Randy Stapilus noted a comment that was recently left on a thread at Huckleberries Online, a thread that begin as a discussion of recent events in Madison County and eventually became an all too realistic commentary on southeastern Idaho. I believe the reader's comment deserves repeating:
"I’ve seen it before, and although it saddens me, I am not surprised. There are some VERY narrow-minded people in that part of the state.
The big difference - in North Idaho people with that kind of view are more likely to be “white trash” or “anti-government hillbillies.” People who dress in camo, have jacked up pickups, etc etc. I mean no offense, just trying to form a picture.
But in SE Idaho, that point of view is attached to bankers, church leaders, and others in the “professional” class. The squeaky clean people. And that is far scarier."
This particular comment stopped me dead in my tracks as it is something some of us in the blogosphere have been saying all along.
The kind of hatred, racism and bigotry in southeastern Idaho is not simply a problem because it exists, it is a problem because the people who represent it are otherwise upstanding members of the community who are listened to and revered. Instead of reporting simply on the investigated and most egregious events throughout the state as the editorial board of the Idaho Statesman suggests, we should not be standing idly by, we should be yelling from every rooftop that hate exists here and we must do something about it.
Hate in this state has long been associated with groups that no longer exist here or no longer have much of a presence; this doesn't mean hate no longer lives here.