I was born in, and will almost certainly die in …
… Idaho. Except for a 10-year stint in another state (Ohio), I have spent my 69-years here. I am an Idaho guy, through and through.
Relax. This is not the beginning of some tedious, self-gratifying biographical sketch. Any sort of biography—be it sketchy or excruciatingly detailed—is not in the cards for me. I have not lived an eventful enough life to waste much time writing about it. And for the most part, those events in my life that weren’t boring are my business, not yours.
No, I am letting you know what most of you know already, that your author is not one of the recent (let us quantify “recent” as anything from 30-years back, forward) immigrants to Idaho. My associations with this state have nothing to do with any sort of population spurt resulting from any sort of economic, political or social tides. My associations with this state result from nothing more than the serendipitous placing of my parents and grand-parents on Idaho soil. And the only reason I bring it up is because, believe it or not, I have people reading this blog who may not be aware of where it originates.
And they deserve to know that beyond being a liberal, I am an Idaho liberal. Just as a conservative from Massachusetts is certainly a different beast than a conservative from Texas, I believe firmly that a liberal from, say, Boston is a different animal than a liberal from Boise. They may hold the same opinions and attitudes on issues of concern to liberals everywhere, but they come to those positions from different sensibilities, possibly for different reasons, and very likely with different levels of intensity.
Except for those common issues that stir the blood of the political-minded from coast-to-coast (wars, presidential elections, Supreme Court nominees, etc.), there are bound to be more localized issues that resonate much louder in one locale than another. For instance, as dedicated as many Idahoans are to LTGB rights, it will probably always be a more dominate issue in San Francisco than in Boise. That only makes sense, as does the reality that the fate of public lands should rightfully be a more dominate issue for Idahoans than for Floridians or Iowans or New Hampshire-ites.
Some of the readers of this blog—the great majority of them being Idahoans, I’m sure—might have been wondering why I’ve brought up so little about Idaho in the previous posts. There’s a reason. In the 21 years I spent contributing opinions to Boise Weekly, I’d guess a third to half of those opinions dealt with Idaho stuff. It wasn’t always my preferred subject matter, Idaho stuff. But it was an Idaho paper, after all, published in an Idaho city, reported in and read by Idaho people. I had an obligation to at least acknowledge now and then what was going on in the ‘hood.
However, as an independent blogger, I’m attempting to reach a broader audience. I have chosen to focus my attentions on matters of importance to all liberals, everywhere. After all, even if every liberal in Idaho was visiting this site every week, it wouldn’t add up to a lot of visits, would it?
And I didn’t pick the issue of public lands at random. Even though it is a more dominant concern in Idaho than elsewhere, it should be a matter of concern to all liberals, everywhere, as the “public” in public lands includes them every bit as much as it includes the hunter from Melba or the rock climber from Hagerman. When it comes to public lands, the only difference between a citizen of … say … Cincinnati, and a citizen of Idaho City is proximity.
I fear that in the coming years, as the efforts to privatize these public lands or shift them from federal control to state control intensify, if we have any hope of stopping that from happening, we Idaho liberals are going to need massive support from progressive state officials beyond Idaho’s borders. We sure as hell aren’t going to get it from Idaho’s progressive state officials, are we?
(Note to unaware out-of-state readers: Idaho has no progressive state officials.)
Come Monday, we will examine more closely the Idaho mind-scape in hopes that readers from within Idaho and without might be motivated to use the momentum of a Clinton Presidency to quash this latter-day sagebrush rebellion and protect what little remains of the American peoples’ common lands.