Navigating course through unchartered waters

March 22, 2020 1:00 AM

As the Idaho Legislature prepares to put a bow, or more aptly a surgical mask, on the 2020 legislative session, it is now clear to Idahoans and Americans that with the frenzy of the COVID-19 virus we are entering into uncharted waters politically and socially. I am guessing that not since 9/11, World War II or the 1918 influenza pandemic has the average citizen felt their freedoms and liberties so at risk.

Events we are watching unfold reinforce the importance of checks and balances between the three government branches ranging from local to national. It also spotlights the importance of electing public officials who can make decisive, correct decisions under pressure with the information at hand while not stepping over the line of tyranny. It’s a delicate balancing act that cannot please all the people all of the time. I know, I have lived it nonstop the last three months and regularly the last six years.

Change in Idaho has been simmering for the last few years but is now really starting to perk. Since 2016, Idaho has either been tied with or topped the list of the fastest growing states in the country. To some this is great news and to others an ongoing source of anxiety. District 1 is a glorious mix of natural beauty, agrarian lifestyles and raw nature. There are few places in this country more beautiful. Between 2015 and 2025 Idaho is expected to grow at three times the national average and increase its population by nearly a half million people. That can only mean a demographic change even way up here in the north of the state. It is anticipated that five years from now 74% of Idahoans will live in urban areas which signals a major disconnect from ideas and cultural values important to rural lifestyles like those that dominate Boundary and Bonner counties. Most of us know the debilitating impacts large urban centers can have politically and socially on rural, less populated areas. Look no further than Seattle, Washington or Portland, Oregon to see the clash of their realities with the rural parts of their states.

Why am I telling you this? I believe we are long overdue for a huge dose of common sense and common goals for Idahoans. Idahoans must stand on principles and defend the moral high ground like never before. We have so much to offer other Americans, as a beacon of light in this country and a unified force. We cannot afford to lose our exceptionalism as a country and a state, and we cannot allow Idaho to fall for the homogenizing effects of global equality and communism. There are plenty of bad governments who have led their countries down this path to oblivion. Though regularly maligned by others around the world who disdain our exceptionalism attitude, the USA still remains the most sought-after country in the world to be a citizen of. Why? It’s because our Republic form of government has created a framework of laws and pathways conducive to financial opportunity, individual freedom, and protection of private property for anyone willing to work hard and obey our laws.

State Legislators sit in a unique position to see a litany of proposed legislation attempting to regulate groups of people, social issues, and our natural world. Many of them, when reduced to the lowest common denominator, seem to revolve around the cultural and moral issues of our society. Often driven by “crises” and accompanied by hysteria, we as a country have gone off our Founding Fathers’ charted course for a Republic which was built on a moral and just people with a sense of community, and instead now seem to zigzag back and forth chasing the feel-good, all-about-me path of self-destruction. Whether something was “good” or not used to be based on moral principles. Now, sadly, it is defined by feelings.

All these run counter to traditional values and certainly common sense. These troublesome issues are not the foundational building blocks of history’s great nations but are the harbingers of nations on the brink of collapse. And as the old proverb tells us when there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.

However, we have always been a country of resilience, hard work and creativity. I believe we can overcome any obstacle put before us if we as a nation choose to rely on a principled moral compass which places the highest value on pride in traditional families, strong communities and a unified country while abandoning the “me-now-no-matter-the cost” mentality. We need to be the glue that holds this country together and act as the frontline against deteriorating family values, assaults on morality, protection of private property, government indoctrination of our children, and contempt for capitalism.

The uncharted waters loom before us. Will we flounder about rudderless or chart a steady course forward?

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