Thursday, March 30, 2023

EDITORIAL: Boycotts and belligerence get us nowhere

| March 5, 2023 1:00 AM

Dr. David Adler is right. Boycotting — putting economic pressure where your passions lie — is often an effective method to force change. History is full of examples, as Adler noted.

A presidential and constitutional scholar who has enlightened North Idaho lecture attendees for years, Adler suggested last weekend that taking the fight to three North Idaho College trustees via coalition-powered boycott might be the only way to save NIC.

On the flip side, supporters of those three trustees — Todd Banducci, Greg McKenzie and Mike Waggoner — are calling on their colleagues to harass and intimidate panelists who joined Adler in the well-attended Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee's Hijacking Democracy Symposium. The anti-Adlers expanded their target list to include Press Managing Editor Maureen Dolan.

So, where do both of these extreme positions — boycotting and harassing — get us?

Further apart.

Have we strayed so far from the healthy debate and hard-earned compromise which forged this great nation that now we resort to inflicting as much personal pain as possible to get our way?

Is it impossible to embrace some semblance of time-tested rules of civility, where powerful, passionately expressed perspectives are openly shared and merits of the arguments carefully considered?

Where it’s not the volume of the speaker but the weight of the words that win the day?

One of the region’s political leaders recently criticized audience members who interrupt and verbally assail the three NIC trustees during public meetings. We agree on that point — but also insist that civility must be a two-way street.

Where’s the outrage when audience members interrupt, scream at, boo and threaten members of the Coeur d’Alene School Board, the Coeur d’Alene City Council, local library boards and even the Republican majority of the Board of County Commissioners when they dared question if a more effective form of governance is warranted?

Where’s the condemnation when students who speak up during the public comment portion of NIC meetings are called “ft” and other names? How can that approach, particularly from people who describe themselves as Christian patriots, possibly move us toward a greater good?

Reject any suggestion of boycotting those with whom you disagree. Support the respectful if passionate exchange of opinions and ideas. Behave like your children and your grandchildren are watching and listening.

Because unless you’ve already alienated them, they are.

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