One of our news channels today aired this story about the cost of the Add the Words demonstrations at the Idaho Capitol this session.
And the dollars are real. Apparently it has cost the state $19,000 dollars to arrest over 100 unarmed and non-violent citizens who were standing at the capitol hoping their elected officials would finally listen to them after waiting EIGHT YEARS for the Republican leadership to bring the Add the Words bill to the floor for a fair hearing.
So great. We’re now out $20K in police costs (plus whatever other court costs).
Want to know how we could have saved that $20,000?
How about giving the Add the Words Bill a hearing?
We’ve been told, again and again, there is no time in a packed legislative agenda to Add the Words.
Apparently we had time to “Add the Guns” to campuses, even though ALL university leadership and law enforcement spoke against it, said it wasn’t needed, and would add additional costs to education and law enforcement in the state.
No time to Add the Words?
We had time to “Add the Gag” to people seeking fair treatment of animals in Idaho’s Dairy farms. Yes, it is now illegal to film people abusing animals at Idaho dairy farms. Less clear on whether or not it is illegal to actually abuse animals at Idaho dairy farms.
Both of these pieces of legislation, which the legislature had the time to pass, will cost the state money. A lot of money. In lost revenue, lost student enrollment, loss of professors who have already started circulating their CV, lost new business to the state. I guarantee you my children will not be educated at an Idaho university if that bill is signed by the Governor.
But let’s make sure the story is about the $19,000 in police costs and not about the cost of the House and Senate leadership and Governor’s refusal to listen to the voices of Idahoans.
And Governor Butch Otter has just asked for $1 million to be appropriated in order to defend the state’s constitutional ban on same gender marriage, even though it seems clear that this state’s ban will fall, as have so many before it, because it does not uphold the ideals of the US Constitution. So there’s that cost.
What are the true costs of these protests?
Hard to say. The people who have volunteered to be arrested have fines and court costs ahead of them. (You can support the effort to help pay some of those fines here.)
The bigger question is what are the true costs of refusing to Add the Words? By not protecting each and every Idahoan with the same rights under the law–what are the costs?
How many of our children have left the state, headed for a place where they won’t be denied housing because of their sexual orientation? What is the cost to Idaho as we lose our best and brightest to other states?
How many people never moved here at all because they knew they might not be safe and could be fired for their gender identity?
What is the cost to us when children take their own lives because they can’t take the bullying any more? Maddie Beard killed herself last month in Pocatello because of the bullying. Her family has paid a cost I can’t even imagine.
Tell them we’ve paid enough because of their silence. It is time to ADD THE WORDS.