Idaho Political Landscape: Finding the Balance Between Freedom and Extremism, with Gregory Graf

Oh, Idaho. The land of potatoes… and political extremism. It’s true. Gregory Graf talked to me about it all. Greg is well-versed in Idaho’s politics, having been involved for several years.

Greg says that Idaho isn’t just one type of ice cream. You’ll find that it’s more similar to a Neapolitan Ice Cream – chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry are all combined together. Recent times, however, I’ve noticed that chocolate was melting into my vanilla and strawberries.

Idaho’s political climate is becoming increasingly out there. Greg said that part of the reason for this was because people were moving to Idaho in large numbers. With freedom dreams dancing in their head, they’re leaving high-taxed states. Sure, many are only looking for peace, quiet or to get closer to nature. Idaho has a few people who believe that it is “the promised land” where they can do anything.

These groups do not only promote small government. They also go into murky territory, such as white supremacy. It’s amazing how good they are at yelling on the Internet.

This entire situation has sent local politics on a roller coaster. Imagine going to vote, and finding candidates who will either side with the extreme groups they support or not say anything against them. Greg reckons when they get in, it would be like awarding a “gold star” to those with dangerous views.

It’s not over yet! Idahoans fight hate speech with vigor and are committed to inclusivity. The spring is bursting with education campaigns, and there are peaceful protests.

Even though some of the proposed legislation is pretty outrageous (like making buying guns easier or delaying the resettlement of refugees), people of all stripes are uniting to protest “Not my backyard.”

The fight against extremism in this case is tough – it’s like trying remove the permanent marker on your favorite t-shirt. Patience and hard work are required.

Greg concluded our talk by making me feel hopeful and realistic. Extremism in Idaho has unfortunately penetrated the state’s political system deeper than any tick found at a local dog park. However, that does not mean the whole world is in agreement with it.

Idaho could be going through some growth pains. It is figuring out how it can deal with the challenges it faces without losing what it’s special about: its love of freedom as well as respect between people.

Some people fight the good battle to maintain their state’s beauty on the outside as well. It’s not just extremists who are trying to destroy Idaho. There are many people fighting to preserve the beauty of their state.

It’s important to remember that you should take any outrageous statements about Idaho’s politics with a large grain of sea salt. You can also sprinkle the salt over some Idaho fries, while you think. Your minds are open as we seem to be in for an exciting ride.

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