posted on Nov, 2 2008 @ 03:56 AM
PETER HITCHENS: The Zombie and the Third-World Marxist ... How the American West views the presidential race
From PETER HITCHENS in Moscow, Idaho
Last updated at 10:11 PM on 01st November 2008
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They tell me that about one person in 50 on the streets of Moscow, Idaho, is legally carrying a concealed pistol. A lot more have them in their cars.
I rather approve of this, though I don't think I'll join in.
Many of those packing heat are women combining a hard, practical feminism with a conservative view of the right to bear arms.
The important thing is that you don't know who is armed and who isn't, and nor do potential rapists and muggers. I am sure this arrangement improves
everyone's manners no end.
It is certainly a very polite place and shoot-outs here are a good deal rarer than they are in gun-controlled London or Manchester.
Armed with words: Peter Hitchens on a visit to a Moscow gun store
As America approaches her most momentous presidential election for decades, I am in the True (but not specially Wild) West, the top left-hand corner
of the United States, a hard-core Republican state that most visitors only fly over.
They think it's dull. How wrong they are.
This extraordinary, divided little city, enfolded in low, fertile hills, is America in miniature - split down the middle, Left versus Right, Christian
versus secular, gun-owner versus gun-hater, abortion advocate versus big-family home-schooling Bible-walloper, cyclist versus gas-guzzler, Obama
versus McCain - and some interesting stations both in between and beyond.
Some local liberals fear that a powerful Calvinist Church plans to turn Moscow into America's version of Iran's Holy City of Qom.
All around, in the farm and logging countryside, self-sufficient, taciturn men in pick-up trucks would rather have a head-on collision with a freight
train than vote for Barack Obama.
Out in the forests and the fields of wheat, peas and lentils, Democrats are so rare they ought to be a protected species.
In Moscow - which is actually named after Moscow, Pennsylvania, not the one in Russia - there is at least a more or less evenly matched argument. But
it is mostly a dialogue of the deaf.
The great Obama cult that has engulfed the Left is a sinister mystery to the other side. The Left regard their devout neighbours as glowering,
fanatical ayatollahs. Yet they pass each other daily in the street, share the city council and, when the liberals aren't boycotting the
conservatives, buy from each other's stores.
Well, up to a point.
From the well-stocked firearm shop on the Pullman Road, which sells everything you might need for hunting elk, felling burglars or discouraging
rapists, it is a surprisingly short distance to the excellent French restaurant on Main Street, which confusingly just happens to be run by an
Evangelical Christian pastor and superb cook.
The two businesses share few clients. Rigs with gun racks tend not to be clustered here but near the burger and Mexican joints further out.
On a rise overlooking the city stands this Moscow's Kremlin, the almost wholly Left-liberal University of Idaho, a tree-girt fortress of
Obama-worship and political correctness. You can be pretty sure that nobody up there is carrying anything deadlier than a Marxist theory.
This institution's advertising slogan used to be: 'You can go anywhere from here.' Which is quite funny because the student who went furthest from
here was Sarah Palin, the Lipsticked Pitbull herself.
And the university, which you might think would rejoice in this success, is rather quiet and shifty about her. I asked to interview the university
president about his distinguished journalism-school graduate and he was politely unavailable.
Battle lines: Obama and McCain polarise opinion to a degree that is extraordinary even for America
But one student paraded through town last week with a placard declaring 'Sarah Palin, embarrassing Idaho University since 1987', which I suspect is
a more candid expression of what the liberal professors think.
Roy Atwood, once a senior lecturer at the university, recently defected to take charge of the rival, highly conservative New St Andrew's College. He
says: 'My guess is that the university is deeply embarrassed, even though she is the most important person ever to have emerged from there.'
As it happens, Roy Atwood is also the only person in Moscow who can even faintly recall the future Sarah Barracuda when she was plain Sarah Heath - he
was her academic adviser.
He admits he cannot remember much. She showed few signs of what was