Regarding Jim Price’s thoughtful letter on free speech, I would like to offer my perspective. The flag, anthem, or any symbol we associate with our country’s values can and should be used for protest if the reason is related to the symbol’s stated values. The decision to protest is not meant to protest a right or value. Quite the opposite. It is to protest the alleged withholding of these values by the majority or power structure. For example football players protest the anthem not because it represents the values embodied in the Constitution, but because they see the systemic neglect in honoring these values from one group. The last stanza of our anthem is, “O say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” If in their experience it isn’t being practiced, then the symbol becomes hollow. If these words are not practiced for all then their protest of honoring the value is appropriate. Regardless of one’s view on their protest, please try not to de-legitimize the act of protest by failing to understand what it represents.
Jim West, Meridian
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We retired to Boise from California in 2000 and never had any “hate Californians” experience … until now. Recently I entered an empty parking space at Home Depot in Eagle and as I walked to the store a man in a Fiat 500 that was parked several cars past my spot started honking and yelling that he was going to back into my parking space. I said I didn’t know that, apologized and continued to the store. Ten minutes later the man confronted me near the checkstand and seeing that my T-shirt had a map of California and “Sisquoc” in large letters, poked me in the chest several times and said “you should go back there, right there (poke) … go back. He walked away and a nice lady with several youngsters came over and apologized for the man and said “I’m glad you are here” with the true Idaho spirit. I hope I’m wrong but sorry to say that with the increasing number of Californians moving into the Treasure valley, this type of “road rage” is likely to happen more frequently. I’d advise Californians to register their cars as quickly as possible.
Paul Finnigan, Boise
Our representatives in congress have the constitutional authority to regulate trade with foreign nations. We should reject anything that erodes our authority that we exercise through them. NAFTA, which subjects us to the authority of the World Trade Organization should be terminated, not “re-negotiated. We must be careful not to subordinate our G-d given liberty guaranteed us in our Constitution under the notion that it facilitates nice-sounding things like “free trade.” Trade that is advantageous to our businesses and industries is best achieved through the authority vested in our congress that answers to us, and has United States’ best interests at heart unlike the World Trade Organization, under whose environmental, employment and other rules membership in NAFTA requires American businesses to comply.
Many hundreds of thousands of jobs as well as entire manufacturing operations have been exported to places such as Mexico, Malaysia and China as a result of our participation in NAFTA.
NAFTA is detrimental even to Americans who think it helps them achieve increased trade, because the overall effect is harmful to our National independence, and their ability to conduct business independent of foreign interference like that of the World Trade Organization.
Sheila Ford, Caldwell