Rally prompts reminder of First Amendment

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“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Just a reminder of the First Amendment.

On Thursday, a group of dedicated individuals assembled peaceably in front of the Bonner County Courthouse to oppose a war with Iran. We got the call 24 hours in advance, joining 300-plus such gatherings across the U. S. We were happy to be there in the frigid air to speak our minds through signs and represent others who could not join us on such short notice.

We had the many thumbs up, peace signs, agreeing honks. Some of what we witnessed though was embarrassing for U. S. citizens, human beings. Most of the people who didn’t agree just didn’t make eye contact. No big deal. Some gave us a thumbs down. OK, I guess. And, of course, there were the usual one finger salutes (showing us their IQ). Who raised you? Where are your manners? A few yahoos with their small men complexes drove by in their over-sized trucks and revved their engines. Kind of explains the over-sized truck. One teenage passenger yelled, “white power. ” Really? I waved at everyone and did my best to respond with, “We love you!” to those who yelled negative comments, the thumbs down, etc.

And, then, there was the consummate idiot, who, in his over-sized truck purposefully swerved on the icy road toward our group of people. Luckily, he didn’t slide and hit anyone in our group. And, thank heavens we know where to stand. Unfortunately, we did not have time to get a license plate number to report his reckless driving to the authorities.

What has happened to Sandpoint and Bonner County? I moved here in the early 1980s to a quaint, lakeside town with a terrific sense of community. I had friends galore who lived out in the county just wanting a piece of land to build a home on, raise their kids, grow fruits and veggies, lead a life of quiet independence and self-sufficiency. People loved the community. There were people across the political spectrum. People respected each other and their ideals. It was okay to be a Republican, a Democrat, an independent.

Where is that Sandpoint and Bonner County? Where is my USA? I am saddened by the lack of tolerance and divisiveness that has seeped into the fabric of Bonner County as well as many parts of our nation.

“Come on people now

Smile on your brother

Everybody get together

Try to love one another

Right now. ”

With respect for all.

ANN GIANTVALLEY

Sandpoint

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