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Time for all who cherish equal rights to take the tiller

September 11, 2022

By Mike Weland

NOTE: As a result of ongoing controversy, Boundary County Library Director Kimber Glidden, after just nine months in the job, tendered her resignation. Her last day was yesterday, but it wasn't only she who left, three librarians left as well, leaving just three to keep the library open. But it likely won't be open for long in any case. At the end of September, the library's ICRMP insurance expires and, due to increased risk of liability, will not be renewed. With no insurance, the library can't operate. It will likely closes its doors October 1, a community needlessly treasure lost.

In these United States, we are each of us, as citizens, blessed with the right to believe, religiously, politically and philosophically, in the way of our choosing, even if our choice is foolish or inimical to the functioning of our society. The rights promised by our constitution extend even to the farthest limits of the lunatic fringe. But there are limits, for to ensure that all are endowed equally with these blessings, it becomes necessary to draw in the reins when any one faction or sect begins demanding that their particular mode of philosophy, religion or politics be forced on all others.

Such assertions are egregiously contrary to everything our constitution stands for.

At most times in our nation's history, the ebb and flow of our discourse flows along fairly smoothly, but on occasion drifts perilously close to one shore or another, to this eddy, into that turbulence, toward these rocks. In those cases, while some try to push us closer to the peril, it is incumbent upon the rest of us to take the tiller and row together to avoid the danger, lest the ship be lost.

At present, a small but vocal and active faction of our society, politically far to the right, in religion predominantly evangelical white Christians, philosophically nationalistic to the point of fascism, are steering this ship of state into great peril. It is time for the rest of us save the ship.

It's easy to sit back and watch when the danger seems far away; riots and protests in cities, an insurrection in the nation's capitol.

It's a little harder to ignore when you see the same tactics, the same rhetoric, the same arguments being used right here at home, directed against the same "enemies" and with the same purpose; to disrupt tranquility and stir chaos so as to usurp power and so strengthen their dark cause; to inflict on all others their mores, their religion, their politics ... with them at the helm and in power, of course.

The attack on the Boundary County Library is but a microcosm of this nationwide battle. Initially, there were specific and legitimate concerns raised that could have been openly and honestly addressed, but weren't, raising further and more exaggerated concerns in the mind of the public and creating a situation ripe for exploitation, which wasn't long in coming.

The recall petition dedicated to unseating the "woke" library board of trustees was to "protect our children" from the possibility of being "groomed" by having access to any one of the hundreds of sinful books on a list distributed nationally to and among like-minded "patriots." Even though none of these books are or have ever been on our library's shelves, it seems to be their contention, as expressed in the comments of those who support them, that they soon will be, thanks to the radical left who so obviously run things and wield all the power in their diabolical plot to create a new world order.

Why, it's obvious! The late and disgraced director joined the radical-left American Library Association without board approval! It couldn't be more clear ... after stocking the kid's section with such awful books as "Gender Queer" and others promoting and encouraging pedophilia, it won't be long before kids are going to drag-queen storytimes!

Hyperbole, false logic. Creating monsters where none exist.

And now the new tort claim, a document that also closely follows their faction's national strategy. Make up an issue, stir the controversy and claim to be victims when the wholly expected backlash ensues.

How anyone can fall for or believe such hateful and jingoistic cant as that espoused by the radical right these days is beyond my ken, though it is certainly their right to so believe. It is even their right to do all in their power and within the law to promote their point of view, even falsely attacking a long-time community treasure such as the Boundary County Library. But while it is their right, it is the duty of all United States citizens and elected officials who respect the U.S. Constitution to stand up when so confronted, to protect and defend it. Against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Today's far right Christian fundamentalist movement is similar, in some ways, to Joseph R. McCarthy, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin who, from 1950 to 1954, disrupted American discourse with his ever more audacious and ludicrous contentions of evil communists behind every major office and enterprise in the land. His unfounded allegations caused irreparable harm, ruined lives, but nobody would stand up to him lest they, too, be labeled a communist.

Finally, in the spring of 1954, McCarthy, who otherwise did little if anything of particular value during his reign of terror as a United States Senator, an office of high public trust, picked a fight with the U.S. Army, resulting in the three-month nationally televised Army-McCarthy Hearings.

On June 9, 1954, in front of the citizens of this great nation, McCarthy accused one of the attorneys for the Army of having ... what else? ... ties to a communist organization, prompting the Army's chief attorney, Joseph Welsh of Boston, to exclaim, "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or recklessness."

When McCarthy continued his verbal assault, Welsh angrily interceded, shouting, "Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator! Have you no sense of decency?!"

Laid bare before the nation, a repudiated McCarthy's fall from grace was swift and decisive and the U.S. ship of state made way from stormy seas and into calmer waters at long last.

And here we are again.

And it is time once again that we, both citizens and politicians, so as to protect and preserve the rights to which we are equally entitled under the Constitution of the United States, cast off our fears of offending those threatening our freedoms. It is time we stand and shout out in unison, "have you no sense of decency? No shame?" It is time that we wrest their hands from the tiller and oars they've usurped and save this ship of state from crashing headlong onto the frothing, spume-drenched rocks toward which they are steering.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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