By Brian McKay
Zenruption is based out of Boise, ID. It’s a cool place. Actually really cool. The city has dominated top 10 lists for livability for decades now and has even been named things like The Best City for Men, one of the top 10 new Portland’s, one of the best downtowns, the healthiest city in America, etc. Yeah, it pretty much kicks ass.
The rest of the state? Well it seems the Tea Party revolution has helped craft the Alabama (no offense Alabama peeps but your state is nuts) of the West. The legislative season starts in January and typically ends about the end of March. Such a short period was created as most of the state’s Representatives are farmers and ranchers and need to get home to warm up the tractor. It is three months of pure lunacy perpetrated by part time civil servants and a governor that came up through the Good Ol' Boys Club, mostly through a marriage and divorce (and plenty of cheating in between) of a wealthy woman with the last name of Simplot. Essentially, Idaho is a one party state at this point.
As a moderate bastion, Boiseans sigh when it all begins every year. Instead of trying to attract new companies or improve education, it will be three months of debating whether or not to form a state wide militia. It is hard to see large, well-paying employers coming into a state with a legislature that is more concerned about conspiracy theories than actual policy.
Here is a taste of some of this year’s silliness so far:
State Senator Sheryl Nuxoll just introduced a bill to allow teachers to use the Bible as a resource for science classes. Seriously. Apparently physics must no longer matter when entire cities can be destroyed and their inhabitants turned to pillars of salt. To quote Representative Nuxoll, “The Holy Spirit’s intention is to teach us how to go to Heaven, and not how the heavens go.”
Should the residents of Idaho now rest assured that soon our children will receive copious amounts of critical thinking skills while trying to figure out how two platypuses coupled up and made the journey across thousands of miles to an ark built by this guy Noah? That is a quite a difficult problem to solve.
As crazy Representative Nuxoll once compared Obamacare to the Holocaust, it is no wonder that she is willing to ignore Idaho’s dismal performance in education in favor of indoctrination. Unfortunately, Representative Nuxoll is not just a lone wing nut, as her bill was approved in the Senate Panel.
The state of Idaho has a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. This state wants people to be poor so much so that it actually has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the country. So why not double down? Yesterday, the Idaho House voted to ban all cities in the state from raising the minimum wage, even if done through ballot initiative. WTF?
The hypocrisy of an elected few that buy into conspiracy theories of mass federal overreach into state’s rights then taking away the cities’ rights is astounding. Removing the rights of local voters moves it beyond hypocrisy and into the territory of authoritarianism.
Idaho, has in the past, seen debates on not complying with the National Child Support Registry because it might lead to Sharia Law. They did indeed debate making the whole state a militia before the Feds came into to take all the guns away. Guns on campuses are legal now (frat boys with hangovers packing heat, that’s not scary). It was illegal (a Federal judge struck it down) to take any video of agricultural operations just in case the farmer decides to abuse his livestock. There have been attempts to declare Idaho a Christian state while some Representatives have at times supported the rights of faith healer adherents to withhold medical care from their children.
If you are in the LGBTQ community in Idaho, be prepared for a fight to add equal rights to the state constitution that will never, ever end.
Three months every year are spent hoping a day of reasonable debate to actually improve the state of Idaho will someday come. They never do. The state government seems to have decided that good paying companies will surely take a favorable assessment of lunacy before opening up jobs in the states. Certainly Apple executives must sit around a conference table and say, "Let's open up some stuff in Idaho. They're crazy. That shit is fun!"
At one time Idaho used to be a fairly moderate state, even electing Democrats (gasp) to the Governorship and to national Offices. It all changed.
The scary thing is that it isn’t just Idaho. It seems you can’t go more than a few days without hearing about crazy bills proposed in other states. With 25 states now firmly one party with the Tea Partiers pulling the strings in the background, there isn’t just one Idaho.
It seems we have been hijacked by crazy all across this country. Rational debate is becoming a thing of the past and daily stories of hypocrisy and the pushing of religious dogma abound. People are being elected that believe FEMA has set up Christian internment camps, in states all across the country.
What do you do when your statehouses have become mental asylums?