Saturday, November 11, 2006

Why Idaho Rocks....

I'm not from Idaho. Actually, I feel like the stereotypical ex-pat, except that I chose to live somewhere in the country in which I was born, rather than in another country. I'm originally from New Jersey, grew up a "Valley Girl" in southern California, and, for the past 16yrs. have resided in north Idaho. The physical beauty of Idaho keeps me here. Well, amongst other things.
Actually, it's not easy for someone like me to embrace all that Idaho is. I am a blue person, that is, politically blue. I grew up in neighborhoods with color - that is human color and human diversity. One doesn't see much of that kind of color in north Idaho, so I highly respect those who live here. I have also lived in other countries, grew up in LaLaLand, and, spent most of my life in university. Idaho is a change. A big change for me. And it hasn't always been easy. I often feel that I am surrounded by people who wear blinders....

But then, every day I am surprised by more than the beauty of north Idaho, for I am often surprised by the numerous kinds of people that I do meet. It's true, there are people here who have never traveled beyond Washington, Idaho, and best. But I've also met people who live here from other countries, other states, of various religions, ethnic backgrounds, and cultural norms. And they all live here! Whether native Idahoan or transplant like myself, sometimes it seems that hidden in the forests are people of many talents: musicians, artists, writers, computer geeks, senators, oceanographers, organic gardeners, mathematicians, search and rescue experts, doctors, builders, loggers, naturopaths, and so forth. Indeed, there is a diversity here, as well as a tolerance, that ebbs and flows, as in all the other places I've lived.

So, it's more than just the beauty of Idaho that keeps me here. People are important too. And after people, it's the food.... I have the luxury of eating mostly organic food. I buy eggs from a farmer friend; other friends raise my pork, beef, and lamb, with no growth hormones, antibiotics, etc.; one of my best friends owns the local health food store, where I get my dairy products, cleaning supplies, and even gourmet cheeses; great organic farmers supply me with the fruits, vegetables and nuts that I don't grow every summer; and I am just spoiled when it comes to good food!

I also love so many other aspects of living in a small town in north Idaho. We have a fantastic used bookstore. The numerous garage sales and auctions can sometimes yield "hidden" treasures. I know the police chief and am on a first name basis with many of the people who work in various retail stores. My auto mechanic, besides being a good friend, also supplies me with my Scottish Highland beef. My next-door neighbor helps me with my computer problems. Two of my best friends help me tremendously with garden problems. I can walk easily around the entire downtown. We have great butchers. Game is abundant; sometimes too abundant. I don't mind the deer in my yard (although they give my friend, Elizabeth, a very bad time). I do mind the wild turkeys in my yard because they destroy the garden and they multiply faster than rabbits.... Our library provides me with all the books I could want, whether on the shelves or through interlibrary loan. And for a change of pace and culture, Canada is only a short drive away. Indeed, I often think of north Idaho as being the American gateway to the Canadian Rockies. I know I haven't mentioned everything I love about living here, but I think you get the picture....

So the beauty, the people, and the food have won my heart. I may not be from Idaho (unlike my husband), but I say that I have chosen to live here. And because I chose this state, I try to do everything I can to contribute to its well-being. Which brings me back to the blue part....

North Idaho used to be predominantly Democrat. That was back in the days of unions, when miners and loggers were protected and labor was important. Something happened in the '70s, and ever since Idaho has become progressively Republican, i.e., red. I really don't understand this because the rural life is not exactly a place where the wealthy flourish. Indeed, we have a number of poorer people, retired folks, people who live here for the lifestyle rather than the salary, people who depend on medicare and medicaid, and so forth, who reside here. Yet, at a minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, these people still vote for congressional candidates who refuse to raise the minimum wage and give tax cuts to big business and the wealthy! It certainly boggles my mind....

So, frankly, I'd like to see Idaho blue again. I'd like to see people vote for their own best interests instead of against them. I'd like to see balance in the Idaho government. I'd like to see money for public education, for health care, for prescription drugs, and for the many people here who actually try to maintain all the positive aspects of a rural lifestyle. I'd like to see Idaho keep its clean air and water, prevent big polluters from spoiling our environment, and provide for the average Joe instead of wealthy, out-of-state landowners and big business.

In this spirit, I thus turn to a blog, to rant and rave, to air my opinion, to urge my fellow Idahoans do their bit in making Idaho a better place, to tempt Democrats to move here, and to convince Republicans that the Democratic candidates will do more to maintain the Idaho they love.

PS I appreciate comments, constructive criticisms and so forth. I do not tolerate hate and foul language.

1 comment:

Shelley Landry said...

Hello Linda,

I wanted to let you know that I have read through your comments and have thoroughly enjoyed them! I too am not a native Idahoan. I sometimes wonder when asked where home really is; Vermont, Louisiana, California, Florida....I have lived in many places and called them all home.

I appreciate your comments on "Idaho life" as well as your political views. Your comments were refreshing and inspiring. I am guilty of getting caught up in the day-to-day "stuff" and forget the many reasons I have chosen to live here, why it is such a great place to raise my family and how many great friends I have here. Thanks for the reminder.

I look forward to more posting on your blog and will try and respond to them.