Deriding protesters exhibits selfishness by those with little to lose

Wilson Boots

First, I would like to correct something printed in your paper twice now. The reason I “mocked” Nez Perce County Commissioner Don Beck (not Commissioner Doug Zenner) was not for refusing to attend the protest, but for his condescending statement informing me that the protest was in violation of the stay-at-home order. That was the whole point of the protest.

His patronizing response came only after I called his office and sent two emails. Zenner was at least not disrespectful in his response, although we disagree on the shutdown. That’s why I appreciate Commissioner Doug Havens. He will actually communicate with me in a timely manner, regardless if he agrees with me or not. What a novel idea. Other leaders should remember they swore an oath to the Constitution, not the governor, and that they answer to the people.

Additionally, Beck wrote me: “This is not a political issue.”

If the situation we are in is not a political issue, why are the politicians making the decisions? And that begs the question: Then what do we need you for? What we need are leaders who make recommendations, not unconstitutional orders that infringe on hard-won and cherished liberties. Hiding in your office and receiving a paycheck from the taxpayers while those same taxpayers are scrambling to make ends meet is not leadership. I propose that every elected official’s pay should be based on what he would receive on unemployment during the duration of this shutdown. Also, they wouldn’t receive a penny until all other claims are processed. Do you think that might change a few of the hearts and minds of our politicians? I do.

Protesters and business owners are not disobeying to be selfish but because they have the right to provide for their families, and to remind us that preserving our freedom is essential to the republic. Unlike tone-deaf Gov. Brad Little, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin gets it. Many people still have not received any unemployment pay. What would you have them do? If it were your family that was about ready to lose their home and standing in line at the food bank, would you be so supportive of this continued shutdown? Without fail, the people who want to force people to remain in their homes are people who don’t need to worry about money. They have forgotten the principles of the Golden Rule. So many take the stance, “I got mine, to heck with the everyone else.” That attitude is truly selfish.

Anyone who is fearful or in an at-risk health category and has the financial or logistical ability to stay home indefinitely is completely free to do so. I don’t deny that it may be advisable for some. Every person has the right to self-determination whether the government likes it or not.

This is the very principle that the USA was founded on and we are forgetting that. That is what scares me much more than the virus, because taking our liberty for granted is a cancer that will eat the soul out of America. This cannot be the “new normal,” as some have said. That is why we protest these illegal orders.

Marty Trillhaase, do you think that if the First Amendment rights that I cherish disappear (the freedom of religion, of speech, to assemble and to petition of the government for grievances), that your freedom of the press will somehow be magically protected? Or that when I lose my rights, that I will care about fighting for yours? You should be supporting us on principle, even if disagreeing on the issues. Local news media refuse to announce events that violate the governor’s order but use their liberty to bash fellow citizens who are trying to exercise their rights of free speech, freedom to assemble and freedom to pursue life and happiness. Can you not see the hypocrisy?

Before the last event, we submitted multiple announcements to media outlets including the Lewiston Tribune and were told by your city editor that “We are not running event notices for events that violate the stay-home order and social distancing protocols. You may have noticed we discontinued our Happenings listings when the stay-home order was issued.”

If the “free” press won’t make a public announcement about events sponsored by local community members about issues regarding their fundamental rights, then is the free press really fulfilling its constitutional mandate? Will the press continue to choose to protect the government from the grievances of the people or to protect community from being aware of the concerns of their fellow citizens? Are we only permitted one approved narrative these days? In taking this position, the Lewiston Tribune is making itself more irrelevant by the day.

Consider the following: “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.” — Ida B. Wells

Covering an event after the fact has some value and may sell papers, but restricting the free flow of information beforehand does a great disservice to the community you say you serve.

Boots, a longtime Lewiston resident, was co-organizer of recent rallies protesting Gov. Little’s stay-at-home order.

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