Montana is predominantly white; and Montana is considered a red Republican state. But my following conclusions are mostly wrong.
- Whitefish, Montana is a very beautiful town — much cleaner and more pleasant than my beloved San Francisco.
- Real estate prices are surprisingly high in Whitefish. (A two-bedroom town house is asking $300,000).
- Montana is quite diverse. Not ethnically. But people move to Whitefish from around the country.
- I’ve not seen or experienced any racism.
- Montanans seem more libertarian than traditionally conservative. My tally of presidential candidate signs — Barak Obama: 0; John McCain: 0; Ron Paul: 13.
But are Montanans more Godly? I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of churches out here. But I also see a lot of churches in San Francisco. I’m going to try to hunt down a local church tomorrow morning. Pray that I don’t get sucked into a Montanan cult.