Not too Noisy in Boise

I spent a few days in Boise, Idaho, this week working on a video about the Ada County Domestic Violence Court.

The downtown was old-style and human-scale. The domed capitol building, surrounded by a lovely park, conveyed the sense that democracy was within reach of the people. And I found something comforting in the presence of coin operated newspaper dispensers, which I haven’t seen (or at least noticed) in ages in New York.

I’d expected to see Trump signs everywhere but I didn’t see any. Nor did I see any for Hillary. Perhaps it’s because there’s no question that Idaho is a red state so people don’t feel it’s necessary to promote their candidate; or maybe people don’t want to antagonize their neighbors. Then again, I only saw a small sliver of the community, mostly the downtown area, and I suppose people tend to muzzle partisanship in commercial districts so as not to offend customers.

There are diverse opinions everywhere, a fact I was reminded of when an attorney told me she was a fourth generation Idaho Democrat. Idaho Chief Justice Jim Jones also offered encouraging words in a short speech about the social and legal progress that’s been made regarding domestic violence. He noted that when he was a child, people never talked about violence that occurred within families, partly because it was thought to be shameful and partly because some still held notions that a father/husband could treat his wife and children like property. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case and society and the legal system are better prepared to offer help and support to victims while holding batterers accountable. One line from the speech that surprised me, and has therefore stuck in my memory, is that people also now realize “that they can’t beat the gay out of their kids,” he said. Amen to that.

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