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I watched as the fires once again ravaged the Bridgers and the community came to the rescue as they should. I’ve watched as the politicians have polarized this valley and this country.

I’ve watched as the homeless population grows and the locals leave this valley. I’ve watched as the Californians and other out-of-staters fill our political offices and wondered why I’ve watched as the pandemic has become so controversial people are attacking one another over masks. I’ve watched as we march and protest and tear one another down. I’ve watched as employers continue to pay a poor wage and landlords charge way too much.

I’ve watched as the rich get richer in this town and so many others while the gap grows and many of us become poorer. I’ve watched while landlords and property managers evict people with no regard for where they might go next. I’ve watched while they build their mansions and charge outrages amounts to live in this once humble and beautiful valley.

I’ve watched while employers hire outsource and choose the young over the middle aged. I’ve watched while fortune has favored the wealthy and the corrupt. I’ve watched companies discriminate, violate and lie to save a dollar.

I’ve given money to the homeless, been homeless and wealthy. I’ve watched this valley crumble under the pressures of the rest of the world. It has been turned into a valley of want to be elite. Full of employers who do not value a Montana life, full of greedy landlords who have no regard for their fellow man. I continue to watch as our politicians do nothing to help the over educated and under employed, the poor. I’ve watched until the bullet on the floor has found its way. I wonder how many others will.

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Karen Odasil 

Belgrade