There was a time when I considered myself a good friend of Butch Otter’s. Our paths haven’t crossed recently, and I hope that will change soon. We shared a common friend who was close to both of us and who recently passed away. If Butch Otter was your friend, you were lucky. He is loyal—almost to a fault if that is possible. Both he and Lori are gracious hosts, considerate, kind and thoughtful. Almost everyone on the Take Back Idaho (TBI) initiative have been friends of mine and the same could probably be said about all of them. I am lucky to call many of them lifetime friends. We have served on school boards, coached basketball teams together, and shared our family members special events. On several issues—prudential and providential, I just have a different opinion than they do.
I say all this because so many of my friends in the group mentioned above are taking a position that is nothing more than “virtue signaling”. They are applying a moral predicate to the standard of temporal civility that is different for their conservative opponents than they would apply for themselves. Case in point:
Not even one of the (TBI) group or the Reclaim Idaho Organization has renounced the public statements of former Attorney General Jim Jones when he attacked in public and in the Idaho press Dr. Ryan Cole. The opinions of Dr. Cole regarding Covid mitigation were certainly worthy of respect and consideration. An Air Force Academy graduate, a graduate of Georgetown medical school, a residency completed at the Mayo Clinic with a special certification in virology are certainly credentials and a resume worthy of respect and consideration. Dr. Cole’s recommendations regarding Covid mitigation and treatment have proven to be at least 90% correct. Such worthy academicians as Marty Makary from John’s Hopkins, Dr’s Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Scott Atlas from Stanford, and the thousands of physicians, academicians, and basic scientists that signed the Greater Barrington Declaration agreed with Dr. Cole. The Governor’s advisory panel and including Dr. Pate and his co-author Dr.Epperly and Mr. Jones had different opinions. They are entitled to those opinions just as physicians and scientists who sided with people like Dr. Cole and me are entitled to our positions. One side was proven to be overwhelmingly right in the final analysis—our side. We never have nor did it ever cross any of our minds to ask for government agencies to take action against the licenses of a professional because they had a different scientific opinion. The other side did and until they apologize publicly, I can’t believe for a moment that they who were talking down to their opponents today are serious about being “Civil”.
The civility required in business, in legal transactions at all levels of litigation, in our everyday lives with friends and family requires prudence but most of all the virtue of “self-control”. Reason, calculation, empiricism and logic are required for successful interactions in those fields. Emotion and intuition play a far bigger role in retail politics which should never be confused with the process of civil governance. When the two are mixed up bad things do happen.
In watching the presentations at the Capital, the other day, I saw a facade of faux virtue signaling anger coming from the podium as almost every “former” spoke. Each one at one time or another—and anybody that has followed Idaho Politics for 30 years or so can remember, has made statements they aren’t proud of and have been anything but civil on rare occasions. One of them even wanted to publicly “slap” their opponents. I knew that person and cringed when she said it. She apologized. End of story. Mistakes happen and will happen again. She is not a bad person.
The other issue about the presentation at the capital is this—”Please look at the logs in your own eyes first”. Who are you to judge what is civil or uncivil? I personally have had people say things about me professionally and personally who didn’t have the courage to say them to my face. I would rather such words be expressed to me publicly so any calumnies could also be addressed immediately. If all the passion and vitality that are part of politics is reserved for the caucus or party backrooms, our legislature will be a politburo.
For (TBI) or Reclaim Idaho, or the “Rankers” to be taken seriously investigate your own hearts and address the rancor that was so much on display at the Capital on Wednesday and during the Covid debates. I have been in your homes and gone to church with you. I know you as you have come to know me. Stop lecturing your opponents. It is unseemly and sets a bad example. There is plenty of blame and anger on both sides to go around. The pendulum in Idaho Republican politics has swung to the right. Prudence and self-control on both sides should be the goal, but it is never going to be realized. I for one am looking forward to some renewed “spit and vinegar” in our public debate along with some linguistic exuberance.
At the founding of our Republic and in an article from a month ago I pointed out how Benjamin Franklin could through self-control and by exercising prudence, excoriate his opponents when for example, he described John Adams:
“I am persuaded however that he (John Adams), means well for his country, is always an honest man, is often a wise one, but sometimes and in somethings absolutely out of his senses”.
The same can be said for (TBI) and the “Rancors”. Not so much for Reclaim Idaho—with all due respect!—How is that for civility and self-control.
“Piss and vinegar and linguistic exuberance—case in point.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN—it should all be fun.
PS It is still my heart felt opinion, and considering the evidence, that Mr. Jones should apologize to Dr. Cole, who was after all proven, in my heart felt professional opinion, to have been right.
Let’s see if TBI stands up for Dr. Cole.