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A White Supremacist Sheriff?!? Northern Idaho Turns Into the Opposite of Blazing Saddles...

Since moving to Idaho, I have noticed a lot of, um, white in the area.

And I'm not just talking snow.

Granted, some major metropolitan areas do have a decent amount of racial diversity, but most areas are heavily Caucasian.

My town is well over 90% white.  I know a few Aryan Knights (friends of friends, and such) and wasn't surprised when I read this news story.

Apparently a white supremacist in Bonner County, Idaho is running for sheriff.  He's a known racist, and is quoted as saying it shouldn't influence his decision-making as sheriff....


I remember watching Blazing Saddles as a kid, and not getting any of the racially-charged jokes.  As an adult, I watched it again and "got it."  It's still one of my favorite movies, but I hoped it was a true fiction.

It's the 21st fucking century.  Why is racism still alive and thriving???

And now, in Northern Idaho, the opposite of Blazing Saddles could be happening.  He's not sheriff yet (thankfully) but the idea is worrisome.

He is one of three republicans running, and the winner will go against an independent candidate for the final vote.  He has a 25% chance of being "the law" in his county...

But, then again, this is Idaho.  Why am I not surprised???

Racist Snowman White Supremacist KKK Idaho Racism
During Winter 2010, an Idaho man made a KKK snowman in his lawn, and was shocked when people complained.

He didn't know what the big deal was...

It's that kind of aloof-ness that seems to run rampant in this part of the country.  It's the "stay out of my life, guv-mint" type that shoots trespassers on sight, has six 'wives' and probably has a cache of claymore grenades stocked away... know, just in case...

Is the average Idahoan racist?  My guess is no, but there seems to be more xenophobic racists in my neck of the woods than any other place I've visited.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go dust off my Blazing Saddles DVD.  WHERE DA WHITE WOMEN AT?!?

Edit:  I got railed-on by a former Idahoan, who has read 3 posts and thinks I hate this state and everyone in it.  Those of you that have been reading my stuff for months know otherwise.  Ignore this and ignore her.

To other new people, Idaho is awesome.  There are more good people in this state than bad, and the countryside is gorgeous.  However, kooks like the people mentioned above are fairly common.  Because of the lack of political correctness, they have no problem showing it either.  I try to share both the good and the bad, but, like the news channels, the bad ones seem to be more entertaining...

I don't like the "if you don't like it, get out" attitude, because that's just enabling asshats like this by leaving them alone.  I'd rather fight fire with fire.  I support the strip club opening next to the southern baptist church.  I support the gay bars in Southern Idaho who open up, despite the bigoted protests.  If a mosque opens up next to a mormon temple, I'd grin.  

To the rednecks, religious idealists and racists, this isn't just your area.  You have to share it with us, just like I have to share it with you.  DEAL WITH IT.
Please Share it! :)

37 witty retorts:

Anonymous said...

Why do people like you come to Idaho and insist on trashing it? You found your way into Idaho, you may want to find your way back out. I lived in Idaho for over 20 yrs. and loved it. I didn't encounter anyone with 6 wives, never once have I heard a southern accent, "guv-mint" and I absolutely believe everyone has a right to bear arms.
For someone who claims to come from the land of open minded, live and let live, you're certainly narrow minded in your views of Idaho and Idahoans. If you don't like it. Leave. Trust me, there's a reason you'll see t-shirt/signs/bumper stickers stating, "Don't Californicate Our State." Idahoans are sick of people coming in from California trying to turn Idaho *into* California. Thankfully, that will never happen.
Instead of bitching about all that you find wrong with Idaho - again, feel free to leave - try finding the good that is there, starting with the people.

The Simple Dude said...

I've always thought of Idaho and Montana as being some of the most beautiful parts of the country - but also having some of the weirdest people. Lots of extremism seems to come from those areas. Not sure I could handle living there.

Here in Minnesota the most extreme thing we come across is someone who made their hot dish a bit too spicy, ya, donchta know.


Zombie said...

Oh god I love Blazing Saddles!
"This N****R is gonna get it!"
"Oh god save that man!!"


