I would like to reflect today on the deep divide in ideologies that are apparent in Kootenai county.

on the one hand, we have the people who go about their daily lives working, parenting, playing, and generally doing the best they can to lead a happy life and take care of their responsibilities and relationships. These are the mask-wearers, the rule-followers, the civically engaged in rotary, the elks, the eagles. They attend church or have their own personal spiritual guide, take care of their neighbors, live in houses, apartments or mobile home parks, they are married or not, children, teens, young people, middle-aged and seniors. Many have college degrees and beyond, some do not, but work hard to achieve the myth that is the american dream. They volunteer, help where they can, change what they can, they believe that our united  states constitution is a gold standard for all and provides for a stable government. we elect officials to represent us and when they fail we replace them. Many people are native Idahoans, many are not. but most live here for the beauty of the area and the friendly people. This is my idaho.

Our neighbors in the northern part of Kootenai county have adopted a different way of life. This is what I have come to understand: many are politically aligned with the old john birch society which demonizes different faiths, ethnicities and sexual orientations and the united nations. they define themselves as re-doubters, the 3%, idaho freedom foundation, bugaloos and proud boys. their members include men and women. The nra has convinced them that they are the only people in the world who believe in the second amendment. Any attempt at common sense gun law reform is flaunted as evidence of a plot to confiscate all of their weapons. These are the majority of the no-maskers, the “protectors of our downtown” armed with multiple weapons and assault rifles and proudly flying the confederate flag alongside old glory. make no mistake, some of these people have fought in the u.s. military, some might have a college education, some are elected or appointed state and county officials, they are not a disorganized bunch of misfits. They, too, own houses and hold jobs in our community. they have speciality real estate companies that cater specifically to their paranoid delusions and advertise in orange county california, in texas, and other pockets in the country where white nationalism thrives. when they hold rallies such as at the recent liberate america rally and the panhandle health department meeting,  they import friends from montana and washington to boost their numbers and add to the commotion. every person of this particular ideology spouts false, non-replicable science, hearsay and outright falsehoods while shaking their bibles. they have been fed by their demagogues like brent reagan, wayne hoffman, pastor tim remington, heather scott, ammon bundy and mattshea, and others. The majority vote republican and all love president trump.  They speak the same conspiracy language. brent reagan is the kootenai county republican president!

However, what I see is a huge division in the kootenai county republican party. the politically moderate are appalled by the direction reagan and hoffman have taken. they are the people in the first group of whom i wrote, republicans, independents, and democrats alike. they don’t support the need for assault weapons as a show of force or intimidation. they don’t fly the flag of traitors beside old glory. they will not gamble with the lives of their neighbors or their families to prove a point about freedom. they will do everything possible to return our county to the beautiful, peaceful and neighborly place it was prior to this most recent iteration of hate and turmoil.