Oxford Dictionary definitionUltranationalism, noun, extreme nationalism that promotes the interest of one state or people above all others.

The Boise twitterverse blew up on Monday. The cause was hardly surprising: an Idaho conservative said something disparaging about another group of people again. This time is was Boise mayoral candidate Judy Peavey-Derr. She said refugees were causing urban blight.

As Idahoans, we’re used to this nonsense. It’s becoming routine. That’s because this type of ultranationalism has established a foothold in our political dialog. Sadly, it’s not just the World Net Daily kooks who are saying these things. It’s our politicians.

By the way, the ultranationalists even have their own flag.

Heather Scott Confederate flagWhy is this all too familiar? Here is a sampling of offensive outbursts from just the last nine months.

In fact, ultranationalism has become so common in Idaho politics, it’s spoken in polite company with a casual tone. Take Peavey-Derr. She nonchalantly made her disparaging comments in front of an Idaho Statesman editorial board.

This video shows the moment (emphasis added):

In case you can’t stream it, here is the transcript:

“Frankly, I think that the south end of town is getting blighted by a lot of refugees and different dialects…”

Okay, that was ugly. But it’s not unique. Lately, the Gem State has shown itself to have a problem.

  • When an anti-Islam zealot like Shahram Hadian adopts your state as a second home, you might have an ultranationalists problem.
  • When talk radio show hosts like Bill Colley are treated as a legitimate newsman by Sen. Mike Crapo even after Colley called Islam a “pathogen,” you might have an ultranationalist problem.
  • When state legislators such as Rep. Vito Barbieri maintains a committee chairmanships while inviting Shahram Hadian to the capitol to tell dim-witted lawmakers about the upcoming Islamic onslaught, you might have an ultranationalist problem.
  • When lawmakers kill a bill to provide funding for the enforcement of child support orders over the fear of Sharia law, you might have an ultranationalist problem.
  • When a mayoral candidate compares “refugees” and “dialects” to urban blight, you might have an ultranationalist problem.

This nonsense must stop. It marginalizes the state while making it harder to attract highly-skilled people who are the driving force of a 21st century economy (some of whom are non-white and non-Christian).

Ultimately, it will do nothing to make Idaho a better place to raise a family, start a business, or live a fulfilling life.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a pledge that every Idaho politician can take.

Put your hand in the air and repeat after me:

“I will not make disparaging or derogatory comments about other people, other races or other religions to the press, on social media, or in public. I will not associate with people who do. I will henceforth treat all people with the respect and dignity that my fellow humans deserve. And I will do so cheerfully.”

Now we’re making progress.