A Beer for the Shower said...

Yeah, Brandon, stop bitching and find the good in people! How are you not able to find the good in a klansman running for sheriff? He might be a great father, a great husband, recycles, cares for the environment, and he just so happens to wish all the blacks and the Mexicans would die! So what! That doesn't affect his job as sheriff in the slightest!

You should leave Idaho and close down the blog and go huff glue because some crazy lady said so.

Haven said...

Blazing Saddles is awesome!

Wow, I don't know how you do it. I couldn't survive in that environment. Probably because I'm so outspoken and opinionated I'd be burned at the stake.

This seems to be a year of social degeneration of rights. Women and the birth control issue has been ridiculous as well. Did we all fall into a 1950's time vortex and not notice?

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

Hi Mimi -

Since you're new here, I'll explain myself (but you were quick to judge, my guess is you threw some insults my way and won't read my response...)

I'm not trying to change anything at all, I actually like Idaho. A lot.

If you've been around or read through some other posts, I share gorgeous photography. I talk about how awesome Boise is. I share pictures of crop dusters flying 20 feet above my head while driving through Driggs into Wyoming.

There is a lot of awesome in this state.

However, California was very bland. It had its good parts, but everything was more or less 'meh.' Idaho, on the other hand, has amazingly good aspects...

...and amazingly bad.

Even though you were in the state 20 years, I travel a lot (thanks to my job). I have visited about 60% of this state in the 18 months I've been here.

I have also worked at a non-profit, assisting elderly, disabled, and low-income families. Even though I can't go into detail (confidentiality agreement), I saw some amazing stories walk through those doors. I've been to houses, shadowing Adult Protection workers, where I've had shotguns pointed at me. I believe in the 2nd amendment (I own some firearms myself) but I don't believe in one-man militias, or shooting first and asking questions later.

There is a lot of good in Idaho, but the bad parts are memorable.

I started this blog not to change Idaho into California, but to help understand it, and educate/entertain others. I lived in a bubble for the first 25+ years of my life (like a LOT of Idahoans do now) so I blog to point out some of the 'memorable' things of this state. People all over the world read my blog, relate to it, laugh about it, etc.

This is why I write a lot about mormons. They fascinate me, and a lot of them live in a very xenophobic bubble. I wish they'd do what I do: move far away and soak up another culture, just to better understand the world. They're supposed to do that during their mission, but few do.

If you want my tourism pitch, here it is:

Idaho is breathtaking. Drive from Idaho Falls into Jackson in November. The tetons are gorgeous when covered in snow. When in Idaho Falls, be sure to walk along the greenbelt and admire the falls. When travelling from east to west, take route 20 instead of the main freeways. Arco is a fun town, and there is a lot of history to see on that drive. Non-stop it will take you 4 hours to get to Boise, but there's so much beauty it will really take you 6. Coeur D'Alene is gorgeous, and if it didn't get so damn cold in the winter, I'd retire in a lakeside cabin.

Idaho isn't my permanent home, so I'm not trying to change it, just soaking in the good and the bad until I move. California isn't my home either. When I move, I'm not going back there.

I hope this explains it. Sorry you had to critique me on such a volatile post, and I hope people aren't thinking you're defending this racist d-bag.

AccordingtoJewels said...

It won't influence his ability to run a sheriff's office!? Uh, okay, sure! People are so special! "Oh you don't like my hooded snowman? Why ever not!?"

There is no shortage of stupid or ignorant people in this world. I'm so glad I don't see this EVER where I live because I'm pretty sure I'd lose my shit on them and end up on some hit list or in jail being some crazy lady's pretty white bitch.

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

@ABftS - Remember kids! Separate your bottles and cans, brush your teeth before going to bed, and be sure to kill all the Messicans!

I want a KKK PSA now.

Sweety Darlin said...

