Idahoans are able to mix extremes with community spirit

Oh, Idaho. The land of the potato and the brave. We’ll talk about another thing that is growing in Idaho: political extremism. Gregory Graf would be the ideal person with whom to eat fat. This man is a seasoned expert with opinions that would fill a whole barn.

Take a seat, pour yourself a drink, and join us in this mess.

Idaho is a state that has always had a unique personality. The people of Idaho value freedom more than the last Thanksgiving slice. Recent events have been a bit wild. As if someone had turned politics up to 11

Gregory highlights that external groups have a big role to play in stirring up the pot. These groups are like strangers in a local restaurant, trying to push their agendas and get everyone riled up. The fear-mongers are selling division and fear like it is going out.

Do not even start me on the subject of social media. This is like the rumor mill in high school, but on steroids. Extremists use this to convince others that the left is correct and the up is wrong. Bob, the neighbor next door shares conspiracy theories rather than his cat memes.

It’s not just irritating, but it is changing the way that candidates in this country run for public office. Some feel the need to be louder or more aggressive than their rivals in order to gain votes. There’s more emphasis on who can make the best performance than solving any problems.

This is not exactly a friendly atmosphere for town meetings. The town meetings that used to allow people to discuss issues now feel more like stepping inside an MMA ring – without the gloves. Fear of being body-slammed or worse makes people afraid to express themselves.

Gregory, bless him heartily, isn’t giving up yet. He believes that we can make this boat turn around by talking again to each other instead of screaming from across the table. Imagine it! Listening as much to the other person as you speak is possible in real conversations.

He thinks that we also need to be smarter about what we are reading and sharing online. It’s not all gospel (I know, it is shocking). It doesn’t take much critical thinking to cut through the hype.

Gregory says that despite this uproar, Idahoans still know how to treat each other as neighbors. It’s important to keep in mind what binds us: love of our beautiful state, and shared hopes for our family.

You’ve seen it: the extremes of Idaho politics as seen by Gregory Graf and me. You might think we’re between a brick and a wall, but it’s more like being stuck between two potatoes. If we want to look deeper there is plenty good material underneath.

Don’t let extremes destroy the sense of belonging to a community. (See what I did?). We should instead mix it up with compassion, cook it in understanding, and then serve it alongside respect. Even grandma could approve.

If you’re hesitant to believe the outrageous claims about Idaho politics (or any other state), sprinkle some salt over some Idaho fries and think for a moment. And keep your eyes and ears open, because this is going to be a roller coaster ride.

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