By Mike Weland, Publisher
When those of any radical faction who have earned the privilege of serving we the public give up all pretense of drafting proposed legislation in such a way that it at least has the appearance of being well thought out and/or intelligent, you know we’re in trouble. Where before they tried to sneak their agenda in quietly, they now have the confidence to wave the stupid proudly for all to see as they push relentlessly for passage of pet laws that are going to bite or cost their constituents. They don’t care.
Take for instance Idaho Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon’s Senate Bill 1220 to amend the Terrorist Control Act by arbitrarily redefining common words and so protect your more rowdy radical Idaho friends, in Idaho, anyway, from being labeled “terrorists.”
Anthon, who lives in Burley and has represented the good citizens of District 27 since 2015, claims that the purpose of S1220 is to “prevent an Idahoan from being labeled a domestic terrorist or terrorist in Idaho without constitutionally protected due process.”
And how does he propose to do this? Easy peasy, Billy Bob, we’ll just take out the existing and easily interpreted definition in Idaho Code 18-8102 for civil disorder and replace it with a doozy we’ll call “domestic terrorism,” only we’ll make it say domestic terrorism is any activities conducted in Idaho that: (a) are done in cooperation with any foreign terrorist organization …
Hold it right there, Kelly. Just one minute. Are you telling me that to be domestic terrorism in Idaho, a foreign terrorist organization has to be involved? While I’d very much like to, I’m not going to quote that immortal Samuel L. Jackson line from Pulp Fiction verbatim, but English, Senator … does you speak it?
By rights, the Senator ought not to be that stupid. According to his Senate profile he attended the University of Idaho’s College of Law, is a licensed Idaho attorney who until 2012 practiced at the Rupert law firm of Robinson, Anthon & Tribe, served as appointed City Attorney for the cities of Burley, Rupert, Acequia and Minidoka and served as city administrator in Rupert. He speaks fluent Japanese and he’s a member of local Rotary club.
The proposal is so glaringly stupid you can’t even say, “well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Before we go any further, let’s take a quick refresher, just so we’re all on the same page:
• do·mes·tic /dəˈmestik/ — existing or occurring inside a particular country; NOT FOREIGN or international … “the current state of US domestic affairs.”
• for·eign /ˈfôrən,ˈfärən/ — of, from, in, or characteristic of a country or language OTHER THAN ONE’S OWN … “a foreign language.”
But wait! There’s more!
“‘Domestic terrorist’ means a person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of domestic terrorism as defined in this section.”
Well, alrighty then!
If my neighbor and his cousin, both seventh generation Idahoans who’ve never been out of state, go in cahoots and blow up a synagogue, shoot up an aborti … oh, wait, we don’t do those anymore … uh, shoot up a Rotary gathering in the meeting room of the local café or plant a bomb in the prosecutor’s car, we can’t call either a terrorist, domestic or otherwise, unless and until he confesses or is found guilty of domestic terrorism.
As silly as all this might sound, Senator Anthon is by no means stupid. His purpose in proposing this mess has nothing at all to do with his stated purpose nor even what he tells the media, that it’s all about protecting free speech or to protect Idahoans from the trauma and loss of being accused of domestic terrorism. It’s far, far worse, as made clear by the 27-8 vote that passed it on to the House.
The 27 Senators who voted yes aren’t concerned with the safety or welfare of their constituents and they are no longer hiding it; their priority is to remain in office, their fealty is to their party. They are all Republicans, and their legislative goal is to pave the way for their presumptive party nominee to be given another four years as President and Commander-in-Chief of these United States. And bysuch glaringly dangerous legislation as S1220 being proposed, passed and enacted by Republican boards, commissions, councils and legislatures nationwide, you know that use of the word “presumptive” is superfluous.
Donald Trump has control of his party and the party serves only him.
If S1220 were an anomaly, or if such bills, proposed to push an ideological extreme rather than promote public safety or the public good, were bi-partisan, it might be rational to pass them off to a momentary lapse of reason, but they’re not.
In Idaho, there are bills under consideration to arm everyone working in our public schools, to repeal age-old prohibitions on using taxpayer money to fund religious schools and to advance “parental choice” to the detriment of the public schools mandated by our state constitution. Bills to further restrict what the public has access to in their public or school libraries and to penalize the librarian who fails to uphold the proper moral standards. To define by legislation that there are two sexes and only two in a world wherein the laws of nature refute that contention, to rename more words in common usage, in this case “fetus” and “stillborn fetus” to euphemisms and to establish “gestational agreement” to protect the “preborn child” of the “gestational carrier,” regardless of her age, that the fetus not become a “stillborn child” or victim of an abortionist except as narrowly defined. To combat the evils of “woke” and prohibit mask mandates the next time a pandemic rolls around.
All Republican proposals, all promoting specific moral or religious precepts intended to regulate behavior or thought so as to promote “conservative” ideology and Christian nationalism to the detriment of all others, and so to form a more perfect and righteous union … to “Make America Great Again.”
All in contravention to the ideals and rules prescribed by the United States Constitution, all in furtherance of the whims and wants of Donald J. Trump.
And Idaho is but one of several red states working for the party rather than the people in a nation once again polarized by ideology, one side dedicated to preserving privilege and uniformity, the other to promoting equal rights and fostering diversity.
There are 35 state Senators in Idaho, 28 of them Republican. Five of those Republican Senators; Glenneda Zuiderveld, Scott Herndon, Tammy Nichols, Brian Lenney and Cindy Carlson publicly claim membership in the Idaho Freedom Caucus, “a dedicated group of state legislators committed to safeguarding the freedoms and liberty of Idahoans,” according to the website. “They have a proven track record of ACTUAL conservative action” as calculated by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, another group open only to Republicans, whose ” mission is to defeat Marxism and socialism by building a culture of liberty around America’s founding principles so that Idahoans can prosper.”
Not all of Idaho’s Republican Senators chase covetously after high ratings by the IFF for voting as they are told, not all genuflect before those of the IFC. One, first term Senator Daniel Foreman, District 6, voted with the Senate’s seven Democrats on Thursday.
Hopefully other Republicans in both houses of legislatures in each state and Washington, D.C. will find their moral compasses in the days and weeks ahead, row away from the sanctimonious freedom factions steering the ships of state toward fascism and set sail toward their constituents, all of them equal, all of them entitled to equal representation from those we elect.