Being a southerner and having traveled all over the United States I have seen some really interesting things. In the south we are accused of being horribly racists, however I have found that I feel more racism and tension when I am in northern states. We distinguish people in the south very differently. Whites vs crackers. Blacks vs N word. Hispanics vs. spicks. The first of all three being productive hard working people doing their best to get by, and the latter being general leaches on society thinking they are owed something and refusing to put any effort into their own success.

I know that sounds ugly, but the reality is rich or poor I have more respect for people trying to do the right thing than for people who just don't.

I am sorry you have such open racism in your area. I know that as a whole individuals are reasonable and rational, but people are stupid. Hopefully individuals will be voting, not people.

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

Great comment. I grew up in a mostly hispanic neighborhood, and they had the same classification. You knew who the hard workers were. Who the friendly, family-oriented people were.

Then, to quote my friend Frankie, you knew who "the dumb lazy beaners" were.

Anonymous said...

I lived in many parts of the country before settling in North Idaho and proudly calling it "home". I'm absolutely enchanted by the beautiful sparkling lakes in every direction, the wildlife, and the slower pace. But I still poke fun at Idaho. Come on! I poke fun of myself all the time too!

Anonymous said...

There is no way this guy can be elected. Law requires one to be fair and impartial. When you're an admitted racist, you judge. That's the EXACT opposite of what's needed.

And as to Mimi's comments, I've been reading for over 6 months and I've never read a post where you bash Idaho. You point out it's funny and crazy aspects which I love!

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

Like I said... lake CD'A. I'm considering retiring there.

Which, oddly enough, would put me closer to the scary sheriff.

Still... I have friends in Post Falls and would love to live there. I'm in Missoula right now, and was half-tempted to visit...

Anonymous said...

Brandon, it's true that the winters here are cold. If it weren't true, then EVERYONE would move here! So I will keep the cold winters and the slow pace.

As far as the scary sheriff, he will never be elected. When I first moved here, seven years ago, I heard overt racist comments on two separate occasions from people I came in contact with in Coeur d'Alene, but most North Idahoans are embarrassed by the hate group that was prominent here years ago. And to be honest, there was more discrimination and reverse discrimination in other states I've lived in, like New Mexico, than I've seen here.

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

New Mexico is scary. I have family in central Arizona. The closer you get to the 4-corners area, the weirder the locals get.

What's that saying... a few drops of oil can ruin a gallon of water? I think this is the case...

StephanieC said...

Brandon, you are fucking awesome.

Hope I can say fuck.

And that woman is whack.

I hope to hell that guy does not get the job. How backwards and damaging that would be!

Gucci Mama said...

When I lived in Bozeman, a KKK guy ran for the school board as a "republican". (He apparently missed the memo that the KKK was founded by segregation loving democrats, but I digress). Anyway, he was laughed out of the race like the joke he was.

So will this guy. Your coffee table has a better chance of becoming sheriff than this asshole.

They pull stunts like this to get their shit in the news for awhile. Then they fade into the wallpaper again and pretend to be republicans while worshipping Hitler, one of the biggest socialists in the history of ever.

They're clearly empty headed and because of this I believe at some point, they're all destined to accidentally shoot themselves while cleaning their loaded weapons.

Montana does seem to have its share of psychos, as does Idaho (and everywhere - never met more psychos than living in California) but I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else. I plan to go back as soon as possible, psychos and all.

Also, Simple Dude - I have family in Minnesota. What is with the celery and grapes in every dish you guys make? My grandma puts celery in dessert, you betcha.

Anonymous said...

Well, your post was interesting - and I sure hope that guy doesn't win the vote to be sheriff! But even more engaging was the attack and defence that took place in your feedback. I couldn't help but enjoy it lol! Nothing like a little drama every once in a while.

Pickleope said...

Obviously your pointing out a frightening chance of a card carrying bigot (I assume the Klan has business cards and that those cards are ironically off-white) means you're impugning the entire state. I don't think the attitude of "love it or leave it" has ever been uttered by anyone open to deep thought and self reflection.
Also, can we stick to "some people are cool, some suck" as a general societal rule without having to boil it down to racial (and racist) terms?

Martina said...

