Our representative system of government is dependent upon practices of civility. I have a deep appreciation for the rules which keep debate to a defined time and topic, restrict discussion to issues instead of personal attacks on people, and define how to respectfully address others, including those with whom you disagree.
This kind of respect is inherent in our founding documents. For example, the Declaration of Independence declares, “A decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they [the people] should declare the causes that impel them to the separation ...” The Declaration then goes on to lay out in a clear, logical fashion the factual grievances of the colonies. Civility and respect are foundational of our freedom ... American freedom.
The ability to communicate in a respectful, civil way is also a necessary requirement for effective public service. Incivility is not tolerated in the legislative process. Those who engage in name calling, label-lynching, expressing disdain for individuals, etc., will be gavelled down on the floor or in committee and will not even be allowed to continue or participate in the debate. My ability to build respectful relationships has been fundamental to my success and effectiveness as a legislator.
Does this mean that we should never disagree? Absolutely not! The opportunity to disagree over political principles and actions is, in many ways, the very essence of freedom. Those who love freedom will defend the right of all people to respectfully disagree, AND when those who value freedom disagree, their arguments will center on policies and principles -- NOT ridicule, character assassination, and narratives that are incomplete and/or taken out of context. After all, this is IDAHO, not DC!
When I have expressed concerns about policies or made claims, I have consistently brought forward original source documentation of evidence and explained the reasons I disagreed. Voters may have noticed that my campaign has even provided footnotes on campaign mailers.
In contrast, my opponent’s mailer and articles are one long train-wreck of accusations without evidence, which he cannot substantiate because they are significantly exaggerated or simply not true. They are, in fact, lies and gossip. For example:
● Parrish Miller is NOT a campaign advisor. He is an independent graphic designer, a vendor who has been paid to design advertisements or mailers per instructions. I can’t speak to the supposed quotes from Mr. Miller. His political opinions are his own and do not, in any way, represent my campaign.
● Claims about campaign donations are false. While some individuals who also support the Idaho Freedom Foundation have donated to my campaign (as have many other people), these are nowhere near tens of thousands of dollars! In addition, this statement gives the impression that my campaign is not locally supported while, in reality, my campaign received donations from more "in-county" donors than almost any other state legislative campaign in Idaho!
● In regard to the Right to Repair Bill (H452), my opponent completely ignores my 100% vote score from Farm Bureau as well as the substantial reasons for my opposition to this bill (which merits an entirely different editorial) which I shared in my Facebook post (posted 18 May 2020, www.facebook.com/YoungForIdahoHouse). Instead of addressing the substantive issues, he nitpicks over my comments about the numbers on a vote, demanding that I retract my entire post!
His accusation regarding my post makes one thing clear: he either doesn’t understand the committee process or is attempting to mislead voters. The vote my opponent continues to reference, where Republicans were split, is not the vote I referred to! I referred, in my post, to the final vote on the bill. This vote, cast by a committee dominated by Republicans, clearly showed a lack of conservative support for the bill by sending the bill to General Orders, meaning that it was too flawed to be sent to the floor and voted on.
Of course, this is not the first time I have seen my opponent’s claims and demands. He has posted his accusations on social media and sent me belligerent letters, including a certified one this last week, demanding that I remove my Facebook post. If he had asked for an explanation or respectfully expressed disagreement, I would have been happy to correspond with him, but when someone sends me letters accusing me of lying and demanding that I withdraw statements from the public forum for which I have no reason to apologize, I file those demands in the trash.
It is a pitiful elementary-school strategy to attempt to bully and intimidate others using labels and accusations. Sadly, it seems that the victim mentality which is increasingly prominent in today's political left cannot tolerate even respectful disagreement. Just the act of expressing a divergent viewpoint, in too many instances, is offensive; and demanding that others be silent because one disagrees with their perspective is an anti-freedom tactic which I will not cater to.
I am sorry that my Democrat opponent has so readily adopted these anti-freedom smear tactics of labeling, shaming, making false claims about, and seeking to silence others. But I am an American who will continue to speak out and stand up for what she believes to be true. If enduring a little label lynching is the price of exercising my first amendment rights in defense of the things that matter most, I will gladly pay it. However, I would encourage voters to take note: those who will use these kinds of tactics to silence their opposition during the election process should NEVER be entrusted with the sacred responsibility of protecting the rights of others.