Emily Articulated Travel Diary: Returning home and escalation

By Emily Erickson
Reader Columnist

We’ve rounded out the last week of our trip abroad with stops in Copenhagen, Hamburg and Amsterdam. In these cities, history is not only found in the museums and on information plaques, but it spools out from their centers — from towering churches, along boat-laden canals and between impossibly snug buildings. You can feel the centuries of human effort, destruction, inspiration and collaboration stacked atop each other in each place, and how culture, industry and conflict uniquely shaped each of them. 

Emily Erickson.

For me, it often takes being in places with such obvious history — the burn scars of war, the centuries-old stylings of buildings, the ornate infrastructure — to remember that I’m also a participant in creating this moment in history. Every large-scale, sweeping moment captured in history books happened in tandem with innumerable small moments — moments that were both the result of and contributed to the next large event. Like the process of laying the bricks, small pieces of history are plastered together until they form an entire wall, an entire block, an entire city.

As I prepare for my long flight home, I can’t help but reflect on the history that’s being created — the bricks that are being laid — in our community and the moment I’m about to drop back into. Specifically, we’re coming up on the District 1 Idaho Senate race, and the impact of candidate Scott Herndon’s confusing and concerning campaign.

Herndon’s platform touts his mission to “restrain encroachments on individual liberty from all levels of civil government,” while simultaneously advocating for loss of liberties for many of his constituents. Namely, as a woman who hasn’t (yet) entirely ruled out the idea of someday getting pregnant while living in Idaho, my individual right to life-saving measures feels more than a little encroached upon by his “no exceptions” abortion stance. 

Currently, the Idaho Trigger Law protects women’s right to terminate a pregnancy in the cases of incest, reported rape and to save the life of the mother. Herndon’s “abortion abolition” mission advocates for removing all such protections, even in the case of an unviable fetus, making getting pregnant a risky and dangerous endeavor for women in Idaho. This stance is ironically described as “equal protection of all human life from womb to [in my opinion, early and completely preventable] tomb.”

Beyond my right to life-saving health care, Herndon’s campaign seeks to further jeopardize my liberties — like my access to public lands (instead, hoping to sell them off for profit and strip them of their resources), and quality and comprehensive public education for the kids in my community that meet any sort of national standards. 

His language and his goals are hypocritical at best; and, at worst, have the potential to escalate into — albeit hard to imagine — even more extreme stances by the people emboldened by his black-and-white beliefs (like, I don’t know, something as ridiculous as banning drag performances in public spaces around the state). 

We are in the middle of shaping our history, of laying the bricks that our future selves and future generations will have to walk and build upon. These seemingly small moments, like showing up and voting in a midterm election, have a collective and profound impact on the legacies we create and leave behind.

In direct contrast to Scott Herndon, write-in candidate Steve Johnson is running on a fair-minded and community-conscious platform that reflects his understanding of what it means to be a North Idahoan — to look out for one another, to be resourceful, to love the land we’re lucky enough to enjoy and to leave our communities better than how we found them. 

On Nov. 8, I’ll be contributing in my small way to history by voting against the myopic and extreme version of Idaho that Herndon envisions — and all the escalation it invites — instead placing a brick in the foundation of the kind of state I’m proud to call home.

Emily Erickson is a writer and business owner with an affinity for black coffee and playing in the mountains. Connect with her online at www.bigbluehat.studio.

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