Something’s burning

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

The absolutely most hated thing in the “Republican Book of Hates” is when someone up the political food chain tries to give orders to someone further down the chain – tries to tell ‘em how to live – what to do – what not to do – what to pay for. When any of those happen, it sets Republican hair on fire!

So saying, consider one of the dumbest moves the Idaho Republican Party could make when such philosophy is threatened – by Idaho Republicans.

The State Central Committee has decided the Goofy Old Party must step in to save local governments from themselves. Those down the ladder. To wit – no city or county in Idaho should be able to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance to protect all its citizens. And – should that sentiment be ignored – the legislature should make sure those passed are unenforceable.

Am I alone in seeing a “do-what-I-say-not-as-I-do” situation here? Shouldn’t there be a smell of burning hair in the air?

Two immutable facts. First, all citizens – ALL citizens everywhere – deserve equal protection of our laws. Protection assured and provided in the most even-handed of ways. Just Basic Citizenship Guarantees #101.

Second, to all intents, Idaho is a one-political-party state. GOP. Total control of all state offices and overwhelming numbers in the legislature. Further, nearly all legislative leaders (the tails) come from small communities and they’ve wagged their big city cousins (the dogs) for a long, long time.

Over the past year, half a dozen Idaho cities put anti-discrimination ordinances on the books. A couple more are considering it. In fact, a quarter of the state’s population already lives under such rules.

Now to be fair, the closed-minded Republican cretin types that make up the State Central Committee aren’t saying there should be NO protections. No, Sir! They just don’t want to offer equal protections for different “sexual orientations.” Just that one group of citizens. Just “them.”

One of the excuses – pardon me – “reasons” for this GOP attempt to exempt some of us from the protections assured for all of us is that such local ordinances could interfere with the “free exercise of religion.”

Say what?

I suppose the continuing national Republican onslaught to keep minorities from voting in state after state is somehow tied to interfering with someone’s “free exercise of religion.” Or maybe cutting food stamps – defunding Planned Parenthood – erecting every conceivable roadblock to abortions and gutting gun laws at every turn slops over into this “free exercise of religion” B.S.

While Idaho is the “pig-on-the-verbal-barbeque” here, the small-minded efforts of that state’s controlling party are just one more affront to this nation’s democracies and guarantees of full rights of citizenship. A minority of scared – mostly white people – is striking out at our institutions of government and privileges of citizenship with increasing fervor. Despite promises to be more “inclusive” the daily Republican proof is just the opposite. If it ain’t white, a selected shade of Protestant and preferably Anglo Saxon to the core, it’s gotta be killed before it can multiply. And “infringe on our religious exercise.”

If the patently discriminatory State Republican Central Committee demand of the Idaho Legislature seems quaint or weird to you, that’s only because you haven’t been following the actions of that bunch for long. The Idaho GOP has cost all taxpayers within the state’s wandering borders millions of tax dollars over many years in continual losing court battles – trying to do things single-mindedly unconstitutional or illegal. Many of the warped laws created in that body have caused establishment of – and funding for – the “Idaho Attorney Perpetual Employment and Retirement Fund.”

The only bright spot for an Idaho taxpayer is several other states have previously passed bills authored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which are already being thrown out by various courts. If the Idaho Legislature moves just a bit slower – and can refrain from signing up as co-sponsor on some of this ALEC trash or that of its own central committee – enough money may be saved to better fund the state’s education system and get it out of 49th place. Just ahead of Utah. Where Republicans … well, you know.

There were many other backward-looking and strange items up for action on the Idaho GOP Central Committee’s agenda. Requesting a law allowing discrimination based only on sexual orientation was just one. But I gotta go. Something’s burning.

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