OPINION: On Marjorie Taylor Greene’s visit to our town
| February 8, 2023 1:00 AM
On Saturday, Marjorie Taylor Greene will be in Coeur d’Alene at the invitation of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee to deliver the keynote address at their annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
Marjorie Taylor Greene has called for violence against Democrats and against our government. She has made anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic remarks, and she has made remarks that are just plain crazy (Jewish space lasers sparked a wildfire in California?).
To honor someone the day before Abraham Lincoln’s birthday who expresses such un-American views may be attention grabbing, but it is worse than ironic. It is inappropriate and downright unpatriotic.
None of this escaped the Democrats’ attention. Our reactions varied.
Some folks called for the KCRCC to rescind her invitation. After all, a recent poll found that Marjorie Taylor Greene is unpopular even among Republicans. But the KCRCC declined to disinvite her.
Some suggested we hang protest signs from freeway overpasses condemning Marjorie Taylor Greene.
A few folks wanted us to ignore Marjorie Taylor Greene altogether, arguing that any added attention would be unhelpful.
Others called for demonstrations with signs along Northwest Boulevard and outside the Resort during the event. We vigorously encourage the use of our First Amendment rights, but protests that day will not be officially organized by the Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee.
Other folks contacted The Coeur d’Alene Resort to ask why they would host someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene. When The Resort did not respond, some even suggested reserving so many rooms that the actual attendees would be unable to stay there.
This prank seemed no more promising than the KCRCC’s premeditated but failed plot to take over the Democratic Central Committee last year. In contrast, we wanted an action that would be both ethical and impactful.
In the end, the majority of local Democrats felt that Marjorie Taylor Greene’s visit to Coeur d’Alene called for a response that would make clear that her hateful views are inconsistent with Kootenai County values, and are a danger to democracy both nationally and here in Kootenai County.
We respect Marjorie Taylor Greene’s right to speak, even about controversial ideas.
But her hatred and bigotry cannot be accepted in silence. We have seen inflammatory speech in the past from Richard Butler and his Aryan Nations followers. Lately, thanks to the KC GOP, we see it from David Reilly, Dinesh D’Souza and Vincent James Foxx.
Kootenai County Democrats do not want our fellow citizens to become accustomed to this sort of “angertainment.”
Therefore, we elected to host a symposium titled “Hijacking Democracy," an event in which widely respected Constitutional scholars and public servants will calmly and clearly describe the threat Marjorie Taylor Greene and her followers pose to democracy nationally and to local institutions like North Idaho College.
The Hijacking Democracy Symposium will feature two panel discussions moderated by the eminent Constitutional Law Professor Dr. David Adler. Among the bipartisan panelists will be City Council Members Dan Gookin and Christie Wood, State Rep. Ilana Rubel, and Reclaim Idaho Director Luke Mayville.
Hijacking Democracy will take place at 11 a.m. Feb. 25 at Templin’s Red Lion Resort in Post Falls. Admission is $40 and includes lunch, ($15 for students with ID). Details can be found at www.kootenaidemocrats.org.
More than 20 years ago, Richard Butler, through his words, incited Aryan Nations followers to use guns and bombs to terrorize Coeur d’Alene. We came together then and said “NO!”
On Saturday, Marjorie Taylor Greene will be here. We can expect her to take up where Richard Butler left off.
Like Butler, Marjorie Taylor Greene may encourage violence and vitriol. But unlike Butler, Marjorie Taylor Greene is an elected official who has support from the KCRCC.
Ultimately, the city of Coeur d’Alene received the prestigious Raul Wallenberg Civic Courage Award for vigorously resisting Butler and his neo-Nazis.
Let us show Marjorie Taylor Greene and the world that Coeur d’Alene still rejects bigotry and that, together, we can form a more perfect union.
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Evan Koch is chairman of the Kootenai County Democrats.