Back in the good old days, before the advent of cable news and social media, people had political differences but we did not tend to take offense from matters of everyday life. If people wore masks back then, it was just assumed that they were either bank bandits or health nuts. There was absolutely no reason in those days to take serious political offense from the presence or absence of a face covering. If a school board wanted to have an “inclusive” environment for students, it was not taken for granted that the kids were to be indoctrinated as part of a Communist plot.
Ever since Donald Trump called the country’s attention to the scourge of critical race theory (CRT) last October, some have claimed it to exist in every nook and cranny of the Gem State. Despite the fact that those fearful of the concept have yet to identify what it is or where it can be found in our school system, they are bound and determined to root it out.
For instance, the Kuna School Board meeting on August 3 fell apart when folks got riled up and demanded the exclusion of the word “inclusive” from the school’s strategic plan. Some Kavemen patrons saw the word as a gateway to CRT indoctrination. It is obvious that we don’t want our schools to be inclusive because that is a pathway to Communist mind control.
Back in June the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which champions the right of Idaho kids to be free of public schools, took on the Coeur d'Alene School District for developing an “equity framework.” The Foundation saw this as promoting a “deeply ideological, morally shameful and anti-academic program.” We should not scoff at this description because the IFF has spent years developing this very type of program to perfection.
Another stroll down memory lane might remind us of the day when the appointment of a doctor to a public health board was just a ho-hum affair. Commissioners of health boards would routinely appoint a licensed Idaho physician as a board member to provide input on public health issues. It is not so simple anymore because we find that political credentials of doctor appointees may well take precedence over public health knowhow.
The primary case on point is the physician vacancy on the board of Central District Health, which serves Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley Counties. Dr. Sky Blue, an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist, received high praise from the local medical community and appeared at one point to be the front runner for the position. But then, the Ada County Republican Central Committee waded in to urge support for Dr. Ryan Cole, a doctor with lesser medical credentials but much more ideological heft.
Dr. Cole, a pathologist, received the disapproval of one Meridian doctor for his “role in discouraging vaccination and promoting unproven medical treatments.” Another physician disapproved of Dr. Cole’s advancement of “conspiracy theories.”
The Republican Central Committee expressed concern about Dr. Blue’s support of masks, vaccinations and other Covid-19 precautions. Any physician who believes in established science is obviously suspect.
Unfortunately, these kinds of needless quarrels are tearing apart communities across the country in proceedings of legislatures and all kinds of government boards and agencies. Ah, for those good old days of yore when we did not find it necessary to have heated arguments over non-existent problems like CRT and when facts prevailed over conspiracy theories.