It is plain to see our country is divided. No matter the outcome of the November 2016 election, there would be rebellion. I embrace the rebellion of the spacious democratic free thinker grounded in altruism and compassion.
The U.S. has become an unhealthy republic lacking democratic principles. Evidenced by Idaho’s and the nation’s legislative attacks on gender and race equity, immigration, religious freedom and climate change. What is anti-sanctuary city legislation if not race or religious exclusion? What is anti-science legislation around evolution or climate change if not legislative endorsement of narrow moral or religious agendas and short-sighted economic gain? What is local law enforcement policing immigration laws if not an exclusive police state? What is a wall if not race and religions supremacy? When men silence women truth tellers, Coretta Scott King and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, our democracy and tens of thousands of citizens are silenced, disregarded and disrespected.
“Respect” is earned, not purchased. Earned by having dignity, showing integrity, leading with humility, exhibiting reasonable judgment, demonstrating compassion, possessing empathy, being spacious regarding differences, demonstrating emotional maturity, and appearing intellectually woke. The Republican majority simply does not present these qualities. Respect is earned through moral beliefs and guiding values that are socially comprehensive and humanitarian.
The current political incendiary is grossly out of touch with U.S. ethos and global humanity. I do not respect these mutineers of the Constitution, the American public and global citizens.
In our republic “leader” is overused and misplaced; making the “the public a servant” rather than public servants serving the public. Public servants are not leaders, merely messengers; representatives of the public dispatched to carry out public will. Believing they are unilateral leaders gives them too much power. We must, now, take that power back.
Taking back the power of the people begins with educating ourselves and educating our representatives. Join the rebellion. Resist at every turn. Assertively remind our representatives of the fact of our republic and that their job is to represent us — not special interests or campaign financiers.
The alternative to a failing democracy is the exercise of democracy. Our democratic process needs reviving. Breathe life into it by holding representatives accountable. Direct passion, frustration, sadness, anger, fear into nonviolent resistance.
Our Legislature is in session and our congressional delegation will come home from time to time. Call them, send letters, camp at their offices, march, protest, shout and be silent when appropriate. Call city hall, county commissions, school boards, highway districts and all elected officials — tell them our will. Wallpaper their doors with messages describing exactly how you would like them to vote on issues and appointees. I taped a message, including Coretta Scott King’s 10-page 1986 letter, to Sen. Mike Crapo’s door asking for a no vote on Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general. They’re still not listening. A Crapo staffer said the office is averaging 600 calls a day. Increase that number tenfold, one-hundred-fold.
Resist all things, in all ways, that do not establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, and secure liberty for our country and all citizens.
J. Dallas Gudgell has been a scientist, educator, human rights advocate and community volunteer for more than 35 years in Idaho and the West.