Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Meeting of Minds

Twas a mix of perfect ingredients, including yummy carrot cake and mint brownies prepared by the Pack River General Store. 

Weather cooperated.  Mosquitoes provided a few minor irritants, but overall yesterday afternoon's gathering of committed minds in our front yard was truly inspiring.  The gathering served as a lovely example of democracy in action. 

I felt like the lucky one as a host of friends, new and old, came together, got acquainted or re-acquainted, enjoyed each other's company and then shared their views on some issues important to all:  support of public education, public lands and access to Medicaid in Idaho. 

The group included respected educators, foresters, an engineer/rancher, a member of the tech industry, a retailer, a former City Clerk/City Council member and even a Republican candidate for the Idaho State Legislature. 

Discussion was spirited, passionate, insightful and, above all, respectful among the group, many of whom have voted across the aisle throughout their adult lives. 

The purpose of the gathering:  to get the ball rolling on ensuring that all three issues are strenghthened through the election of legislators who will safeguard, support and enhance their future in Idaho.  

Yesterday's guests listened to Sandpoint High alum, author and Columbia University professor Luke Mayville. Luke and his friends have spearheaded a movement called Reclaim Idahohttp://reclaimidaho.org/ 

They are devoting their summer to introducing the concept which encourages citizens to vote in the 2018 primary and general election for Idaho legislative candidates---Democrat, Republican or Independent--- who share their concerns on the three issues.

In addition to leading the discussion, Luke also offered ways for people to get actively involved in the movement, which, he said is gaining traction around the state. 

Foremost among the suggestions:  expanding the involvement in Reclaim Idaho by encouraging gatherings exactly like yesterday's at the Lovestead.  

In addition, the organizers have invited Sandpoint native Pulitzer Prize Winning author Dr. Marilynne Robinson to speak about the importance and value of public education at the Panida Theater, Thursday, July 20. 

To bring attention to the Medicaid issue in Idaho, they will travel the state in their 1976 RV aka Medicaid Mobile, stopping in communities, and calling on local officials to support Medicaid funding in Idaho.  

During a discussion lasting nearly two hours longer than expected,  participants yesterday expressed a collective desire: feeling the need---for the first time in their lives---to get involved in the political process, at the local, state and national level.

Luke Mayville and his friends are to be congratulated for their vision, their passion, their personal sacrifices and especially their willingness to take on this commitment of leading the way for voters to contribute to the political process far beyond the ballot box---but definitely affecting what happens when voters step inside Idaho's polling booths in 2018.

I believe in their efforts, especially because of their innovative, knowledgeable and sensible approach.  It's a very refreshing and reasonable phenomenon, especially in the midst of this era so much political negativity.  

Thanks, Luke.  Thanks to all who came.  If Reclaim Idaho sounds interesting to any readers, please visit the website listed above to learn more.  If you like what you see, then sign up and welcome aboard.

Feel free to pass along the message of today's blog.  

Happy Tuesday.


Betsy Walker and Sally Moon met for the first time yesterday but found a commonality:  their daughters are classmates and good friends. 

Betsy and Chris Moon meet for the first time. 

A former city clerk, an engineer and a teacher:  that's my editor Helen Newton visiting with our neighbors, Jack and Colleen Filipowski. 

The two Moon sisters listening to discussion. 

Last week it was hauling manure from the Lovestead; this week it was joining in on a political gathering:  my two dear friends Ann and Rick Gehring. 

SHS grad Luke Mayville, author of John Adams:  Fear of American Oligarchy (available on amazon.com), Columbia University professor and founder of "Reclaim Idaho," explains the goals of the organization. 

Carol Holmes, a neighbor from down road,  came to participate. 

As Betsy speaks passionately about an issue, Mike Boeck, a recently announced Republican candidate for the Idaho Legislature, listens.  Mike is a longtime friend (we rode horses together in 4-H) and he has worked as a highly respected forester for Merritt Bros. Lumber Co. 

Luke gets acquainted with Jim Imholte, a close family friend and a member of the tech industry in Phoenix.  Jim, an Idaho property owner,  visits his hometown of Sandpoint as often as possible. 

Hubby Bill Love announced his general tendency to be apolitical, but he was happy to share a Huey Long story from his native Louisiana.

When I saw this flag across the street from Pack River General Store yesterday morning, I thought about the upcoming afternoon gathering and how it would involve a slice of Americana at its very best.

I hope we see more such events and that we reclaim the civility and respect for others that have made this nation so great.  With bright, young, articulate and committed visionaries like Luke Mayville, I think it can be done.  

1 comment:

Sarah Ragan Olson said...

This is so inspiring! Part of my work in Boise is to work with social justice organizations and non-profits like Close the Gap (medicaid expansion) and the ACLU. It is really wonderful to see the work being done in North Idaho!