It just so happened that in our study of American history, my kids have very recently been learning about the Lewis & Clark expedition and the pioneers that followed them in the 1800’s. We even played a bit of the classic Oregon Trail computer game (as a 90’s kid, this brought back memories!). If you don’t know the game, it’s a fun way to learn about the hardships that the pioneers endured while traveling from Missouri to Oregon in covered wagons pulled by oxen. Boise, Idaho was a major part of their route, so being the hilarious mom that I am, whenever we drive a bridge going across the Snake River, I’ll say, “Whew, we made it! Did anyone drown? Did we lose an ox? Are all the wagon wheels intact?” 

This week, I had extra mom joke opportunities as we drove all the way to Seaside, Oregon, passing many signs for the historic Oregon Trail and the Lewis and Clark Trail along the way. Right now we are staying in walking distance to the Lewis and Clark “End of Trail” statue. While we are here for some fun, we certainly aren’t here for the same reasons as the pioneers – we’re here to help my parents move out! That’s right – my parents just sold their beach house in Oregon and will be loading up their wagon to move East with us. We are thrilled!

The reasons people moved west in the 1800’s were varied, from fur traders to young families, gold diggers to missionaries. In many ways, their brave journey paved the way for future generations. Surely some pioneers were godly while others were greedy, but God used it all for good and now we have this amazing freedom to travel back and forth with ease along a scenic highway through the mountains. 

The reasons why people move today are vast and personal, but certainly we are seeing some trends coming out of states like California and Oregon. Yesterday we strolled into a Seaside resort lobby and chatted with the employee only to discover that she too was thinking of moving to Idaho. At first she was shy about telling me it was because of “politics” – maybe because she didn’t know if I’d agree, or maybe she wasn’t sure if it was a good enough reason to move. But then she shared that she just can’t stand the public schools and wants a better future for her kids. Then I brought up how much better it is to live in a place where your vote counts and your voice feels heard. She really lit up at this idea and hopefully she felt encouraged!

Speaking of voting, the Idaho Primary elections are next week and we are excited to vote! I have faith that Idaho elections are much more secure than what we experienced in California. (Yes, people cheat – it’s not conspiracy, it’s human nature.) In our old state, everyone was mailed an official ballot whether requested or not, and no need to prove your identity (or citizenship for that matter). Mobile voting booths were set up next to homeless camps, and I can just see them now getting all democrat votes in exchange for a government hand-out. Sad and discouraging for anyone who wanted to vote conservative!

In Idaho, a picture ID is required with one caveat – if you don’t have one, you can sign a personal identification affidavit which basically means you will be convicted of a felony if you get caught lying about your identity. They also only mail ballots to those who are requesting an absentee ballot – perfect! Here’s a site where you can learn about Idaho voting laws: Voting Identification Requirements – Vote Idaho

Voting in the primary election is also something that we didn’t used to be too thrilled about. It always felt pointless when we knew no matter who we chose, they’d be crushed by the Democrat opponent in the general election. But this time around, it’s very likely our candidates could win! If you are already in Idaho, here are a few of our top picks! (Idaho Republican Voter guide:

Governor: Janice McGeachin

Attorney General: Raul R. Labrador

Lieutenant Governor: Priscilla Giddings

Secretary of State: Dorothy Moon

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Branden J. Durst

So, while visiting a charming little beach town in Oregon has been fun, more and more people are deciding not to make this place their home. For my parents, they are excited to live by their grandkids of course, but they also have felt a steady decrease in the quality of life due to poor policies. For example, homelessness right down the street from them has had a huge surge in the last couple years because of state laws preventing local authorities from being able to enforce safe practices. So as many others are now doing, my parents will be embarking on the Oregon Trail in reverse! It’s nothing new for humans to uproot and travel far for better opportunities and a brighter future for their children. I’m just thankful that I didn’t have to risk our lives and the lives of our oxen to cross the Snake River in order to get there!

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