Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The attack on our rights needs to end

| November 19, 2023 1:00 AM

When I first read that the United Against Hate summit would be held in Sandpoint, I thought it would be great to host a dialogue on hate. But then I read the comments by Mr. Hurwit (Daily Bee, Nov. 9) …"troubling hate incidents” and “the moment for an all-hands-on-deck approach to combating unlawful hate.” I am sorry, what?

The past eight years or so has seen an explosion of hate, of violence, of intolerance, and of attacks on the Constitutional freedoms found in our Bill of Rights. The problem for Mr. Hurwit is that the vast majority of these incidents have occurred in places like Seattle, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Berkeley. There residents have seen non-stop Maoist tactics and self-appointed goons running amok against the defenseless and innocents. It is Antifa and deranged you want, not Sandpointians or Bonner County residents.

In quite the brilliant contrast, Sandpoint and Bonner County have handled both COVID and its mini population explosion quite nicely, Any grumblings we have seen are par for the course where many want to preserve the values of small towns and rural living and reject the hollow values of a resort economy. But “troubling hate incidents” and the need for an “all hands on  deck approach to combat unlawful hate?” WTH?

Paraphrasing Yogi Berra, I am getting deja vu all over again. Did we not go through this once before’? Did we not learn from the December 2015 debacle when the City tried to adopt a badly conceived and exceptionally poorly written letter in the form of a resolution? Then we saw an explicit attempt to label the community as racist and in need of public shaming.  Have we not moved on from that embarrassingly backhanded attempt at virtual signaling for political gain? Come on, the US Attorney and the FBI?

Mr. Hurwit, communities committed to freedom will always have its bad apples, kooks, and ne’er-do-wells. At the same time, the residents of these same communities expect to exercise their first amendment rights and express their beliefs with the passion and pointed political speech that they alone should determine. We are not only protected  by the first amendment but our founding documents expect us to exercise those freedoms or risk losing them. Try to remember: it is group think that is un-American, not healthy and vigorous debate

Moreover, the actions of the given individual should not be misconstrued as a systematic pathology toward hate. The hate you cite are not supported empirically in numbers nor are they found financially in terms of tourists dollars nor recorded in terms of actual incidents of physical violence.

Having a forum on hate can offer a community a fine education.  We can all use lessons on what to look for and how to address. After all,  many of us travel to places where the color of one’s skin, the car one drives, and the flag one flies can lead to very scary encounters. But Mr Hurwit, all those places are located in other states and in their major urban centers! There you will find hatred as an art form, and plenty of work for your office and the FBI. Here? Not so much.



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