I want a new holiday: Domestic Tranquility Day. “Domestic” and “tranquility” are the 19th and 20th words in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. At a minimum, let’s hallow — even vaunt — a day where all citizens feel safe. The Boise Valley was a peaceful gathering place for traveling tribal nations. A 24-hour period of peaceful compassionate intolerance for xenophobia, homophobia, egocentricity, ethnocentricity, transphobia or any irrational fear of anyone we know little about or are different.
A day to celebrate unity, compassion, reason, beauty, gentleness, kindness, humanity, liberty, freedom, human rights, civil rights, humanitarianism, forgiveness and love is not an outrageous request.
The world is in troubled times. The air is crisp (not with fall) with tension, emotion, fear, electricity, insecurity, vulnerability, unknown rage — an explosive mixture wafting through the breeze, easily ignited. Whether it be Mizzou, Roseburg, Beirut, Adams County, Syria or Paris, the explosiveness of poverty, helplessness, fear and righteousness are fuel for rash, thoughtless, useless tragedy. All genocides, atrocities and rash tragedies are weighing on our collective psyche.
The Republican presidential nomination cat roundup that presents all the decorum of a drive-by shooting is one response to the tension, sadly providing comic relief to the world. Adams County saddens me. As reporting continues, I await evidence of some sanity to appear.
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I prefer principled ethical leadership as a response. Nikki Giovanni spoke at the Morrison Center several years ago, telling Boise it is ripe for the kind of change the world needs. Boise could rise as a leader among cities in promoting, demonstrating and implementing humanitarian change.
This state gave this country the first practicing Jewish governor. This state gave us the first Native American attorney general.
In 2012, Boise joined 160 other U.S. cities in extending nondiscrimination protections to Boiseans by adding the words “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to city regulations.
Boise is one of a few places in the world displaying the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in total. Idaho ranks No. 3 for most wilderness acreage.
Firsts and mosts are not my thing, yet give me the 11th Jewish governor or the 22nd Native American, or African-American or Japanese-American attorney general; I rejoice. When what should be the norm is common, I feel peace.
When the presence of human rights is evidenced by a compassionate community, I am home. If Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry can implement “There’s a better way,” where two days a week homeless people are asked whether they want to work, paid for work plus a free lunch, and at day’s end dropped off at a medical center to access health care if they choose, then we can be that compassionate.
When economic parity is evidenced by generosity, with the welfare of each citizen, I help. If Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe can completely eliminate veteran homelessness, Boise can take a day honoring generosity.
A few Boiseans are working to observe Oct. 12 in a less offensive, more positive and historically accurate manner. A smaller group seeks reparations by removing culturally offensive mascots and place names that thoughtlessly devalue and appropriate a contemporary community’s treasured way of life. Sweet gestures; I’ll take them, of course. However, I want more, much more. Boise is capable of much more.
Celebrate Boise, its citizens, its guiding values, our beliefs, its moral compass, our human integrity, grace and adherence to principles providing “domestic tranquility” to each and every citizen.
J. Dallas Gudgell has been a scientist, educator, human rights advocate and community volunteer for 35 years in Idaho and the West.