We’ve all heard the saying, “the second amendment is there to protect the first”. As a Conservative Republican and supporter of both, it’s time to point out where your constitutional rights are being trampled and it may not be where you think.
In Idaho, policy which is dictated by politics is a passion for many of us. In a state where Republicans maintain a majority of the population, Republicans and Democrats are fighting off Socialist and Libertarian factions attempting to take over the parties as they have no real base of their own to win elections. This war within the parties has led Idaho down a dangerous path of ideological supremacy and people are being silenced through abusive behavior used by those who seem to think that their political beliefs justify their atrocious actions. It’s time we speak up and shed some light on what is really going on inside Idaho politics.
A while back I stepped in to help Idaho Conservatives grow and report on legislative issues. We announced our expansion and spoke of our Conservative values. Within 24 hours, all hell broke loose. You see, by merely existing and telling people we had a common sense approach to conservativism that did not align 100% with those who claimed to be the only true, liberty-loving conservatives in the state, we were subjected to all kinds of abusive behavior and every attempt was made to shut us down and silence us. Dishonest videos were made, vulgar language was used, private information about people was shared, and one group later went so far as to post pictures of my friend’s kids on their Facebook page.
The liberty-minded folks are bent on taking our liberty away because we would not allow ourselves to be bullied or cowed. It is our steadfast belief that everyone, including the far right folks, has a right to their opinion, especially when exercised with some type of decency and decorum.
Over the past few months, you’ve likely seen the posts where we’ve been called “fake conservatives”, “RINOs”, “liberals”, “liars”, “socialists”, “neocon communists”, “cuckservatives”, “the establishment” , “Antifa” and even homophobic slurs. This coming from those who complain about an awful term called “label lynching”. All of these disparaging terms are far from the truth and stated by those who may detest being exposed for being overzealous people who use abusive tactics.
Examples of Abusive Behavior
This is a term that comes from an old movie where a man keeps turning the gas lamps down slowly each day. His spouse complains that the house keeps getting darker each night and he convinces her she must be going crazy because nothing has changed. She descends into madness by his abusive manipulation of the truth. It turns out that gaslighting is used by political activists to convince their followers that they are the only truth tellers and everyone else saying otherwise is not only wrong but needs to be ignored or silenced.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of this.
Greg Pruett – Title of Liberty Enterprises
In this video we hear from Idaho Second Amendment Alliance President and founder of something called “Title of Liberty Enterprises”, instructing his followers of how your politicians and leaders have sold you out and only he can keep you on the right path. Listen closely for the language used to convince you that the groups you support must be turning on you because they are raising money and not using confrontational tactics. If you follow this page you may notice that this person frequently posts about fundraising so he can maintain access to politicians, put money in his pocket, and bully legislators. A quick browse of his pages will also show him buddying up to multiple legislators and using his access as a lobbyist to push his agendas exactly as he describes the groups that sell you out. This is a perfect example of gaslighting.
Brent Regan – KCRCC & Idaho Freedom Foundation Chair
Brent Regan, the Chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee and the Idaho Freedom Foundation wrote an article that defended the truly questionable resolution passed under his leadership by playing the victim card. He uses the straw man argument tactic to deflect the narrative away from his actions. Sorry, Regan, you signed the response where you defended the actions of KCRCC and went so far as to accuse democratic groups in Idaho of doxing, intimidating employers, preventing the exercise of free speech, and many other horrible things.
If Regan truly eschews these tactics, then how is it the liberty collective that appears to be controlled by him and a few of his friends in Bonneville county have done or discussed doing many of these things to people like us and others? This is an example of projecting their behavior on others, which is another form of gaslighting.
Regan also went on to publicly post this on Facebook about Idaho Conservatives:
Shaming and Silencing
If an abuser finds themselves in a situation that they are losing control of, they often result in shaming the other person or shutting them down. We found that some of these liberty groups are sensitive to someone telling the truth, especially when it goes against their narratives.
Warning: Images below may contain language that is NSFW.
