There’s a new player on the Idaho political scene that warrants careful monitoring and serious scrutiny. They call themselves the “American Redoubt” movement but they bear an uncanny resemblance to the survivalists and posse comitatus types that operated in Idaho in the ’80s.
The agendas are remarkably similar: the primacy of the U.S. Constitution; support for so-called “open carry” of firearms; repeal of the 17th amendment (direct election of U.S. senators by a state’s legislature); adamant opposition to immigrants; abolishing agencies like EPA; supremacy of a county sheriff as the highest figure in the criminal justice system; etc.
The differences between then and now are revealing. Then, they did not register or vote. They weren’t active in local or state politics. Now, they have become the shock troops for the Tea Party and openly support certain candidates.
In the Republicans’ “closed primary” they can exercise tremendous influence over their fellow citizens. Several of their sympathizers, such as Rep. Heather Scott of Blanchard, have been elected to the Legislature and have started referencing the writings of their spiritual founder, James Rawles.
(Scott, by the way, has truly become an embarrassment to Idaho. She unfurled and embraced the Confederate “Stars and Bars” at one rally just as police in South Carolina were finally getting a handle on things. If I’d been the U.S. attorney for Idaho, I would have cited her for trying to incite a riot.
Then, Scott traveled to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge to embrace the cause of folks there engaging in sedition. The people of Harney County, Oregon, most of them ranchers who abide by the terms of their grazing leases, don’t want her or the SS-like storm troops hanging around. Scott tries to justify the unjustifiable.)
The forefathers of the American Redoubters used to embrace racism. Now, Rawles says racism ignores reason.
They say they welcome all, and that there’s no discrimination against minorities, but that’s easy to say when you have no minorities.
Then, the Redoubt types banded “together” for protection wherever they were. Now, Rawles touts political migration to smaller western states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming where he believes they can live relatively unbothered by the federal government. This in fact is the underlying concept and the key to understanding American Redoubt.
Despite the outcome of America’s great and bloody Civil War, these types still adhere to the concepts of a state’s right to secede from the Union or nullify congressional laws they dislike. The Supreme Court has firmly rejected both.
They still don’t understand what Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in his majority ruling and precedent-setting 5 to 4 Supreme Court opinion, District of Columbia vs. Heller, ruled. Scalia wrote there was a qualified right for an individual to carry a weapon, whether concealed or not, apart from being a member of a militia.
Scalia clearly said there is NOT an absolute right. He went on to write that the state in the name of public safety has the right to close off public spaces like schools and courts to the carrying of any weapon, whether concealed or otherwise. One can conclude he would not support Rep. Scott and American Redoubt’s so-called “constitutional carry” legislation.
The Redoubters say they love their country, but fear their government that protects their right to dissent, their right to free speech, their right to vote and their right to own side arms, rifles and shotguns.
However, they don’t believe in your right to an ownership interest in the nation’s public lands, its wonderful national parks, its wildlife refuges, its national forests and wilderness areas. No, because they live adjacent to these lands, whether dedicated to multiple use or a prominent single use, they think these lands are theirs, and that they own them.
Keep your eye on these American Redoubters and their Tea Party puppets. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Caveat Emptor.
Chris Carlson is a longtime Idaho political writer who resides in Medimont.