Wow. I really hope that people are intelligent and informed enough to ensure that this self-admitted racist stays far far away from law enforcement.

There are always psychos & bigots, no matter where you go--some places admittedly more than others.

I'm really grateful for our local demographic, even though I live in one of the remotest locations(in Ontario) we have a global community with people from all over the world of every race and religion. It's a nice change from the other small communities in NWO, which are all sadly suffering from huge racial/religious schisms.

Youngman Brown said...

I really hope the voters don't do the wrong thing there.

And for what its worth, I was listening to this crazy trance song while I was reading this post, and I spent a good two minutes mesmerized by the animated gif, completely certain that he was dancing to my music.

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

I love Gucci's idea. I think my coffee table should run for public office.

meandmythinkingcap said...

I wanted to write down Idaho in list of states never to visit list. But last few lines were soothing and assuring.
What is wrong with people now, they are looking for some outlet and anger on some minority?

Anonymous said...

Hello Brandon,
First and foremost, please let me state that I do NOT support the klansman running for sheriff. I was not speaking on his behalf. Period. I'm originally from Detroit. I've had enough racism to last a life time and I don't support or condone racism in ANY state, from anyone.

Second. I apologize if my comment was somewhat harsh but again, having lived in Idaho and raised my children there, I have seen so many transplants come in saying exactly what you said and ultimately trying to turn Idaho into whatever state they came from and since there is such a high influx of Californians I may have wrongly attacked you. That being said, I would like to set the record straight that the mormons who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - period, not the revised church - do not practice nor believe in polygamy. - Just to be fair to them.

I'll look around your blog. Obviously I've missed some posts and I apologize.

@A Beer For The Shower - I never said the blog should be closed down or insinuated that Brandon should go "huff" some glue. Oh. And Ps. I'm not crazy either.

Nor @StephanieC, am I "whack."

I simply step up for the GOOD people of Idaho and for the good in Idaho.

Thank you Brandon.

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

Glad you came back, Mimi, and clarified.

And sorry for being quick to judge, as I thought you were being quick to judge too.

For my short time in Idaho, I have made more friends here in 18 months than I have during 29 years in California. It's a great area?

Do I want to live here permanently? No. There's too much... odd.

But the same can be said with Cali. Just a different kind of weird.

An East Idaho Mormon moving to Malibu would start a blog like mine and would probably be just as entertaining as a Californian stuck in ID. And probably find it just as oddly amusing as I do.

Ain't perspective grand?

Out of Barnes said...

I get a kick out of reading the Idaho Statesman's letters to the editors. Most of the people who write are very conversative who think the government shouldn't be paying for women's birth control and that wolves should all be hunted down and killed. The politicians in this state are just as bad, or should I say, conservative. The legislature cut the pay of teachers and are now considering giving tax breaks to people earning over $100,000 a year.

Anonymous said...

Hi again, Brandon. While I haven't been following your blog long enough to know exactly what you've said about the Mormons, I think you're hilarious and I doubt I would be offended, even though I was raised in the Mormon church. I have to agree that many of them live in a "very xenophobic bubble". That's why at the tender age of 19, I did exactly as you've suggested. I moved as far away as I could. How's New York City to better understand the world?! For years, I worked as a PSR (Psychosocial Rehab Specialist)immersing myself in the lives of families very different from the one I grew up in. And as a Caucasian, I was a minority for 14 years in New Mexico. I am no longer affiliated with the church today, but ironically, I often find myself defending the LDS church to many of the "Christians" I meet today. In the end, I just wish that people would live and let live. I've tried to teach my kids to be open minded. We are going to meet people in life who are different from ourselves, thank heavens! We just need to remember to keep open minds, open hearts, and a sense of humor.

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

Well said!

And a PSR in Manhattan? Holy crap. You brave woman, you.

The mormon angle is why I'm working with my LDS friend to do an "Ask a Mormon" Q&A. Part humorous, part serious. Look for it soon. :)

Thank, Q said...

