Woke Awakens in Coeur d’Alene

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Keep Right – Column by Ralph K. Ginorio

Our local “non-partisan” but very progressive Mayor and City Council voted on July 2 to include “hate speech/thought crime” into local statutes. While disappointed, I am not surprised that these allegedly “non-partisan” local officials acted like progressive activists.

To their credit, both Councilman Dan Gookin and Councilman Wally McEvers asked several probing questions. These revealed that none of the recent incidents of alleged racist shouts from cars to pedestrians would have been stopped by this new category of municipal misdemeanor. In the end, though, both joined the rest in voting to approve this measure.

Councilman Gookin did so after making clear that he had been convinced that actions, and not thoughts, are to be policed. He asserted that only after criminal acts have been committed and identified will this statute be triggered. Only then will an investigation, after the fact, be conducted into so-called “hateful” motivation and intent. Only in conjunction with objective facts about criminal deeds does Gookin see this Hate Crime law being triggered. I hope that he is right about this.

My understanding of human nature and history compels me to wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. Gookin’s optimistic assessment. This little law can ultimately make possible the future enforcement of ideological purity. This has already been happening in Canada and Europe, where people have been jailed for merely expressing “hateful” views.

What constitutes “hate” to woke activists? What won’t they tolerate? When touting diversity, these Leftists celebrate diversity in everything except thought. So long as rainbows of differing bodies and sexual preferences are all progressive like them, all is well. To Wokists, dissent is “hate.”

Such laws never work. Human integrity has withstood the best efforts of Holy Inquisitors, Nazi Gauleiters, and Communist Commissars to suppress all ideas except their own. I am confident that it will stand up to today’s Woke Social Justice Warriors, as well.

The real purpose of hate crime laws is to empower the government to police the attitudes and opinions of citizens. By making the advocacy of unpopular ideas into a law enforcement matter, the coercive power of the state can be used to chill dissent and then silence it as being “hateful.”

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is in one of the most Conservative regions of one of the most Conservative states in the Union. Yet, we are governed by a cabal of well-connected and well-financed progressives. Why?

Because many local offices are put to the vote as “non-partisan” positions, where political party affiliation is not listed. This allows ideological Leftists to campaign for and win election because of their self-described personal qualities (for example, “I am a multi-generation Coeur d’Alene native”), rather than their ideas or intent.

If we Conservatives really want to translate our demographic advantages into political power, we must eliminate “non-partisan” elections. We must also ensure that political primaries are open only to members of each political party.

Each candidate for every elected office should have to declare their political philosophy by publicly affirming their party affiliation.

Each candidate should have to declare their attitude towards the use of raw government power. Do they see it as a means to improve society? Or, do they see it as a necessary evil?

Progressives, liberals, and Democrats are proverbial “Statheists,” who literally worship at the wellspring of the coercive power of the state. They are Legalists who enthusiastically employ laws to sculpt society more to their liking. Conservatives, Libertarians, and Republicans tend to believe that the government which governs best, governs least. We are suspicious of the intended and unintended consequences of using laws to force one’s political opponents to submit to ideological social engineering.

Elected officials are entrusted with very limited powers to enact policies within a specified scope. They are elected and swear Constitutional oaths to preserve liberty and perform the specific and limited duties of their office; not to fundamentally transform America into their utopia.

Supported by the representatives from well over a dozen different local organizations that proudly champion woke progressive causes and practice identity politics, Coeur d’Alene’s elected municipal officials have gone off mission. They have followed the examples of Seattle, California, Canada, and most of the European Union in criminalizing unpopular speech.

This Mayor and City Council have placed their desires to “make a difference” above their duty to uphold our liberty to speak without the fear of being punished by offended government officials. We shall remember who they are and what these office-holders did to us the next time that each seeks reelection.