A couple weeks ago, my husband and I had an interesting experience.
We received a visit from a woman who lives about a mile away from us. She stopped to invite us to a community potluck and gathering being held in town. There were so many newcomers to this remote corner of North Idaho – including us – that she was hoping to foster an opportunity for people to meet, exchange contact information and get to know each other better. Everyone was invited, both old-timers and newcomers.
Our community is small, with people scattered in outlying rural areas. The invitations extended to a radius of eight or nine miles and to three tiny towns, since the area is so thinly populated. We promised to be there, and told several of our immediate neighbors about it as well.
Well my goodness, we had such a good time! There were far more people than we anticipated – perhaps 120 or more, ranging from babies to elderly. We sat with some casual acquaintances (our mechanic, his wife and their seven children), had a chance to greet neighbors we’d only seen a couple times, and met some new people who had just moved in.
During dinner, the organizers passed around a microphone and asked all the family heads to stand and introduce themselves, along with their spouse and children. Along with names, people were encouraged to say how long they’ve lived here, where they came from, and any other pertinent information.
Of the 50 or so family heads who stood up to introduce themselves, a startling number were from blue areas, primarily California, Oregon, western Washington and Colorado. Each and every person expressed profound gratitude – sometimes to the point of tears – about how happy they were to be amidst like-minded people. They expressed how welcomed they felt, how kind and friendly and helpful everyone had been, and how overwhelmingly pleased they were to have left behind their former homes. A word we heard again and again is how they felt “called” to leave their previous location and move somewhere less hostile.
After introductions, the tables were cleared, chairs reassembled, and some homespun entertainments were offered – comic skits, a barbershop quartet, some sing-alongs. I don’t know how long the gathering lasted since we left after two and a half hours, but we enjoyed every minute of it. Apparently, these gatherings are planned once a month, and we plan to attend all of them.
This, dear readers, is just one snapshot of life in the midst of the nationwide exodus of people relocating. These newcomers in our area aren’t unique. Similar scenarios are unfolding in conservative areas all across the country.
For the last couple of years, Americans have been on the move. The COVID lockdowns prompted millions of people to leave the cities and take up residence in suburban or rural areas in a movement called the “Great Relocation.” This movement was compounded by how fast urban areas embraced woke policies that made them unlivable (so many city leaders defunded the police and then acted surprised when crime skyrocketed).
As a result, red states were massively impacted – and not always in a positive way. Of greatest concern are the “leftugees,” defined by “TraderStef” at Crush the Street as “a Democrat, progressive, or socialist who is fleeing from the financial and big-government hardships their blue-state politicos created in the first place. While they are moving in pursuit of more affordable housing and a higher quality of life, it does not mean they prefer a red policy model of low taxes and fewer services, which creates a dilemma for a red state on the receiving end of the current trend.”
“The last 100 years have given ample proof that the further left a regime is, the more people want to leave it,” notes Canadian commentator Lee Harding. “Saskatchewan’s socialism sent private businesses and people scurrying to Alberta. The Berlin Wall was erected to keep Eastern Europeans from fleeing communism. These days, it is Americans leaving Democratic states for Republican ones.”
Leftugees are famous for turning red states blue, and then wondering why their progressive voting patterns create the same hellholes from which they escaped. “I live in Spokane, and we’ve had a lot of people move here from Seattle, Portland and L.A. over the last two years,” said one commenter. “They talk a good game about why they’re leaving, but they don’t realize they are the reason these cities have gotten as bad as they are. They voted for leadership and were more concerned that their leaders know which pronouns to use than if those leaders will keep them safe.”
Another added, “Kind of like locusts. Destroy an area, then move on to the next. No remorse. No comprehension of why it was destroyed in the first place.”
But the people we met at this get-together are not leftugees. They are America’s political refugees.
The pressure on conservatives living in blue areas has gotten worse and worse. Schools are hostile to conservative values. Health care is hostile. Libraries are hostile. Social media is hostile. Even some churches are hostile. In short, the climate for many has become untenable. Most are forced to live with their lips perpetually zipped. One false word, one incautious statement, one non-woke observation, and they could honestly be in fear of their safety. No wonder these people flee and end up as our new neighbors, grateful beyond words to be living in a place where they’re not spat upon, cussed out, beaten, robbed and generally hated.
“The reality is that conservative states are becoming more conservative, and they are gaining political clout at the same time,” notes fellow Idahoan John Green. “The people moving about the country aren’t missionaries going forth to spread socialism. … They’re escaping the blue states in search of the America of their youth. … They’re political refugees.”
The political refugees we met at this gathering are going to be wonderful additions to our community. They won’t be bringing blue policies with them. In fact, they’re far more likely to fight to uphold the values that attracted them here to begin with.
They may be refugees, but in some ways they’re more than that. They are the best of what was left in the increasingly dysfunctional blue states. With their departure, the now-certain failure of those states is all the more insured.
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