Same job, different uniform.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Entering the Fray over Pansies

We rarely mention local government, largely because, since Congressman Chenoweth retired, Idaho politics are intolerably boring.

Until Boise elected a pansy for a mayor.

It is a shame that David Bieter is a pansy because he is a Roman Catholic of sorts and he is Basque. Boise's first Roman Catholic Basque mayor.

A summary of his crowing disgrace follows.

About two years ago a very bad man named Fred Phelps breezed into Idaho with a demand to erect an inflammatory anti-gay monument in a local park. Already standing, and undoubtedly largely ignored, a gift from the Eagles to the City of Boise in 1965: A monument engraved with the Ten Commandments. If you are unfamiliar with the text, it is loaded with absurdities like "You Shall Not Murder."

Our precious purple flower, who should have thrown back his head and howled, said that Boise needed to pre-empt a lawsuit from Mr. Phelps and remove the 40-year old Ten Commandments monument at once. At once!

From the Washington Post:

"Our frustration is, it's very difficult to tell what kind of display would be constitutional" in light of the Supreme Court's split decisions, Bieter said. He noted that a majority of the justices emphasized the context of the displays, upholding the Texas monument because it was one of 38 historical markers and monuments around the state Capitol.

The mayor, a lawyer, said Boise's display had been practically alone in the park. "A single monument where it was -- I think we'd have a tough time arguing that was in line with today's decision," he said.

By all accounts, the Boise monument went virtually unnoticed for decades until it came to the attention of the Rev. Fred Phelps, a Kansas minister who travels the country inveighing against homosexuality. Phelps argued that if Boise allowed one religious display on its property, it must allow him to erect a monument declaring that Matthew Shepard, a gay man murdered in a hate crime in Wyoming 1998, is "burning in hell."

Bieter said the City Council decided to move the monument so that it could reject Phelps's application without risking a costly lawsuit..."

From Bieter's press office: "...the city is neutral toward religion, as the U.S. Constitution requires." The press release goes on to list other cities (he wishes there were hundreds of them) that have removed Ten Commandments monuments from local parks.

Put another way, other cities are led by pansies and there is safety in numbers.

But this is old news, g-friday. Why now?

When there are blizzards in the Plains, her citizens hunch over computers and write. And today one of them linked to a mini biography of Mr. Phelps, a depraved, grasping fool, who in the final measure is more in need of my prayers for his soul than my useless rants against his character.

But when I read half of what is contained there, I experienced my outrage at Mayor Bieter all over again.

We expect better of Catholics and Basques and Elected Officials. Why, in the face of feeble, hateful rhetoric like Phelps', would we want a pansy at the helm?

What Boise needs is a steel magnolia.

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Blogger Lois E. Lane said...

YES! So true. People can hide behind terms like "constitutional," but when it comes down to it the real issue is weakness; this mayor let a hateful bully scare the city into removing a symbol that's been recognized by the government of our country for generations. Shame on him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blogger Hobster said...

I can't think of the last time Boise had something other than a pansy as its mayor (granted, I only lived in Boise for a year, but as its media has dominated my childhood, I feel pretty familiar with it). But I know what you mean. 'tho I can add that our otherwise unimpressive mayor did basically dare Phelps to try this thing here.

But I did want to ask a couple of questions--why is it more of a shame that Bieter is a pansy because of his ethnicity? If he was say, of Lithuanian descent, would it make it more acceptable?

And as for the Roman Catholic angle...sure you've got Santorum, Scalia, Keyes, etc. But on the whole, ever since JFK made it a point to show how little his religion affected his policy RC politicians have been a driving force in the effort to remove the true intent of the 1st amendment...RFK, Teddy K., John F. Kerry, Jed Bartlet.

Anywho, I'm rambling. I guess it's just to say that while I agree with your thesis: Beiter's a pansy--and this nonsense with the monument is a great example of said pansiness. Just don't see why it's a shame for the reasons cited.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blogger girlfriday said...

Ms. Lane: Spot on.

HC: It's true that we've had some unfortunate mayoral situations. I'd say Kempthorne was the last strong mayor especially considering what he did to turn downtown Boise around.

As for being Basque. I have so much Basque family I often forget that I'm not Basque myself. They're hearty folk; fiesty; generally not whiners. They came to this country (and this state in particular), adapted well, learned the language, but never lost their grasp on the Basque culture--something many have attempted but few have achieved. Because of my affection for them I have high expectations.

I expect a certain level of moral fortitude from Catholics, too. Bieter's actions pitted him against the evangelical Christian community, which is bad for everybody.

Plus, let's face it. He's a democrat and an attorney.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


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