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From the Far Margins

When Idaho left

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It began with two mass shootings followed by large-scale desertion from the National Guard and an exodus that led to refugee camps being set up for former Idahoans in Ontario, Ore.; Lovelock, Nev.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and Spokane, Wash. In retrospect, then-Governor Brad Little admitted he should have seen it coming but he managed his conservatism carefully, distancing himself from U.S. President Bernie Sanders, who had artfully leveraged Congress to turn against the insurance industry, passing a universal Medicare-For-All health plan.

Nationally, polls showed widespread approval of federal socialist policies including college tuition waivers and universal daycare. But this was Idaho, and Little had heard the conspiracy theories and knew trouble was brewing in the land of Monsanto, guns and potatoes.

On election day, "Idago" won with 59 percent of Gem State voters choosing to leave the U.S. and 29 percent choosing to remain. A write-in campaign advocating the armed occupation of Oregon, Washington and Nevada garnered a whopping 12 percent of the vote. In the aftermath, sentiment began to spiral, and even those who had voted to exit rethought their positions.

The Leave campaign's ads promising free guns and the elimination of taxes, regulations, wolves, abortions and refugees, turned out to be politically and fundamentally impractical. Within a week of the election it became clear the cost of free guns would require a tax increase. Idago organizers Raul Labrador and Wayne Hoffman reassured voters taxes would be eliminated, "Though," Hoffman admitted, "fees may increase."

As roads were blockaded, Idaho passports were issued and the state flag was edited to depict a man and woman holding automatic rifles. Support for the referendum briefly rallied. What followed, however, was unmitigated chaos.

Fracking on the Republic of Idaho's western border and in Teton County to the east went into overdrive, contaminating drinking water and prompting Wyoming to mobilize its National Guard, preventing Idahoans from crossing over to buy bottled water, which had run out when a trade embargo left Idaho without plastic bottles, avocados, orange juice or electricity imports.

In charge of refugee and alien deportation, Secretary Labrador began house-to-house searches and instituted genetic testing, none of which produced a single Syrian immigrant, refugee or terrorist. It was later revealed that Hoffman, acting as the Republic's military commander, press secretary and health minister, had instructed officials to search and test the houses of people with funny sounding last names.

The racist implementation of a key Leave campaign platform plank mobilized the state's Latino population into a disciplined militia. Led by Chobani Corporation, Twin Falls Head Start and Catholic leaders from Blackfoot, it began organizing soup kitchens and medical clinics, daycare centers, gender neutral bathrooms and safe houses for gay people statewide.

By year two of the Republic, Hoffman ordered air strikes on churches with the exception of LDS temples that Labrador organized into centers for reprogramming gay people, coffee drinkers and those who took the Lord's name in vain.

Faced with devastating unemployment, Now Idaho President Little imposed home gardening, pap smear and birth control surcharges to fund a wolf extermination force that put 2,000 men, women and children to work bushwhacking the Frank Church, Sawtooth, Selway and White Cloud wilderness areas with antitank missiles, grenades and helicopters. They had to live in tents, but they got three meals a day. Casualties were intense as the $500 per-head bonus for a wolf kill prompted many of the most desperate to shoot anything that moved.

By the third year, north Idaho had broken away. Led by President Sheryl Nuxoll and Vice President Bob Nonini, the extremist enclave organized vast labor camps where they cut timber and grew marijuana to sell in Portland, Seattle and Meridian. By November of the third year, the military leader of the North Idaho Republic, Heather Scott, staged a coup, dispatching snipers from the capitol in Lewiston. In a press release, she warned the South she would kill every kitten within her borders if Little did not admit he was a gay sympathizer and relinquish control of his farms and ammunition manufacturing facilities.

The war that followed was bloody, with General Lenore Barrett leading armies of Tea Party faithful on a northern march, keeping time to rhymed verse. Her forces were stopped only when Vice President Hillary Clinton showed up on horseback with an offer of amnesty and free medical care to any who laid down their arms. Medical supplies were low and, because rebel forces had breached the lower Snake River dams to free the salmon, the entire state had been relying on solar and wind power. People were desperate for new clothes, Costco, Cabela's, Mexican food and anything to drink beside wine.

So it ended, and from Lewiston to Tetonia people sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" and went forth with medical care and free college. Wars were ended, nukes were dismantled and the newly united nation became educated, innovative, healthy and strong.