“From California” was something Idahoans used to say to each other, often under their breath, about the influx of bleeding-heart Golden State liberals purchasing summer homes here.
Recently, Christian “preppers” from California, part of the American Redoubt movement, have begun targeting the Northwest states, The Associated Press reported in Monday’s Daily News. They view the region as an ideal place to resettle and get prepared for what they believe is the imminent breakdown of society.
Don Bradway, a Californian who moved to the Coeur d’Alene area five years ago, said he’s easily met 100 others who relocated to the area since his move who share similar attitudes — Christians who believe the country is on the verge of a major earthquake or financial collapse that will result in “a mass of chaos.”
They’re all looking for “something that’s defensible if the teeming hordes come surging out of Spokane,” said Bradway.
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And, in his mind, the only way to stem the tide of those hordes is the dismantling of government.
It’s easy to think such paranoia is the inevitable result of combining too much Fox News and apocalyptic fiction, but doomsayers have been a part of society since the invention of religion. What’s actually disturbing, however, is the thought such sentiments might have real influence on our politics.
Idaho’s longest-serving senator, Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, says some of these new arrivals tell her that she’s not conservative enough “because I say ‘yes’ occasionally.”
She’s not talking about working across the aisle in the traditional sense. In Idaho the aisle isn’t between Republicans and Democrats, but between moderate conservatives and anti-government, far-right conservatives.
Thankfully, Keough retained her spot on the November ticket following Tuesday’s primary contest against an opponent who links prominently to a Redoubt website on his campaign page. But this is just a first taste of such contests.
It’s easy to understand frustration with the government, but having some functioning form of it — along with the roads, schools and infrastructure it provides — is actually the best chance we have of avoiding a societal breakdown.