Grousing over security costs is
Local grousing about picking up
the extra costs of security during presidential hopeful John Kerry’s
vacation in the valley was disgraceful.
An Idaho Mountain Express online
poll found that 64 percent of 160 respondents objected to extra expenses
for Blaine County and its cities to provide extra security for such
visits. A few letters to the editor bore similar disgruntled sentiments.
A handful of valley residents interviewed and quoted in the national
press also expressed unease about Kerry’s visit here.
The attitudes are more than a
little embarrassing. They’re spoiled, ungrateful, rude, and unpatriotic.
Whether it’s candidate John Kerry,
President George W. Bush, Vice-president Dick Cheney or another
high-level government official, all should be welcome.
Perhaps the air at this altitude
is really so thin it does affect thinking. Either that or some valley
inhabitants have been infected by a distressingly smug sense of
entitlement and ghastly selfishness, perhaps born of too much ease.
When all the accounting is done,
it will probably have cost local governments less to help protect Kerry
than a couple of American soldiers make in a year risking their lives in
Afghanistan or Iraq.
The cost to the valley is not
unbearable and is little enough to contribute in a world that has become
notably unfriendly to democracies in general, and one in which
terrorists have declared war on the United States specifically.
The great good fortune and
prosperity so evident in the Wood River Valley is no accident. It is the
result of a stable democratic government and federally funded
infrastructure upon which successful enterprises have been built. It is
the result of great work and sacrifice on the part of generations of
Americans who lived before us.
We hope the negative attitudes
expressed about Kerry’s visit were anomalies. The valley we know is not
one that would begrudge the relatively few dollars it may cost to
welcome a national or world leader. The valley we know gives leaders who
devote their lives to making democracy work, making America safe, and
fostering prosperity a warm welcome, not a cold shoulder.