Red Out, Again 

Why is northern Idaho such a loon magnet?

"Red... they're encouraging the most feeble-minded, frightened, paranoid misfits in America to flock to the Intermountain Northwest and take over the entire area. Politically, culturally... you name it."

"Sounds like a gull-durn good plan, if'n y' ask me.

An explanation for those who missed my conversation with Red last week: He came to me curious about the "American Redapt" (as he called it). The "American Redoubt" (as it's really called) came up in another recent column, and Red thought it sounded like something in which he might be interested. I continue with that conversation, overlapping slightly from where we left off last week.

"Hows come I ain't heard 'bout it b'fore?"

"Don't know, Red. I hadn't heard about it myself until a few weeks ago. But then, I'm not a fundamentalist gun nut, xenophobic idiot who spends his time searching through the Internet for places where he might be able to live off the land like a parasite, keep his kids as ignorant as he is with homeschooling and where there are hardly any minorities."

"There ya' go again, Cope. Why's it always got t' be about them dang minorities? Why cain't it jus' be about folks who want t' be wit' their own kind?"

"Because when it's about folks wanting to be with their own kind, it inevitably means that the folks who aren't their kind end up disempowered, disenfranchised, dispossessed and, all too often, just plain dead. We're talking about people who can't evolve beyond a tribal mentality, and the more global our society becomes, the more they revert to behaving like cannibal lynch mobs."

"I jus' bet they din't say nothin' 'bout cannibal lynch mobs in the brochures, Cope. Sounds like y'r doin' some exaggergatin'."

"Ah, maybe so. Maybe I'm getting all worked up over nothing. After all, most of these schemes are pretty much total flops. The 'Citadel?'... Bo Gritz's 'Almost Heaven?'... flops. Trouble is, the founders of these promised-land operations don't seem to understand that you can't build stable communities with unstable people."

"So whys you all pepperpleptic over this 'Merican Redoable? If y'r so sure it's another one o' those loony flop skizzers, what's y'r big consterpation?"

"Not Redoable. Redoubt. And the thing is, it bugs the crap out of me that every time some Moses wannabe comes up with another big exodus plan to the wilds of north Idaho, another batch of tax-evading, gun-toting, Bible thumping morons move in, further tainting Idaho politics with their antisocial stupidity. The Aryan Nation dregs... the Randy Weaver-types, hiding out in the woods like ticks... people too nuts for even Bo Gritz... southern California cops clumped up in Sandpoint like earwigs under a flat rock. Even if the schemes fail, they always leave another residue of crazy behind, don't they? It gets to feeling like northern Idaho is turning into a nest of stunted, slobbering mutants, one hair-brained Galt's Gulch coven after another."

"An' you don' think the 'Merican Reach-Out is any different?"

"Redoubt, Red. Re! Doubt! And the only difference is, it's a lot more ambitious than the others. They don't want just northern Idaho. They want all of Idaho, all of Montana and Wyoming, along with the eastern portions of Oregon and Washington. Makes for a nice big square on the map. As near as I can tell, the name started with a blogger, James Wesley Rawles, who claims to be some kind of fundamentalist, survivalist, whatever-ist. He insists he's not a racist, but I see that as just another way of insinuating it is about race. He's encouraging only the most conservative Christians and Jews to move here. Compares it to the Pilgrims coming to the New World, of all things. On his website, he even has a list of approved churches they ought to join when they get here, and five of them are here in Ada County!"

"So y'r saying I wouldn't even haf' t' move up north t' get int' this 'Merican Rescout. That I's already here?"

"That's right, Red. You're already here. And it's not Rescout, it's... aw, screw it! Call it any damn thing you want."

"Wull how long have I been here, an' din't know it?

"Wikipedia claims this Rawles character kicked it off in 2011, but I have a hunch he's only taking credit for something that's been going on for a long time. It's like watching termites migrate, then claiming he came up with the idea. The more I learn about it, especially in conjunction with the political atmosphere of today's Idaho, the more I suspect these birds have been flying in for years. Check out where some of our Legislators came from, if you don't believe me."

"Y'r ain't convinced me, Cope. I don' know beans 'bout this 'Merican Resprout what y'r so het up over, but I don' see nothin' wrong wit' people who think alike all goin' to one spot an' turnin' it int' the way they wan' it."

Maybe Red's right. After all, that's exactly what the Pilgrims did. And look how great it turned out for the Wampanoags.

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