Kootenai County: The more things change…
Headline: ‘Goons,’ ‘crazies’ wrestle for control of local Republican Party
“Idaho has three political parties — the Democrats, the Republicans and the ‘crazies,’ says one GOP moderate who has come under attack from North Idaho’s political right-wingers,” the banner story on the front page opens.
“The right-wingers,” the story goes on to say, “are trying to wrest control of the Kootenai County Republican Party from the moderates.”
Another headline: Kootenai County is hot spot for growth
A front-page story notes that Kootenai County is the second-fastest growing county in Idaho, with state population growth expected to continue at a brisk 2.55 percent per year.
“There will be a heavier demand on many services,” one county official declares.
Those headlines and stories were published in The Press on June 16 and May 4, 1984, respectively.
Yes, almost 40 years ago.
Without a whole lot of effort, you could find similar “been there, done that — and lived to tell the tale” stories throughout much of this area’s history as reflected on the pages of its community newspaper.
True, certain things change. The influx of self-described political refugees from California, Portland and Seattle is if not a new phenomenon, at least different in that so many of them are activists the minute their feet hit hallowed North Idaho turf.
A Boise legislator told The Press about an outraged activist at the last session of the Legislature ranting and raving about conspiracies in Idaho public education. The legislator asked the woman, who brought her young son, where in Idaho she lived? The answer was Coeur d’Alene. She had been here for one month.
We have seen White Flight land here. We have seen growth in the off-the-grid but all-the-hell-over-social-media Redoubt movement here. We know that some niche real estate agents are making a killing connecting the dots between malcontents in liberal areas and the safe conservative harbor of North Idaho. You do not see F* Joe and his Ho bumperstickers, for example, in Los Angeles.
Be that as it may, we thought many readers might take some small measure of solace in knowing that the more things change around here, the more they just might be the same stone skimming the surface of the lake, only a little farther over deeper water.
So long as rational, respectful voices aren’t intimidated into silence, we’ll all be OK. We were before and we will be again.