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Are you moved by politics?

November 6, 2018

Technically, it’s not a presidential election year, so I doubt if we’ll hear it today.

You know, “If (fill in the blank) wins, I’m moving to another country.”

I have no idea how many people make good on that threat. Close to zero would be my guess.

But here’s something I’ve long wondered. How come voters in the Spokane area don’t make similar bold declarations about local elections?

Or maybe they do and I just haven’t heard it. Perhaps that partly explains all the Inland Northwest transplants living in the Seattle area.

When you think about it, the “If so and so wins, I’m moving” threat is a tough one to back up when it involves leaving the country. But on a purely local level, it would be pretty doable. At least relatively speaking.

So why don’t residents of, say, North Idaho, Spokane Valley or the South Hill who feel continuously outvoted by other residents of their area decide to pack up and relocate to a nearby place where they might reliably be in the majority?

It’s not really for me to say. But I suppose it has something to do with the fact there’s usually more to life than election results. Though there are times when that might be debatable.

Yes, it could be nice to reside in a like-minded political enclave. There would be less shaking your head and quietly sighing, “What on God’s green Earth are the voters around here thinking?”

There might be less likelihood that people – both your immediate neighbors and those from other parts of our area – would make assumptions about you that, frankly, you find almost insulting.

Nothing like having your social and public policy views stereotyped on the basis of your ZIP code.

But perhaps some of us get a kick out of being part of the vocal opposition.

And to be fair, it takes a certain strength of character to stand up and espouse locally unpopular opinions. At least arguably sane opinions.

Besides, our democratic process relies on a diversity of views to energize our elections. Well, that, countless campaign lies and tons of special interest money.

If we experienced the sort of widespread voluntary population reshuffling to which I alluded, areas that are already pretty much one-party districts would become even more lopsided politically.

And where would you draw the line after you have moved to an area where most people vote the way you do? Would grandparents whose political leanings make you shudder not be allowed to come visit you? Would your daughter be required to present her residency papers to a black-booted neighborhood guard when she came home from college? Would loud relatives who did not vote the way you did be disinvited for Thanksgiving?

Is that what we want? (OK, the Thanksgiving thing might have merit.)

Of course, a lot of this location self-selection already guides American mobility. People move to places where they might find kindred spirits. Politics are part of that.

But when you look at those color-coded post-election maps in the newspaper showing how people near you voted, what goes through your mind?

If you nod approvingly and once again feel right at home, you might be reminded that you are in the right place at the right time.

Or you might frown at those maps and find yourself asking, “What am I doing here?”

You are the only one who can answer that.

End note

I goofed up my email address at the end of Sunday’s column. I typed “spokesman.com” instead of “gmail.com” – old habits.

Thanks to those who still managed to reach me. Such as Spokane Valley’s Gary W. Smith, who said he is an alum of both GU and WSU and has no trouble rooting for both schools’ teams. Though not a rabid sports fan, he also cheers for EWU, U of I and Whitworth.

But the whole thing reminded me of many years ago when, in a comical state of high dudgeon, I ludicrously declared (in print, no less) that my column would never have an email address. Take that, you soulless interwebs!

Ahahahahaha. Right.

So let me ask. Can you recall a time when you boldly issued a policy statement that would, in time, turn out to have been laughably premature?

Contact the writer at srpaulturner@gmail.com.

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