Idaho: Welcome to the New Klux Klan

Today on the steps of the Capitol in Boise, there was a small Black Lives Matter rally to mark the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s murder.

In the park across the street, there was a group of white people dressed in full military garb, carrying confederate flags and huge guns, blasting racist music with the N-word.

In disagreements between the BLM folks and the confederate flag folks, the police appeared to be taking the side of the confederacy.

I’m tired of Idaho.

When I moved here 6 years ago, I thought I’d found my place. Affordable, good weather, four seasons. Sure there was a gun-nut contingent. Sure there were crazy militia people holed up near the border to Canada. And the locals certainly seemed extremely….homogenous. I’m white, and I still felt completely overwhelmed with the sheer whiteness of it all.

But, there were good things. There were liberals here in my area. We had a proud history of welcoming refugees from all over the world. There was a nice amount of Basque history. I thought this place was All Right.

Then Covid came, and shot it all to hell.

For the past year, I’ve watched this state turn into a cesspool of ignorance, arrogance, and straight-up eugenics. Do you know what it feels like to be severely disabled, severely at-risk, and watch your Governor reopen before we should? Refuse to declare a mask mandate? What it’s like to see angry right-wing protesters scare an elected official for daring to consider more stringent public health measures?

What about going to the doctor, only to find the staff there aren’t wearing masks? What about having to call multiple doctors’ offices just to find one who actually complies with health guidelines?

What about seeing a vocal pro-mask business get vandalized and robbed? The Capitol attacked, and no one seems to be punished for it? Legislators pushing conspiracy theories?

Seeing vaccine priority lists that completely fail to prioritize any disabled people, no matter how dire their circumstances?

I just…I can’t! Anymore! I can’t.

I suppose I could have been in any number of states that ended up being run by lunatics. Is it fair to blame this one state? Will it be better somewhere else? But then again, if you’ve been extremely vulnerable, and spent a year having your state government make it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR they don’t care whether you live or die…it’s hard to just be like, “That’s ok, I forgive you for that Great Unpleasantness.”

I know a lot of people are moving to Idaho right now. I don’t get why. “We want to move someplace with a faction of right-wing people who are training to be terrorists?” “We want a governor whose death rate from Covid is twice that of his neighboring states?” I just don’t understand.

I think…I think it’s time to leave this place.

Our Children’s True Education

Everyone is talking about how kids are now behind in their education. But compared to today’s adults, in many ways they are ahead.

Here are the lessons they’ve learned thoroughly, that will seed their decisions for the rest of their lives, and possibly help them save humanity’s future:

1. If we want to conquer big problems in the world, we’re going to have to work together

2. Listen to science, or a lot of people will suffer and die

3. Pandemics spread if even a minority of people lack adequate healthcare

4. Pandemics spread if even a minority of people lack adequate housing

5. In short, building up wealth while ignoring the poor is woefully short-sighted — like building your mansion on top of a toxic waste dump

6. If even one country is run by a maniac, it can threaten the entire world*

7. In short, today’s youth have learned in their material lives what most previous generations only learned as vague spiritual niceties:

  • No One Will Be Free Until All of Us Are Free
  • No One Will Be Safe Until All of Us Are Safe
  • No One Will Be Healthy Until All of Us Are Healthy

I think instead of worrying about what the kids have lost, we should ask what we adults should incorporate from the foundational lessons our children are learning.

After all, it’s kind of unfair to ask our kids to save the world, when maybe we could learn these lessons, too.

Theoretically, we’re smarter and more mature than children.

*Right now, one rogue nation can cause unchecked viral spread and subsequent resistant mutations. In the future, the threat might be C02 emissions, nuclear fallout, cyber-terrorism, or some as-yet-unknown threat. The point is that it’s asymmetrical — you can’t just ignore a Trump or Bolsonaro and expect to be ok in your own distant country. Not anymore.