A Cautionary Tale of Freedom Casually Lost

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Guest Opinion

In June of 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdowns and the riots sweeping large cities following the death of George Floyd, my wife, Terri, and I heard about a place where local residents exercised their Second Amendment right to deter left-wing Antifa anarchists who wanted to introduce Coeur d’Alene to their “mostly peaceful protests.” Never having visited Coeur d’Alene, we decided that we should escape the restrictions of deep blue Oregon for the freedom of North Idaho.

By July of 2020, we made the first of many forays to Coeur d’Alene, a 410-mile journey from our home in Redmond, Oregon. We quickly fell in love with the friendly locals, the beautiful scenery and the great restaurants that remained open, and did not require masks. We decided we wanted to establish a presence in the area, and looked at a number of properties. Unfortunately, many others discovered Kootenai County at the same time, and our search for a home, or even a lot, was unsuccessful.

As a retired US Navy captain, and former chair of the Deschutes County Republican Party, my conservative views are increasingly out of touch with many of my fellow Oregonians, where politics, and the state government, are dominated by Democrats. Terri and I have found North Idaho to be a breath of fresh air whenever we visit. Many Oregonians, particularly those of us who live east of the Cascades, would like to become part of Greater Idaho, a movement that is gaining momentum as more Oregon counties vote in favor of the initiative. Our home would be just inside the Idaho state line if Greater Idaho comes to fruition.

Those fortunate enough to call Coeur d’Alene home may not realize how good they have it. It is hard to compare the overreach of Oregon’s state government into our lives with the freedom of Idaho. At the same time, Idahoans and Coeur d’Alenians should not be complacent with the current freedoms they enjoy. Oregon was once a conservative state, but with the advent of mail-in ballots in 1998, no Republican has won a state-wide election in 25 years, with the exception of a secretary of state who died in office.

Bend was a conservative city when I moved there in 2011, about the size Coeur d’Alene is now, with a Republican mayor, and city council, and a plurality of registered Republicans. Since 2010, the population has more than doubled to over 100,000, with most of the transplants coming from left-wing California cities. The city council is dominated by Democrats. Deschutes County’s demographics are also changing, with Democrats now holding a plurality of registered voters thanks to the large number of Democrats in Bend. Although two of the three county commissioners are Republicans, Democrats plan to pack the commission with two more members after the next election. Could this happen to Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai County? Keep a close eye on the voter rolls to see how population growth, and demographics, are changing the politics of the city, and county.

Hopefully Idaho can avoid the mistakes made by Oregon voters when they approved mail-in balloting and the motor-voter law. Every person who has an Oregon driver’s license is registered to vote, and receives a ballot in the mail, and no one is required to present an ID to vote. The voting process in Oregon is susceptible to election irregularities, particularly in the Democrat-controlled urban areas. Pray that the voters of Kootenai County and Coeur d’Alene have the foresight to elect common-sense conservatives, and to maintain the special way of life that makes the area a special place to call home.

by Paul deWitt
Redmond, Oregon