North Idaho a microcosm of the melting pot
April 3, 2022
By Mike Weland
Under state law, county political party central committees have great latitude in establishing the rules and guidelines by which they operate, and we in North Idaho are seeing, as never before, the differences evident in the approaches of one party's committees and the political impact of the rules they establish. How Idaho Republicans respond in the May 17 primary election will have significant affect on the course of our state's history, and similar scenarios are playing out nationwide.
Bylaws of the Boundary County Republican Central Committee, for instance, state that, "we provide the infrastructure and resources for a well executed grassroots movement – which is the only way to guarantee victory for GOP candidates at all levels."
The Boundary County Republican Central Committee, by choice, does not endorse any candidate in its jurisdiction who chooses to run for public office 'neath the banner of the GOP.
That seems fair, trusting Republican voters to learn about each candidate and make their own choice at the ballot box.
In Bonner County, the Republican Central Committee "recruits, vets, endorses and financially supports Republicans candidates for elected offices. We are looking for adherence to the federal and state constitutions and to the Idaho Republican Party platform."
Thus it is perfectly acceptable for that committee to endorse its own chair, Scott Herndon, in his bid for a seat in the Idaho Senate over incumbent Jim Woodward, as well as other candidates who best share Herndon's extreme political ideologies, and to support the ideology, not the party, with paid advertising.
The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, too, has paid to advertise its preferred slate of "recommended conservative candidates," also a listing of those candidates of the far right.
That seems unfair, a distrustful attempt to promote the views of a narrow faction at the expense of those in the party who hold different, more moderate, points of view. But in this day and age, such of the party's members are RINOS, Republicans in Name Only, and only slightly more tolerable than Democrats, Liberals or Socialists.
Both committees endorse Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin to become Idaho's next governor, she having the endorsement of former president Donald Trump after proving her "conservative" qualifications during one lackluster term but one filled with controversy, something the "good" conservatives seem to prefer over accomplishment or qualified public service.
“I need fighters all over this country that are willing stand up and fight,” McGeachin said in a pre-taped address at the February America First Political Action Conference, where she urged attendees to push moderates out of the GOP. “Even when that means fighting amongst our own ranks because there are too many Republicans who do not exhibit the courage that is needed today for us to fight and protect our freedoms and our liberties. We are literally in the fight for our lives.”
They may be, and I hope rational people realize it and go to the polls in droves to make their end quick and relatively painless. Our freedoms and liberties depend on it, because these folks see us, their neighbors and fellow citizens, as enemies. There just isn't enough liberty to go around.
Last year, while Governor Brad Little was out of state, McGeachin gave a rousing speech at a mask burning event on the steps of the Idaho Capitol and imposed a short-lived ban on masks, overturned as soon as a seriously irate Little arrived back in office.
Thanks to her political acumen, her staffers are quitting and she may have to work through the end of the fiscal year for free due to a projected budget shortfall brought on by her billing her office for her private legal fees after she ignored the attorney general's recommendation in answering a public records request lawsuit filed by the Idaho Press Club last year pertaining to her imprudent but appropriately controversial Idaho Education Indoctrination Task Force.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden advised her to turn over the records. She hired a private attorney in an effort to keep the records out of public purview.
The judge who threw out her case agreed with the attorney general, and ordered her to pay costs and attorneys fees. She handed that burden to Idaho taxpayers. As is the wont of these new "conservative" Republicans, McGeachin accepted no responsibility, but laid the blame on the media for suing her.
Coincidentally, neither Bonner nor Kootenai County Republicans are endorsing Wasden, a Republican who has served with distinction since 2003. He's the longest serving attorney general in state history.
The Oxford dictionary defines a conservative as "a person who is averse to change and holds traditional values." That surely defines those endorsed by the two North Idaho Republican Central Committees, but the traditional values they strive to uphold are supremacist and authoritarian despite the work of centuries to overcome both in order to form a more perfect union. These are "traditions" more akin to fascism, "a form of far-right, authoritarian ultra-nationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and the economy."
The last time the pendulum of political change swept so far to the right in a government, Adolph Hitler came terribly close to successfully establishing his vaunted Third Reich that would have established Germany and its people (those of proper racial and religious heritage, anyway, who were in good health and appropriately subscribed to the Nazi screed, who toed the line without question and were able to remain in Hitler's favor) as the supreme nation and people of Earth.
As America First proponents railed against intervention, nearly 300,000 of America's Greatest Generation died in battle to help stop Hitler's conquest. Many more fought and came home gratefully just 77 years ago, to this shining but often messy amalgam of a nation, this melting pot.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore," reads the inscription on the Statue of Liberty as she stands to greet to our shores immigrants from around the world.
These are words that describe strength, not weakness.
The citizens of this diverse nation who served in that global conflagration proved the indomitable spirit of those who would breathe free, who despite the prejudices made inherent by our differences showed how much stronger we are when we stand together.
It showed us that we are not the same, but still we, as citizens, are all equal, all of us endowed with the unalienable right to life and liberty, free to pursue our own ideas of happiness.
Unfortunately, it appears again that this is a lesson that must be learned over and over again. It is the true price of freedom, and it isn't cheap, never easy.
Mike Weland, Publisher
6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
A 9B Media LLC publication
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