Pit Toilet

My wife and I just finished a 5000-mile trip across this country in our 1985 Volkswagen Adventurewagen. We saw a lot of farm country and small towns, since we avoided most interstates. We camped in a lot of nice little parks that most people fly over.

We always commented about the toilets.

It was a bit early for most parks to turn the water on. We had 2” of snow in Mobridge, South Dakota. It was freezing in Rosebud, Montana.

But the pit toilets were open for use. We had a shovel but didn’t have to resort to that.

The pit toilet at Far West, where Custer left the steamboat for the Little Big Horn was inspirational. It was very clean and had a poster on the wall. “Let gratitude wash over your experience.”

In Ohio, a sign above the toilet forbade trash disposal, as many do. “It is extremely difficult to remove.” The half dozen plastic bottles below told me something.

Pit toilet ethics are worth consideration.

Pit toilets have a specific construction that is best enabled when the door is closed and the seat on the throne is closed. Most toilets have such a sign inside. It seems only respectful to follow such advice. Most people do.

Pit toilets are the alternative to flush when water or septic doesn’t suit.

 I remember when my favorite road stop on the Salmon River switched out their flush toilets for pit ones a few years back.

Flushing is what we are used to. We all love it. But this site was just above a treasured river. Septic drains downhill. Pit toilets get pumped. I came to appreciate this choice.

How we treat each other is reflected in these ethics.

I remember reading about the Mormon Trail. These westward travelers left firewood for the next party and had their latrines downstream from their camp. It was in their ethics, their values. They got less typhoid. I appreciate such values.

It might seem a frivolous writer’s obscure segue to come around to the Idaho legislature about now, discussing pit toilets and septic systems. But permit me.

We elect these folks to do the duty of taking care of issues for all of us.

I am here arguing that the Idaho Legislature has left the seat up on a mess they have made. The smell is evident.

Idaho Republican legislators have acknowledged that their abortion statutes are a mess. Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Vander Woude said, “OK, now we have to take a really close look at the definitions.”

But they didn’t.

Vander Woude cancelled the public hearing of the joint Senate and House Health and Welfare committees to hear from medical providers about how their mess was affecting health care for Idaho citizens.

The Idaho legislature left the seat up as they walked out of our pit toilet. What does that say to you? I find myself disgusted by such behavior.

When you walk into the pit toilet and the lid is left up, you might find yourself muttering curses against the last guy before you.

But in this case, the last guy has an excuse. He was told to leave the lid up.

It turns out our Idaho State Attorney General directed his fellow Idaho Republican colleagues to walk away from solving this stinky problem. He wants to make a name for himself as he argues his case before the US Supreme Court.

This has indeed become very stinky.

It should not be so.

If folks, our Idaho Attorney General and our elected legislators would have just lowered the lid on their mess, this pit toilet we share might be less unpleasant.

But they chose not to. They left the lid up.

Think about the pit toilet of Idaho politics. And let gratitude help you vote.

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
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