Guest Opinion: To stop losing freedoms, raise your voice, cast your vote | Opinion

A constitutional right will likely be taken away from us.

We see our rights diminish at a time when extremists in the Republican-dominated Idaho government are attacking librarians, schoolteachers, and universities. This loss of rights comes as Idaho’s elected leaders flirt with militia members and white nationalists. This loss of rights comes as Republican extremist candidates refuse interviews with television and newspapers — choosing instead to blare at their base over far-right propaganda platforms and direct mail.

In this environment, for the first time in history, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to take away a right Americans have had for 50 years. The right that is being taken away, from individuals, is abortion. Now, a state government, such as Idaho’s, will decide for us.

This is a dangerous assault on our liberty.

Let me be unambiguous: the government should not dictate a person’s medical, family planning, and reproductive health decisions. No state should get that power.

Here in Idaho, extremists have made no secret of their goals and they’ve been wildly successful during the long reign of House Speaker Scott Bedke (lieutenant governor candidate).

These extremists’ scapegoat is our state’s most powerless to stoke public outrage. They invent scandals as a pretext to attack teachers. They slander good people to justify purges of libraries. They tell absurd lies about election fraud to pass laws making it harder for wage earners to vote.

We must stand up now. The other option is unthinkable. If we start being okay with losing rights today, we can be certain that the scam artists, the haters, the political opportunists, and the anarchists won’t stop tomorrow.

Here in Idaho, the extremist-Republican politicians who write the laws want the government to censor what we read, to punish us for who we love, to give rapists’ families more rights than rape victims, and to fine librarians for curating books!

Now is the critical moment. We can no longer overlook the faults of craven politicians because they cynically appeal to a narrow band of inflammatory issues. We need to be bigger than that. We must choose leaders who don’t just say the right things — they must do the right things.

Right now, the right thing is to tell the truth.

The right thing is to stand up to the bullies.

The right thing is to fight for our freedom.

I am the only candidate in this race who will do that.

Terri Pickens Manweiler is a fourth-generation Idahoan, born and raised in Pocatello. She graduated from the University of Southern California and University of Idaho Law School and became the founding partner in Pickens Law, P.A in 2008, where she is still practicing today. Terri, her husband, Mark, and her two children currently reside in Boise.

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