Idaho’s Political Landscape – Navigating Freedom and Extremism With Gregory Graf

Oh, Idaho. Oh, Idaho. Yes, that’s right. Gregory Graf was my guest to discuss this entire thing. Greg Graf has worked in Idaho politics as a lobbyist for many years.

Greg is keen for us to all remember that Idaho has more than one flavor. Idaho is a mix of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry – more like Neapolitan style ice cream. It seems that the chocolate is melting too quickly into the strawberry and vanilla.

What’s the reason Idaho has become such a hotbed of outlandish politics? Greg claims that this is partially because people move there by the thousands. As they leave their high tax states, dreams of freedom dance in their minds. Many are simply looking for some peace and tranquility or a more privileged view of the beauty of nature. Then there are those who think Idaho is a land where you can do whatever you like.

The groups that are forming are not just concerned with small government. Some are dipping in to murky water – think of white supremacy and neo Nazism under the guise “traditional values.” These groups are getting really good at using the internet to shout their messages.

Local politics have been thrown into disarray by this whole affair. Imagine being able to go to the polls and see candidates who are either friends with extreme groups or don’t care about them. Greg thinks it is dangerous to have people in office who support these extreme groups.

Not all hope has been lost, though! Idahoans have a lot of energy to combat hate speech and promote inclusion. There are many education campaigns and peaceful demonstrations popping up in the spring like daisies.

Even when faced with some crazy proposed laws (such as making guns super-easy to buy or stopping refugee resettlement), all kinds of people are saying “not in our backyard.”

Fighting extremism is challenging. You’ll have to work hard if you want your favorite shirt free of permanent markers. You need patience and a lot of elbow grease.

Greg ended our conversation by leaving me with a sense of optimism, yet realism. It’s true that extremism is rooted deeper in Idaho politics than a tick on a canine park. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to let this slide.

Idaho is going through growing pains, as it tries to figure out the best way to meet these challenges while not losing sight of its special qualities: a fierce love for freedom combined with respect and comradeship.

Many people are fighting for the right thing – to make their state just as stunning on the inside, as it is outside. Plenty of people fight the good battle to maintain their beautiful state.

If you’re a fan of the radical right, you’ll want to buckle up. And keep your eyes and ears open, because this is going to be a roller coaster ride.

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