Many of you recognize the name Matt Shea, fewer know he has been the the State Representative from Spokane Valley, Legislative District 4, since 2008, and even fewer know how far out on the flapping fringes of conspiracy theory his ideas really are.
Let’s start with this premise: If most voters actually spent the time necessary to get to know the candidates rather than voting based on name recognition or not voting at all, legislators like Matt Shea would be voted out. If I didn’t believe that I would fall into a fit of despair.
Which brings me to Matt Shea and the Red Pill. The Red Pill Expo runs June 21-23, this Thursday afternoon through Saturday evening, at the Spokane Convention Center. For a mere $470.25 you can still get an all inclusive (apart from lodging) general admission ticket online. The only mention in the Spokesman Review occurred on June 10 and identifies the gathering as “Freedom Force Red Pill Expo Conference – Freedom Force International, June 17-26, Spokane Convention Center, 100 attendees.” If you visit the Freedom Force International website you find this whole thing is the brainchild of G. Edward Griffin, a now 86 year old conspiracy theorist who has pushed his views through books, films, and conferences. He is also the lead speaker among twenty-eight speakers at the Spokane Red Pill Expo. For much of his life Mr. Griffin has been a member and officer of the John Birch Society.
The term “Red Pill” comes from a scene in the film The Matrix, in which the protagonist is offered the choice of a red pill, representing truth and self-knowledge, or a blue pill representing a return to blissful ignorance. I invite you to explore the Red Pill Expo website and decide if any of their tripe represents the “truth and knowledge” they claim to offer.
Check out the twenty-seven Speakers. Copy and paste a name or two into wikipedia.org. You won’t be disappointed. My personal favorite is Lord Christopher Monckton, “Internationally known expert on climate change.” He has zero education or credentials in science, unless a British lordship qualifies. His education includes a degree in Classics and a diploma in journalism. His many other bizarre views byond vociferous climate denial are detailed and referenced in his wikipedia article.
In the second row of speakers at Red Pill is Washington State’s very own Matt Shea. His bio includes the statement: “As the ranking Republican on the House Environment Committee, Matt insists legislative decisions are based on sound, peer-reviewed science that protects both the state’s environment and jobs that preserve Washington’s quality of life.” Really?? A man without a single scientific credential who shares the podium with a cast of conspiracy theorists?? Sorry, if these are the peers to whom he looks for review…
To round out your acquaintance with this man I encourage a visit to his wikipedia.org entry. Look under Personal Life and Controversy. Check out the links to articles detailing allegations made by his ex-wife and his experience threatening a motorist with an illegally carried pistol. Visit his Facebook page. Sample his leadership qualities expressed on his bi-weekly show on Patriot Radio broadcast on the American Christian Network.
I still have hope that the average oblivious voter, even a standard fiscal conservative Republican voter, if they took the time to check out Red Pill might think twice about casting a vote for this man.
I’ve met and talked with Matt Shea’s Democratic challenger in Legislative District 4, Ted Cummings. He’s the real deal. Visit his website, tedforwashington.com. Make a donation.
If you’ve followed some of the links in this article you will have confirmed a disturbing truth about the Republican Party in general. The Party may have the same name. It may claim descent from Abraham Lincoln. But today’s Republican Party is not even the Republican Party of the Bushes. Today’s Republican Party is well on the way down the road to right wing extremism. The election of Donald J. Trump has just shined a spotlight on the takeover. Leave them in office at your peril.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. Several of Mr.Griffin’s books were published through the John Birch Society, a far right fringe group whose founder list includes Fred C. Koch, father of Charles and David Koch, current instigators of the Koch donor group detailed by Jane Mayer in Dark Money. William F. Buckley, Jr., for many years the intellectual underpinning of American conservatism and founder of The National Review, kept the John Birch Society identified as a fringe element of the conservative movement. With Buckley’s death in 2008 many would argue the Birchers have taken over the Republican Party with the help of the Koch brothers. This New Yorker article chronicles Buckley’s resistance to the JBS and the subsequent rise of the Tea Party. Written in 2010 the article foreshadows things that have now come to pass.
P.P.S. In case you missed it on the Red Pill website, a featured speaker at the Spokane Red Pill is the widow of LaVoy Finicum, the man who guaranteed his own death by pulling a gun on the law enforcement officers who pulled over his vehicle outside the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Matt Shea visited the illegal occupation of Malheur in support of the occupiers…