Idaho’s Political Landscape with Gregory Graf: Between freedom and extremism

Thursday , 4, April 2024 Leave a comment

Oh, Idaho. You’re a land of potatoes, gorgeous wilderness and… political extremism. That’s correct. Gregory Graf spoke with me about all of this. Greg knows Idaho politics well, as he has spent years immersed there.

Greg reminds us that Idaho is not just a single flavor. This is more of a Neapolitan-style ice cream, where you have chocolate, vanilla, & strawberry mixed in together. The chocolate seems to be melting into the vanilla, and the strawberries a little too much lately.

Idaho is a place where some of the most extreme political beliefs are expressed. Greg believes that the reason is because so many people have moved there. Dreams of freedom are dancing through their minds as they flee their high-tax states. Some are after quiet and peace, while others may want to be closer to the natural beauty. Idaho, however, is not the land that promises to let you “do what you please.”

They aren’t all about small governments. Many are dipping their feet into very murky waters – white supremacy for example, or neo Nazism with the guise to protect “traditional” values. The groups have gotten really good about shouting their message from the roof tops.

This situation has caused local politics to be thrown for a loop. Imagine that you are voting and the candidates either agree with or support extreme groups. Greg says that when these people are elected to office it’s like a golden star for dangerous ideas.

There is still hope! Idahoans will do anything to stop hate speech, and they are also working hard to promote inclusiveness. As daisies bloom in spring, so do peaceful protests and educational campaigns.

People of all backgrounds are united in saying, “Not in My Backyard.”

But battling extremism can be tough. Try scrubbing permanent marker out of your favorite shirt. The patience is required.

Greg wrapped up our discussion by leaving me optimistic but realistic. The extremists have rooted themselves in Idaho politics more deeply than an ant at a pet park. This doesn’t deter everyone from letting the issue slide.

Idaho will probably go through some growing-pains in order to find a way of overcoming these obstacles without losing its uniqueness: the fierce love it has for freedom, but also for respecting each other.

It’s important to remember that not everyone in Idaho is an extremist. Some people do the right thing and fight to keep Idaho as beautiful as the state is outside.

You should always remember to take anything outrageous you hear about Idaho politics (or any other place) with a grain or two of salt. Better yet, add some salt to your Idaho fries as you contemplate what’s going on. We’re about to embark on a very interesting ride. So keep your minds wide open.

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