Carrie: Have you seen the “Freedom Is the Cure” event promoted by an Idaho legislator on Facebook?
Jerry: What’s it about?
Carrie: They claim to be “advancing our Constitutional Republic.” It’s happening Aug. 1 in Twin Falls.
Jerry: Why is that on your radar?
Carrie: “Freedom Is the Cure” is currently the masthead banner for the national John Birch Society website. The event master of ceremonies is Tom Munds, Idaho’s John Birch Society coordinator.
Jerry: The John Birch Society? Do they still exist?
Carrie: Apparently, like Lazarus, they have risen from the dead.
Jerry: I think “Zombie Convention” is a more accurate description. My recollection is that the Birchers saw communists under every rock and behind every bush.
Carrie: Indeed, they accused President Eisenhower of being a communist.
Jerry: Even ultra-conservative Republicans put them in the same class as the Flat Earth Society. What conspiracy are they saving us from now?
Carrie: Until recently, they were fixated on “Agenda 21,” a nefarious plot by the United Nations to seek world domination using bike paths, walkable downtowns and sustainable development.
Jerry: Scary stuff. Anything else?
Carrie: According to their website, their latest conspiracy theory involves the deep state/big government taking away our “rights, liberties and freedoms” under the guise of protecting public health.
Jerry: So that’s what “Freedom Is the Cure” is about?
Carrie: Apparently. And the event “presenters” are a rogues’ gallery of right-wing Idaho extremists.
Jerry: I see Eric Parker is one of the speakers. He’s the guy from Hailey whose claim to fame was aiming a rifle at law enforcement officials during the Nevada Bundy ranch stand-off.
Carrie: Also speaking is wannabe anarchist Ammon Bundy. You can’t invite Parker without Bundy being there.
Jerry: Another speaker is Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman who has promoted the “Disobey Idaho” effort encouraging citizens to break the law.
Carrie: In the interest of full disclosure, I did file an IRS complaint against the Idaho Freedom Foundation for doing that. The IRS does not permit 501©(3) charities to be lawbreakers
Jerry: I see five Republican Idaho House representatives are on the speaker list: Tammy Nichols, Christy Zito, Chad Christensen, Dorothy Moon and Judy Boyle. Each of them also attended the June 23 illegal special session of the Idaho Legislature.
Carrie: As I recall, only 15 out of 105 legislators attended. It was a gigantic flop.
Jerry: Getting back to the Freedom event, I see they have some anti-vaxxers as speakers.
Carrie: Yup. Just what we need when scientists are working on a COVID-19 vaccine.
Jerry: Somebody named Pastor Diego Rodriguez is giving the closing prayer. He’s the communications and marketing director for a PAC called “Freedom Man.” Their website claims if you attend a “weak church that shut its doors because of the coronavirus scare, (you) should leave that church immediately.”
Carrie: Isn’t it hypocritical that their idea of freedom of religion means your church has to agree with them.
Jerry: Good point. I am also sorry to see Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is on the speaker list.
Carrie: I’m not surprised. She loves hanging out with the militia guys.
Jerry: As Idaho’s number two elected official, she should be working with Gov. Little on getting us safely through this pandemic rather than sowing division among Idahoans.
Carrie: It’s embarrassing and disturbing that she and some Idaho legislators are promoting John Birch Society conspiracy theories when we are facing a genuine public health crisis.
Jerry: Here’s some advice for the Birchers: “never assume conspiracy for what stupidity can explain.”