Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Questioning the Editorial 'We'

Editorial boards in large cities and metropolitan areas are often known for liberal positions that are not exactly in tune with the populace. Of course, in the largest cities like New York, liberal editorial positions taken by the likes of the New York Times are standard fare. These liberal and often progressive positions reflect the direction the general public discussion is going in and often reflect cultural, political and social changes on the horizon.

Though standard fare in New York City, we do not expect progressive editorials from Idaho's smaller newspapers.

In the past few weeks, two positions taken by the editorial boards of the Idaho State Journal, located in Pocatello, and the Twin Falls Times-News, have offered progressive view points that may not be shared by a majority of people in southern Idaho. The general tone of these editorials has suggested a progressive, open viewpoint that unfortunately, I'm afraid only a minority of southern Idahoans actually share.

This morning, the Twin Falls Times-News wonders in print if "Idaho is finally putting gay-bashing demons to rest?" The editorial is in many ways a follow-up to an editorial published back in February that chastised the legislature for ignoring the gay and lesbian community's concerns about human rights and protections in the work place. The editorial mentions the recent gay pride parade organized in Twin Falls and notes that it was only two summers ago that a local LGBT organization had been rejected when it applied for a spot in the annual Western Days parade.

The editorial points out that Idaho has come a long way, due in part to the realization on the parts of many that there are those around them, people they love and respect, who are gay. From the editorial:
Fact is, tens of thousands of Idahoans - mostly conservative, Republican Christians- have a son, daughter, sister, brother, parent, cousin, uncle, aunt, grandparent or friend who is gay. These Idahoans know first hand that their homosexual loved ones are decent, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who don't seek to impose their lifestyles on anyone.
Surely what was said in the Times-News this morning was not well-received by Zeb Bell and his listeners, a group of people who were livid that the "liberal rag" would chastise the legislature back in February. In fact, what Zeb and his cronies said in response to the position of the editorial board would serve as proof that gay-bashing is alive and strong in Idaho, even in the legislature. I am sure the hate filled talk radio pundits in the Magic Valley are going crazy today. As much as I would like to believe that the fairly progressive editorial in the Times-News voiced the actual position of the local populace, it just isn't so.

Here a little closer to home, the Idaho State Journal responded some weeks ago to the events that took place at the swimming complex in Lava Hot Springs that resulted in the denial of a family swim pass to a family headed by a same-sex couple. Though the letters to the editor have suggested a disdain for the LGBT community, the editorial board has taken the position that families come in all shapes and sizes. The editorial board has asked if the "law of common sense has been repealed" and has attempted to portray the Lava Chamber of Commerce in a much better light than the state and national news have. For everything said by the editorial board that is based in common sense and even progressive values, locals have constantly overturned the editorial board's positions with an immense amount of bigotry and hatred.

It is refreshing to read editorials that respect the need for advancing human rights and simple understanding of anything perceived as different. However, I wonder who exactly the editorials represent when they are met with such bigotry, racism, and hatred within the community.


Anonymous said...

The wonderful editorials represent those of us who do NOT subscribe to bigotry, racism, and hatred within the community. Good on them to take an unpopular stand!

Anonymous said...

And my sincere hope is that it will inevitably be a non-issue, because those forms of bigotry, racism and hate will no longer exist.

I can dream, can't I?