The Real 3%ers of Idaho
One such group calls themselves The Real 3%ers of Idaho. This is the same group who stormed in loaded for bear at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge standoff and led by Eric Parker who gained notoriety by aiming a rifle on a bridge that appeared to be pointed at federal law enforcement agents during the Bundy standoff in Nevada a few years back.
Recently this group was involved in an oath swearing ceremony led by acting Governor Janice McGeachin and photographed with her flashing their 3% hand gestures. They are linked to militia movements within the state and enjoy wearing tactical gear and fully accessorized AR-15s to public events. They call themselves “patriots”.
Nothing says liberty like telling someone to shut up and the 3%ers may resort to using abusive language when they are challenged.
After repeatedly telling this woman to shut up in the most vulgar way possible, they took it a step further by attempting to disclose where this person was employed. Any normal person might be a little creeped out by the possibility of armed angry men showing up at their place of work.
When abusive tactics cross the line into unsafe behavior, people get rightfully scared and disengage, just as an abuser intends.
Representative Chad Christensen is a Facebook administrator of the 3%er group. Recently he posted this on his candidate page about a Bonneville County resident who wrote this op-ed in the Post Register:
For those who are not familiar with what Christensen means by calling his target of disapproval “Gadianton Robbers”, it refers to a group of thieves and murderers who used secret code words to organize their criminal actions in The Book of Mormon.
Tom Munds – The John Birch Society
Another liberty group called the John Birch Society expressed their disapproval for our article on the history of their movement. Someone who claims to be a paid representative for the organization directed this comment our way:
When we did not take the bait and respond to what we saw as abusive behavior, Tom Munds continued showing his outrage by sharing this blog post from Redoubt News and making numerous statements on any page he thought agreed with his superior ideology.
Alex Barron – KCRCC & Charles Carrol Society
Alex Barron runs a website called the Charles Carrol Society and is a member of the KCRCC executive committee. He is the self-proclaimed “Bard of the Redoubt Movement”. During what appeared to be a coordinated attack on our site in response to an unrelated event where one of their friends in Bonneville County was making headlines for their questionable business practices, Baron wrote this article. In it, he referred to my daughter and I as “wamen”, a highly misogynistic term. Another example of liberty loving folks using toxic language to belittle and silence anyone that they feel is inferior to them.
Second Amendment Activists
In January, Sarah Chaney, the wife of Representative Greg Chaney, spoke out against the tactics used by Greg Pruett and the liberty-loving patriots pounced on her. Here are a few of the comments made by the same people who are constantly promoting the “Platform Adherence Committee”.
Abusive behavior pushes good people away from participating in public policy and getting involved at a local level. We’ve heard from many who have either given up or are considering quitting politics because it’s become so toxic in our state. People involved in Idaho politics on a volunteer basis are forced to choose between standing up and taking the abuse or leaving in silence to avoid further nastiness.
Standing Up to Abusive Behavior
Those who claim to be patriots who love the constitution and the only true believers in liberty call these tactics “confrontational politics”. We know it as abusive and unsafe behavior.
When you see this, stand up and shed sunlight on these abusive tactics. Calling attention to people who behave abusively is the best way for them to understand their unhealthy behavior and seek professional help. Together we can clean up Idaho politics and go back to the good old days of disagreeing with each other in a civil manner and breaking bread later.
To those of you on the receiving end, understand that they are yelling into an echo chamber where only those who speak like ideological supremacists will hear their abusive rants. You need not fear these 30 some odd Facebook trolls who are dangerously close to losing their only hope of being relevant.
We are not going away. We will continue to stand up to abusive tactics and unsafe behavior in Idaho politics until positive changes occur. Then we can all focus on creating solutions that uplift the Idaho values that make our state so great.
Related Article: The Martyrs of North Idaho
Jennifer Ellis is a rancher from Blackfoot, Idaho. She has worked for over 20 years with agriculture and community policy. She and her husband ranch and farm in Bingham and Caribou Counties.