My wife and sister in-law were sitting in the sun at the Last Frontier Saloon in Fall City, WA basking in the sunlight much like a cat does lazing about in so many peoples windows. In a prime state of relaxation. They are chatty pair and when they saw a man wearing a “Sturgis” T-Shirt, where they both have been they turned it into a opportunity to have a conversation. At first cordial, it took a U-Turn as the man used it as a political platform. His hatred of our state governor, money being wasted on meth addicts, to be frank not anything that is not being espoused these days. There certainly is a group who despise Washington State Governor Jay Inslee , but in 2020 he easily won the election over Trump candidate Lauren Culp (56% – 43%). Is this different than any other time in US history? Perhaps. The final nail on the man’s coffin or enlightenment is he is moving to Idaho, where he can now be free. Freedom is a fickle things these days, not defined by the constitution but by whomever at that moment may be interpreting it, to suit their ends.
Recently I watched a documentary about ” The American Redoubt” by an English news crew. It was exploring a right wing group of people many who had moved to Idaho seeking a life more in line with their values, very Christian in their beliefs. They have broadened there geography to include Montana, Wyoming and the eastern parts of Oregon and Washington. You always have to be careful with film, because they may film a group of people close up and crowded, giving you the impression it is a mass movement, only to discover it was 50 people. The American Redoubt is adept at playing the blame game as you can read at their online news site, the Redoubt News, which is scary given the amount of misinformation, not to mention individuals with questionable backgrounds (Matt Shea). There are lot of people moving to Idaho and not surprisingly they are white, middle aged and pissed. Looking for answers, looking for peace but look into their heart you will only find anger.
Conspiracy theories have become prevalent in America. Used as a means for action, regardless it seems of how far out they may be. It has gotten to the point there are so many to keep track of, we had Pizza Gate, QAnon, Stop the Steal, seems like dozens of COVID conspiracies etc..and the funny thing is I am a fool if I do not believe at least one of them. In some ways we are like Russia in the way we are manipulated by these ideas. In Russia, where homosexuality is not condoned the common refrain is save the children from pedophiles, turning the whole debate on its head and make all gays pedophiles and use their children as propaganda against them. Next thing you know in the states we have QAnon and Pizza Gate. Apparently we have a bigger pedophile problem. We as a society seem to revel in being in “the know”. The government is lying to us, like we are in an episode of the “X-Files”. Throughout history mankind has been susceptible to conspiracy theories especially when you make the target audience the victim. Rush Limbaugh is beaming down from heaven with his approval of the ridiculous, the absurd, the conspiracy. The victim card worked for Hitler and seemingly in can work anywhere, where a segment of the population is desperate enough for an answer that does not involve themselves.
There is a part of America that is afraid. They see a country they thought they knew drifting away. What once was “Hotdog’s, Baseball and Apple Pie”, is shrinking away. In the digital age things are moving faster than many can comprehend. Not just socially but economically. Change has always been a big part of the American experience, but now we see that change more in racial divides. When you throw up data that says by 2050 white people will not be the majority the United States, many people become terrified, which is why it did not take but a simple shove to revive white nationalism in the United States. It would be easy to dismiss these groups as racists and therefor not active or welcome participants in democratic process, but that would be a poor choice. They are growing and no one is giving them reason to turn away. They have a solution, but if you did deeper into the view. it will involve a great amount of bloodshed, that cost never has a positive outcome.
Going back to Idaho I hear of a lot of people saying I am going to move to Idaho as it is more in line with my values, rather than fight for their beliefs at home they choose the easy route and move to a place viewed as safe. It strikes me if we continue this path we will move away from red states vs blue states to deep red states vs deep blue states, the difference being you are no longer welcome when crossing from deep blue to deep red. We live in an era, as NY Times Columnist David Brooks defined it, of explosive distrust: It is not that we view opposing views as wrong, we view them as illegitimate. When all this happens you have taken away a fundamental tenant of American democracy: Freedom.
Good Night and Good Luck,
Hans Henrik Hoffmann
May 9, 2022