Montana author William Kittredge was the first to call it the last best place.
John Steinbeck wrote, “I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love, and it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”
For my part, I’d like to go on the record with the observation, and allusion to the show Parks and Recreation, that Montana is the Ron Swanson of states. Here’s how:
Meat – Meat, especially beef, trumps all. Whether RS’s or MT’s, you’ve never met a higher standard for a burger. Beef and bacon in the same meal? Heaven on earth.
Low Tolerance of Bullshit – Interacting with either RS or MT? So cut the crap already. Just be authentic; they are.
Loyalty – You’re not going to find a lot of effusive sentimental expression from either RS or MT. But don’t let that fool ya. The second you need something, anything, any time, know who’s got your back? These guys.
Manhood Matters – There are many ways to express your manhood. But to both MT and RS, the baseline standard of manhood is strong character. Character counts.
Gold – RS stores his wealth as gold buried throughout Pawnee, Indiana; MT’s wealth of underground gold, and other precious metals, are naturally occurring. (MT’s state motto is oro y plata – gold and silver.)
Affinity for Outdoor Sports that Involve Deadly Weapons – They fish, they trap, they hunt. They care about the value of the skills required to safely use a gun. They know their Constitutional rights. And, at the end of the day, they know how to procure their own local, cage-free, biodynamic, hormone-/antibiotic-free, sustainable, organic, all natural protein. (Do you?)
Pretty Anti-Government, yet Just as Reliant on the Government as the Rest of Us – More jobs, less government, promises a sign I saw recently for a Montana politician. And we all know Ron Swanson hates the government. So it’s a good thing his paycheck comes directly from the good taxpayers of Pawnee, just as government laws and subsidies directly support the agriculture, extraction, and tourism industries that keep Montana goin’ strong. We’re all in this together, MT/RS.
Skills that Double as Work – Woodcarving, meat-procuring, building stuff? If it involves resourcefulness and physical work, it’s a skill you can find with RS, or with MT.
Well-Rounded in Surprising Ways – RS can come across so masculine it’s scary (hey people, what about the values of more traditionally feminine traits, like Leslie Knope’s?), and the myth of the rugged cowboy often leads to the same impression for a state like MT. But you’d be surprised by the range of experience, thoughtfulness, and perspective it’s possible to find in seemingly unlikely corners of both.
In fact, far as I can tell, there are only a few ways Montana and Ron Swanson are not similar:
- Every ex-wife in Montana is not named Tammy, though I’m sure a few are.
- And don’t get me wrong, RS is a stud. But I think we all know who’s more handsome…