Idaho House of Representatives Julianne Young
Sometimes you can win the argument and lose the war. This is the direction the enforcement of the ‘10 person rule’ at athletic events is headed. People may comply, but the picture of empty gymnasiums built for hundreds or thousands is making a bitter and permanent impression on student athletes and fans alike.
I have received more phone calls about this one issue than any other since I was elected. Idahoans are passionate about their kids and their athletics. This ‘order’ that only 10 people may attend athletic events, regardless of the size of the venue strikes at the heart of things Idahoans care about deeply and, in the context of other things that are regularly allowed, these orders defy common sense. Kids sit in classrooms all day with their peers, parents go shopping, attend meetings, andfulfill employment obligations in closer proximity to other people than this!?
One constituent of mine is the parent of a high school senior who is the head of the cheer team. This girl works very hard at her sport, as she has for years. Her leadership and athletic development have been a big part of her ‘education’. She spends all day at school with other students and then, at game time, gathers with her cheer team in someone’s living room to cheer her team on in complete anonymity. How sad!
How DO we ‘win the war’?– We all win when government genuinely responds to the concerns, respects the rights, and serves the interests of the people. Trust is the name of the game that gives rise to stability, peace, and prosperity. The objective of preserving a free and stable America outweighs and outlives any public health objective. Our representative form of government with its separation of powers has encouraged this kind of trust through generations of good and bad times. We are uniquely blessed to have the most stable and longest standing form of government in the entire world!
But if government forgets who created it and why, we stand to lose more than most of us can imagine. While the state board of education does have ‘general supervision’ of school boards, this does not connote total top-down control. Local school boards are not appointed by the governor! They represent the local people who elected them, and local policies should reflect the concerns and interests of the local people. There is an important check and balance here that must be respected.
Writing top-down restrictive orders in ways that they cannot be equitably applied and then enforcing them with legal threats is a losing formula for all Idahoans. Disregard for the reasoned grievances of citizens destroys trust. Some may achieve their desired ‘compliance’ with such tactics, but at what cost?
As a state representative, I plead with those in a position to make a difference: Play the long game. The many parents and coaches who have reached out to me are good people who care about their kids and their community. This is no time for top-down power plays and manipulation. Respect and common sense are time tested rules of fair play. Compliance at the cost of respect is never a win.
Representative Julianne Young