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  • Bob Shillingstad

2021 Election Recap

The Effectiveness of an Informed Electorate

The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”- George Washington 1789

The electorate in Kootenai County and across the country was on fire and motivated to speak their voice. This time maybe different, not so much about lower taxes and economic issues but focused on cultural issues which was a volcano that had been building for decades. Brent Regan leading the Kootenai County Republicans realized what all of us were seeing and “vetted” those running for these “non-partisan” offices that they understood we had had enough. No more CRT, sex education, masking students and disrupting education. The headwinds across the country were strong and the main-stream media was demonizing every GOP candidate as racist, homophobic, sexist and any other label they could tack on. It was so biased and one-sided you thought it couldn’t get any worse and then Mike Patrick and the Coeur d’Alene Press said, “Hold my beer”. The local attacks became non-stop and extreme.

One hurdle that the KCRCC and allies like the Idaho Freedom Foundation faced were the charges that this was “right wing politics as usual” and political parties should not be involved in local government. Conversely, we have a large percentage of voters who identify as independent and not with the Republican Party. Who can blame them? This is not always the party of Brent Regan and Wayne Hoffman. It is also the party of Liz Cheney and Mike Simpson, Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney, Brad Little and Scott Bedke. It is the party of 19 GOP senators that allowed the trillion dollar spending bill to get through the U.S. Senate (that included Crapo and Risch). It is the party that passed the “infrastructure bill” in the House because 14 Republican representatives voted for it. We may identify as “Red” by party not philosophy.

What happened on November 2nd was not just about political party but about the populace rising up to protect their children and values. Virginia voted for Biden by 10 points but the voters turned around last week and gave the Democrats a beat down. This happened over and over with school boards and local government races across the country. How did the left react to these losses? They doubled down and are ready to continue the fight. The local paper chimed in with more rhetoric. Their fight is not over issues, they seldom argue an issue. They continued their attack on the North Idaho College Board and will not let that rest. The mention of Brent Regan and Wayne Hoffman of IFF makes their head explode. A competitive publication called “The People’s Pen” took them over the edge. The editor of the Press called it the “Poison Pen” and when it was suggested that a boycott of the Pen’s advertisers should be started they were all in for that. We cannot have any alternative voice and anything to the contrary or it will be canceled. Sound familiar?

The Democrat leftists have an ingenious agenda that includes disguising their message with a name that is so innocuous and innocent that everyone is behind it. Black Lives Matter was perfect until the public finally realized what it really stood for which was similarly for Anti Fascist or “Antifa”. We had the “Committee to Elect Qualified Experienced Candidates” locally in this last election. This newly formed group hides their ties to cronyism and liberals with the name. However, the vast majority of funds were $1,000 or more donations from a relatively small group of contributors who were intent upon letting the “deplorables” know who were their betters. Other groups include the “Human Rights Education Institute” (stop the hate!) which has an alternate worldview about genders and sexual activity. Reclaim Idaho and Environmental Alliance to name a few more. The Idaho Freedom Foundation remains as a bright spot on our side in this effort to claim a name that automatically seeks support.

Too often our response to losses has been, “Wait till the next election!” We can’t wait. The North Idaho College board and their courage and resolve needs our support. The new school boards need us behind them every day. The legislature needs to know we are not going to accept the delays and deception from the majority any more.

Many states have a strong group that is the voice of a Christian world view. The Family Leader, Family Research, Defenders of the Family, etc. These are led and supported by Christians and Jews that share a bond of Biblical values, absolute truth and a stand that says, in the words of Solzhenitsen “we will not live by lies”. How about a group that is the “Friends of NIC” and they bring in a quarterly speaker that speaks on conservative values in education. The next meeting would include awards given to Todd Banducci and the board for their leadership. Don’t let them twist in the wind as the Press vilifies them. How about a pastoral/layman led group that not only declares truth but sponsors a monthly luncheon recognizing a local ministry like Cup of Grace, Young Life, Union Gospel Mission, LoveInc and others as an emphasis of the Christian response to local needs? Build that credibility so that when the endorsement or message is articulated it carries some weight and the attacks look like what they are, a hatred of Christians, truth and tradition.

This is a fight for our republic and nation, as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks stated “To defend a country you need an army. But to defend a free society you need schools. You need families and an educational system in which ideals are passed on from one generation to the next, and never lost, or despaired of, or obscured. There has never been a more profound understanding of freedom. It is not difficult, Moses was saying, to gain liberty, but to sustain it is the the work of a hundred generations. Forget it and you lose it.”

Church leaders, lay people….all believers need to have the courage to stand together to fight the spirit of the age. No more competition or difference of minor doctrines. We are in a fight for absolute truth and freedom. Let us come together in this battle because this is not only a political fight… is spiritual.

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