I have made a few mistakes in my life. God willing, I will live a few years to make more. When we make a mistake, it means we did something wrong. Admitting the mistake, accepting our wrong behavior, choice, maybe even thought, allows for us to learn to not make that mistake again. There will be so many others we can learn from.

Isn’t this life wonderful?

Idaho was and is becoming again a bastion for wrongness. We are a place where people can live free in their wrongness. We have the space; we have the tolerance to accept our neighbors’ crazy ideas.

I am OK with that. I love space, I love tolerance.

Except when it crosses a line.

This week a prosecutor in North Idaho decided it wasn’t crossing a line to yell racial slurs and profanities in a threatening way at guests in our fair state.

I’m not saying he was wrong to make that decision. Our legislators write laws carefully, thoughtfully to draw these lines that we can go right up to and not cross. The prosecutor must read these laws carefully and act on them.

I am saying the behavior in that beloved North Idaho city was wrong. But with no criminal charges, I guess those folks are left to figuring out their wrongness on their own.

The Idaho Senate responded quickly to this story. Within a week of this hitting the national press a resolution was introduced that: “denounces acts of racism and commits to eradicating the conditions that allow racial animus and undue prejudice to persist in Idaho.”

One Idaho Senator voted “NO” on this resolution. Senator Phil Hart, who represents Coeur D Alene, voted against the resolution, both in his debate, and on the floor of the Idaho Senate. But only when he was forced to.

He tried to skate out of the vote by leaving the chambers before the roll call. The Senate Pro Tem, Chuck Winder did a “call of the Senate” which requires all Senator to return to their seats.

How you vote should be of note to your constituents. Phil came back and voted “no”. He’ll probably get reelected up there in that North Idaho district where it doesn’t cross a legal line to shout racial slurs and sexual threats to visitors of dark skin.

My Senator, Dan Foreman (Viola) voted for the resolution. I must give him that credit. You need to know; he did beat me in a remote election. Then he got beat, and then he won again. It’s fun to be in an Idaho legislative district where a Democrat has more than a snowball’s chance.

His debate on the floor argued against the Senate passing the resolution. He argued that the state, the Senate should not apologize. The perpetrator, the person who committed the act should.

Boy, can I agree with that. More people need to apologize. This world would be a lot better if there were more apologies and less growling.

Wag more, bark less.

Senator Herndon (Way North Idaho) did cast doubt on the veracity of the claims. “We don’t know if this really happened.”

Well, we now do.

We know it happened. We know there were multiple vehicles, and one perpetrator admitted to his behavior.

But, according to the laws of the state of Idaho, he didn’t cross a line.

So, in the realm of the laws that our legislators write, maybe it didn’t happen.

No line our legislature has seen fit to craft was crossed.

I respect this freedom they have given us.

But if my fellow citizens think such freedom is any sort of sanction for their wrong behavior, then our representatives need to be looking at the lines drawn, not toothless resolutions.

About ddxdx

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