Letters to the Editor: Word Choices, Transgender Bill, Library Bill, Education Standards


Editorials and other opinion content offer viewpoints on issues important to our community and are independent of the work of our newsroom reporters.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

words matter

In response to KC Cowen’s letter: First Amendment laws ensure that you can certainly call politicians as many nasty names as you like. I’m particularly reluctant, however, when you casually say that Idaho lawmakers are “…becoming the Hitlers of the United States.”


Are you saying the Idaho Republican Party is secretly plotting to declare war on Montana and Wyoming? Do you think Governor Little is planning to order the burial and execution of 6 million Jews from across the Northwest?

Eighty years ago, millions of men and women of the Allied nations fought, bled and died to repel Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine party. I assert that Brad Little is a far cry from Adolph Hitler; the Idaho legislature is not equivalent to the Großdeutscher Reichstag. To make these comparisons is absurd.

Someone who calls someone “Hitler” understands better what he means. This is the type of political hyperbole that “… [steps] on the line.” Rhetoric of this caliber only serves to obscure the real issues and further divide our nation.

Words mean things. To casually throw around terms like “Hitler”, “Nazi”, “Fascist” or “Communist”, without understanding their meaning is absurd.

David Breithaupt, Boise

Transgender Bill

Trust in evidence makes medical care effective. Guidelines and standards of care are established when there is agreement on how to improve health. The Idaho Medical Association. The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Endocrine Society, and Pediatric Endocrine Society are the largest medical societies providing standards of care for people with hormone-related issues.

Doctors in Idaho treat children, including providing gender-affirming care to transgender minors. There has been a collaboration of providers in many areas of pediatrics, psychologists, hospital administrations, community members and others, enabling Idaho to provide exceptional care for transgender people based on universally accepted standards of care.

Decisions regarding the treatment of transgender youth are consistent with universally accepted standards of care. Families and providers must decide what medical care is in their best interest.

House Bill 675 will criminalize health care in accordance with evidence-based guidelines from leading medical societies and Idaho’s health care systems. Providers perform complex assessments using medical evidence. We are considering possibly reversible options for a teenager without affecting fertility. Medically proper care would make doctors and parents criminals.

There is a need to provide young people in Idaho with evidence-based care and to do our best as medical providers and health care systems, without providers and parents being charged with criminal charges.

Daniel Flynn, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Boise


I’m 16 and I go to Boise High. This is my climate story. A few years ago, a fire broke out less than a mile from my house. I was sleeping soundly in my room until my father burst in and told me we had to leave. Less than five minutes later I was in the car looking out the window to see the fiery red and orange hills.

The next day we returned to the house, which fortunately was not damaged. The air was gray and there was ash floating everywhere I looked. It was a spooky new version of my house.

This event worried me for the future of the place where I live. It seems like every summer brings more fire and more smoke.

One of my favorite things in life is nature. Climate change is undoubtedly affecting this. Although 74% of Idahoans believe climate change should be taught in schools, our state science standards are currently under attack. Concurrent House Resolution 27 threatens to render partisan science and undermine K-12 educators. I urge readers to call on their legislators to oppose HCR27 and HB437.

Tyson Russell, Boise

House Bill 666

Bill 666 is too vague. The materials lawmakers are focusing on deal almost exclusively with sexuality, but the bill doesn’t clearly define what “harmful material” entails. Where exactly do they draw the line on censoring materials “deemed harmful to minors”? As a librarian, would I be arrested if a child checked “Bambi” for recounting the violent death of a mother? Or for “Charlotte’s Web” because the slaughter of a pet is suggested? Or Dr. Seuss’ “Hop on Pop” because it encourages children to be violent towards their fathers? What about “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” for its magic, mysticism and violence? Would they consider these materials harmful? Parents can restrict what their own children read, but do we have the right to tell other parents what their children should read? Or someone else? Do we have the right to judge all materials by our own set of values ​​and block others from accessing books we don’t like? Isn’t freedom and the right to read protected by the Constitution? This bill tramples on our First Amendment rights. What happens afterwards? I’m afraid to ask.

Nancy Roberts, Meridian


The Idaho House of Representatives passed the appropriately numbered Bill 666, which imposes fines and/or jail time on Idaho librarians who borrow materials from a minor that could “harm them” .

Of course, our (legislators) do not define what this evil is, or what these materials are, but it is not about “paper cuttings”.

I think I first encountered “a harmful book” at age 13, when I avidly read Joesph Heller’s anti-war novel Catch 22. For the first time I was hurt by graphic depictions of Italian brothels and prostitutes and un-American activities such as war profiteering, army officers who lied, deceived and abused their men, those men dying slowly and horribly in battle and even – refusing to fight.

I’m a much better person to have been exposed to all of this at such a tender age, but then we have Idaho Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, proudly saying:

“I would rather my 6-year-old grandson start smoking cigarettes tomorrow than see this stuff once in the public library or somewhere else,”

I note that Catch-22 landed on the American Library Association’s list of banned and disputed classics.

Ray Brooks, Hagerman

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