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Two sides, sort of

Business interests ordinary get a lot of respect and leeway in Idaho, so count this – the Dispel the Myths/Squash the Fear Rally in Boise today – as something of an unusual case. Here we had owners of small and medium sized businesses making both a business and human interest case that was being shouted down, literally, by a flash crowd from their philosophical right.

The rally had to do with health care reform, which drew the business people because they want provide health insurance for employees – or at least would like their employees to have it – but prices and conditions are putting it out of reach. They made the case compellingly, and one would think this is a serious problem worthy of address.

The 80 or so at the Dispel the Myths rally were met by 50 or so protesters, who (in Spokesman-Review reporter Betsy Russell’s account) shouted down the speakers and tried to keep them from being heard.

One paragraph from Russell’s account: “Wendy Somerset, owner of Furniture and Appliance Outlet in Twin Falls, said her employees won’t take the insurance she provides because of the cost: ‘It’s groceries or health insurance,’ she said. ‘We need reform and we need it now.’ As she spoke, flag-waving protesters in back yelled, ‘Take your socialism!’ and ‘Read the Constitution!’ and a woman shouted, ‘We’re not going to pay for your abortions!’ When rally organizer Nancy Snodgrass of the Main Street Alliance appealed for quiet and respect from both sides, protester Lucille Verdolini shouted from the back, ‘Let’s pray that you don’t get breast cancer and die.’ The group in back then chanted, ‘Obama lies, Grandma dies.’”

It would be nice, in writing about this subject as in many others, to describe the sides as if they are simply both saying their piece, and both sides have something useful to offer. But there’s no realistic case these protesters are offering anything useful. Their repertoire extends to slogans, falsehoods, narrow ideology and purveyance of hatred. They’ll deserve to be taken seriously when they offer (as the business people asked them to do) something resembling solutions and a willingness to behave like adults.

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