Capitol & State

Down with protests? Boise council member calls for unity, gets an earful

Boise Council member TJ Thomson’s Facebook post calling for “no more protests” over Donald Trump’s election has stirred up passions.
Boise Council member TJ Thomson’s Facebook post calling for “no more protests” over Donald Trump’s election has stirred up passions.

It seemed a reasonable idea: Amid the post-election rancor erupting in spots across the nation over the election of Donald Trump as president, why not a measured call for unity and restraint?

So TJ Thomson, a Boise City Council member, turned to Facebook Sunday night and wrote a short, to-the-point post: “No more protests. Let’s come together.”

Almost a day later and the comments are still coming.

“Not coming together with Trump unless he earns it,” wrote one commenter.

“Easy to say when you are not a member of any of the groups he and his followers target,” wrote another.

And these:

“Amen.”

“Get real.”

“Let’s give Trump a chance and at the same time be watchful and call him out if and/or when he stomps on our liberties.”

“We are coming together, in protest.”

“Way to go TJ Thomson! You started a riot!”

And toward the end Monday:

“I just really wish you hadn’t posted this TJ. It’s getting ugly.”

By Monday afternoon, Thomson’s post had drawn hundreds of reactions and responses. While more than 300 people liked or loved his comment, those with more to say seemed to weigh in mostly on the critical side.

Thomson, a Democrat who lost his bid for Ada County Commissioner to Republican Rick Visser last week, was a little surprised, but not offended.

“I’m just expressing my desire to see us come together as a country,” he said Monday. “We all have differing views on candidates. Look, I was on that same ballot. I certainly empathize with the difficulties of losing a race, but at the same time I want to see any president be successful.”

Since Election Day, anti-Trump protests — some peaceful, some not — have occurred in more than a dozen cities across the country including Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle, among others. Portland has seen the most most violent activity so far, with a shooting and more than 70 arrests Saturday. Boise saw peaceful protests last week and a “unity rally” on the state Capitol steps on Saturday.

Thomson said he didn’t mean to “downplay the right to protest by any means.”

“It was moreso meant to serve as unifying post and to say let’s come together regardless of party and set aside our differences and give this new individual an opportunity to govern,” he said, adding: “There may be a time that comes when protesting certainly is necessary.”

“I know people are still trying to heal and a lot of this is venting in terms of the protest,” Thomson said. “But giving the opportunity to govern first…that’s what I would suggest, and I know not everyone would agree. That was evident.”

Bill Dentzer: 208-377-6438, @IDSBillD

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