Sanders County residents rally in Thompson Falls

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley press | January 13, 2021 12:00 AM

It was billed as a rally, a peaceful, spiritual gathering of Sanders County folks.

And that’s exactly what it was.

Approximately 100 residents from throughout the county got together on an open space across from the Sanders County Courthouse in Thompson Falls last Wednesday to express their views about the recent national election outcome.

And unlike the mostly peaceful protests in Washington, D.C. and state capitols across the country, there was no violence.

“There are lots of people here who wish they could have joined the massive rally in Washington, D.C.,” said Stacy Kandel of the Sanders County Republic Women organization who helped organize the Thompson Falls event. “But for most people that was impossible so we decided to have our own rally.”

As the event was underway, word came that violence had broken out among a group of protesters who stormed and occupied the Capitol building in D.C.

The news did not change the theme of the day on the green lawn in Thompson Falls.

“We are here for a peaceful and prayerful event,” Kandel said, who sported a .40 caliber pistol on her hip.

Clearly, there was also anger at the outcome of the recent presidential election, whom Trump supporters say was unfair and fraudulent.

“I’m for liberty and I refuse to be a socialist,” said attendee Grant Dailey, an area resident and Navy veteran. “They can have my gun when they pry my cold, dead fingers from it.”

Dailey’s comments were part of a common concern throughout the crowd over changes they fear will sweep the nation with Democrats in control and Joe Biden in the White House. He and others expressed concern over potential assaults on the Second Amendment as a primary worry.

“I started paying attention to elections back in 1963 when I was 17 years old,” Dailey said. “This (the election) is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.”

Several among the attendees expressed support for the right to keep and bear arms and Montana’s open carry laws by arriving with sidearms strapped to their hips. No rifles or other long guns were present.

Thompson Falls resident Karen Brown said she was at the rally to support “our basic American liberties.”

“It’s disgusting what they put our president through for the past four years,” Brown added. “Pelosi needs to be put in chains, she’s destroyed government property (ripping of the State of the Union address). She’s like a swear word to many of us now.”

The more than an hour long gathering in bright sunshine featured several speakers who urged those gathered to pray for the nation. The group also sang several songs, including “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Amazing Grace.”

Former Montana state Senator Greg, Hinkle, a Republican from Thompson Falls, led the group in a long prayer that urged Americans to return to God as a way to heal the nation.

“This is about a nation given to us by Almighty God,” said Hinkle, who described himself as the most conservative senator of his time in office. “It’s all messed up, we’ve turned away from God. I tried to help fix things politically but it does not work. We do not have to live in fear, Jesus is coming back.”

Chris Querfurt, who along with his son Chris Jr. and friend Bruce Hall are all from Thompson Falls, were among those who expressed outrage over what many Americans feel was a fraudulent election process that robbed President Trump of a second term in office.

“This was without a doubt a fraud of an election,” Querfurt said. “It’s sad when we can have an election and they can’t tell us who won.”

Those sentiments were echoed by his son, Chris Jr., who came to the rally with sidearms strapped to both hips.

“This is my freedom, my America,” the younger Querfurt said. “This is my country, that’s why I’m here.”

Many in the crowd of all ages sported clothing and flags in support of President Trump. All were happy to see a good turnout among their fellow citizens. Many folks driving by the gathering in cars and large trucks honked their horns in support.

“I’m really happy to see the turnout with what we have going on these days,” said Noxon resident Casey Hartman as she held her young son Ezra. “I’m not very old but I’m not happy with the disrespect shown for the President. When a majority elects someone, there’s usually at least some respect shown.”