There are a lot of clueless people in the world. Some who think that just because there's a black president that there's no racism and people shouldn't be offended by anything. If anything, racism is more in the forefront thanks to having a black president. Everything is so racially-charged now. Dude has a right to run for whatever office he wants, but if he thinks people believe that he'll be unbiased seems a bit of a stretch.

Anonymous said...

I was a PSR later, not while I lived in NYC. Just brave, not crazy.

Pish Posh said...

I thought Blazing Saddles immediately when I saw your title. I've lived in two midwestern states now, one of which has a lot of beauty and the other just has a lot of corn. The one with the corn is the state the KKK started in. It also has a town with one of the best universities in the country in it. With me so far?

Yea when I lived there they had KKK parades right through the center of town WITH NO PROTEST.

So to people who want to criticize you for criticizing people who allow neighbors to make Sheetheads on their lawn and allow KKK members to run for office, well just thank them for making your point for you. Pretty sure you are critiquing anywhere that allows racism to prosper.

And there is a clan in every county of California. Not sure how one "Californicates" a state, but if it includes not allowing clan members to run for public office without some sort of major negative reaction, well then Californicate away.

Pish Posh said...

What I don't understand is why people don't have a sense of humor? I'm only saying this - not to MiMi necessarily, because I see that that was worked out - but because others have jumped down my throat if I ever tease or observe from my own viewpoint about the state I live in now - to the point I feel like I can't even mention the state I live in. Are we really that sensitive? If someone made fun of the part of the world where I'm from, which they do ALL THE TIME, I would probably laugh. For someone coming from the bible belt for example, I can totally see how they'd react to Cali. Parts of it are totally batshit crazy and parts of it are wonderful and all of it is open to being mocked. Why do I find people so sensitive about the midwest being poked a little?

I don't get it. I mean there is some funny shit here. MUDDING, for example. Walmart socializing for another.

We should all be able to tease and poke a little at the things we find funny - we gotta blow our steam somewhere.

Bart said...

whoa nice, u fixed everything up, good job. doesnt it feel safer though? ya know, with the lacking african population?

Alice X said...

I can't believe in this day and age that racism still exists. Just shows that no matter how advanced we get, there will always be a few rotten apples that poison the broth.

Brea said...

I have now lived in Northern Idaho for more than half my life. I live in Kootenai, not Bonner, County. Although my husband grew up in Bonner County. I can tell you that regardless of who becomes sheriff, the law was already effed up in Bonner County. My father-in-laws wife is famous there for suing the county. In fact, my husband got pulled over and arrested, simply for being related to her and driving down the road she lived on. Well, ok he did have a warrant for writing a bad check 6 years ago. That same officer then got arrested for poaching because he shot a moose out of season. The idiot took his moose, that he had a tag for, to the taxidermist a week before the season started. MORON in the extreme.

On a side note, there is a lot of racism in Idaho. The Headquarters for the Aryan Nations used to be just north of Hayden until they shot a woman and her son and she sued them and won and turned their compound into a peace park and then Richard Butler died and now I can no longer count the number of non-whites in CDA on one hand, I need my feet also. And that may have sounded racist, I didn't mean to...really, it's just truth. There aren't many non-whites in Idaho. said...

We still have a long way to go Brandon. Every state has a select few that still go by what they were "taught" to believe. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is.

For me I have to believe there is good in every person I come in contact with and I have met some amazing people. I applaud you for calling it how you see it, and how you have handled objections to your opinions.

Many times you have written about the funny stuff you come across and it doesn't make me look at citizens in Idaho any less. I have another friend that lives there and he loves it. You can't please everyone and if you struck a cord with some, than there must be some "truth" to it. Every state has its own quirky people and California is no different. I think you have embraced living in Idaho quite well and it shows with your blog. That's the "big" picture I see and so do your loyal readers.

But as I said in my first statement, we have a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

HAHA that county in Northern Idaho is known for white supremecy groups. My husband used to be the only one who could deliver to their compound because the regualr delivery guy was shocker black. My husband is the perfect blonde hair, blue eyes to make it out of the compound alive. The federal government has since taken care of the compound, but I am not suprised there are some still up there.

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