“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.” – Rosa Parks
In 2007, Seth McFarlane, creator of the cartoon Family Guy, skewered the undecided voter in an episode titled “It Takes a Village Idiot“. In this episode, the protagonist, Lois Griffin, runs for mayor of the city Quahog. Lois faces off in a public debate with the incumbent Mayor Adam West. When Lois finds it impossible to connect with the public on issues of local importance, the sage family dog Brian explains to her that undecided voters are the biggest idiots on the planet. He coaches her to recite short and empty platitudes to appeal to the voter’s shallow appetite. This strategy of repeatedly responding to questions with “Nine Eleven” ends in resounding cheers and applause from the public. Of course, this is an exaggeration of reality, but McFarlane raises a valid point; a good bloc of voters prefer information in soundbites as opposed to in-depth discussion.
Just recently, a dear friend asked me a list of questions about the Pocatello mayoral election. They stated their preference for Mayor Brian Blad, based on his political opposition being an extremist. When pressed further for comment or to expound on what it is that makes David Worley an extremist, my dear friend had nothing to offer. They were merely repeating what they were told to believe of David Worley.
I recently took the opportunity to interview David Worley with the intent of providing my personal take on the candidate. It turns out that David had already submitted a candidate survey to the Idaho State Journal, and anything that I wrote would be redundant and unnecessary. But I would like to take the opportunity to dispel the myth of David Worley, the extremist. David Worley is an extremist in the same way that Larry Elder is a white supremacist, which is to say not at all. This narrative of the political extremist is a political fabrication, likely originating in the minds of those who wish to assassinate the character of political opposition, rather than challenge them on issues of importance.
In my interview with David, I found him to be cordial, competent, and qualified to discuss issues that matter to the people of Pocatello. The assertions that David is an extremist seem to hone in on his appeals to freedom as a political platform. How far have we fallen in 245 years of existence? Given the experiences of small business owners and parents across Idaho who’ve either lost their livelihoods in the wake of Covid regulations or who’ve experienced their children coming home with schoolwork that flirts with indoctrination, there are very real concerns of Pocatelloans that deserve to be addressed and are best addressed at the local level. Dismissing these complaints as extremist is arrogant and lazy.
Our nation was founded on the premise that the individual is the highest form of government, and that government derives its authority from the borrowed consent of its citizens. I say borrowed because it is the people’s consent to lend or rescind as they see fit. Freedom is neither extreme nor unpopular, and freedom for me means freedom for you. Most of us just want to live our lives in a manner that we see fit and willingly extend the same to others in return. As we head into the runoff for Pocatello Mayor, let’s freely bring our concerns about public policy to the table, and let’s leave the pejoratives at the door.