Opinion: Ask yourself: Are you a political radical?

Maybe the line between party support and a radical is closer than you think. Radical, for many, is just the term the other side uses to discredit or devalue the progress of the opposing party. Even our forefathers saw how radical approaches could quickly overtake productive government, overshadowing freedom and contributing to the rise of demigods.

The evil desires of men coupled with an ambitious and complicit minority will always be the greatest threat to the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton warned us of this possibility in the first federalist paper. Hamilton referred to the perverted ambition of those who want only to increase their status, power or wealth. The attempt to win at all costs has created a team sports culture toward politics — and this is the fuel for our current political radicalism.

Consider the people that just “found” themselves inside our nation’s Capitol building on Jan. 6, even though they had never been previously active in politics. Many of these individuals certainly would not label themselves as radicals. However, they meet the definition of political radicals: The intent to transform or replace fundamental principles of a political system, often through social change or revolution.

There are other indications of radicalism when we look at politicians. For example, your representative might be touting the score they have received from a third-party interest group. If you support radical politicians more interested in a score from a lobbying group than in serving the people, you might be a political radical.

Idaho politicians lead the way in their radical approach. They made efforts to give themselves the authority to call special sessions. Our Legislatures passed laws in hopes of a Supreme Court ruling in their favor. We have a U.S. congressman working to eliminate the funding that supports our Idaho hunters in the interest of a radical political action committee. With Moore v. Harper on the horizon, Idahoans should be concerned with how our radical representatives react — and what score their third-party interest group will give them.

Radicalism can spread quickly and unassumingly. It might start when an incumbent is voted out due to false advertising and manipulation. We saw it in Twin Falls, orchestrated by the Idaho Freedom Foundation. What about when we allow politicians to sling rhetoric like critical race theory versus addressing actual local education issues? Rep. Barbara Ehardt was paid to do just that by the east coast American Principles Project PAC. It might just start by shunning the opposite party simply because they think differently, never citing issues or facts that would support a start towards positive change.

The beginning of change is more manageable than one may think. Election season is starting back up; don’t be a misinformed voter. Remember that all PACs and third-party interest groups pay for their issues to be prioritized. However, elected officials should strive to represent all constituents. Get involved at a local level. Without more of us getting involved, the radicals will destroy our democracy from the inside out.

Dan Barker is a leadership development consultant and the vice chair of the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.