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Huckleberries: Idaho man’s Confederate flag complaint falls on angry ears

The last thing Jon Ruggles of Wallace had on his mind was controversy when he visited the Shoshone County transfer station on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But controversy found him in the form of two Confederate flag symbols on a county employee’s pickup, parked in a prominent spot. Jon complained to the solid waste director, who kicked the complaint to the county prosecutor. Nothing has happened so far. In an op-ed column for Huckleberries Online, Jon said: “Even those with the most closed social awareness must realize that this emblem is a comment in support of: enslavement, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, cruelty and most recently used in the death of people of color.” Jon simply wanted the owner of the offending vehicle to cover the Confederate flags or park his pickup in a less conspicuous spot at the transfer station. Jon’s Silver Valley neighbors reacted. Against him. Seems the owner of the offending pickup is a fan of the old “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show and drives a replica of the show’s “General Lee” Dodge Charger in local parades. Jon has been pilloried in letters to the Shoshone News Press – and his wife ridiculed at the checkout stand of a local store. And you thought the Old South had fallen, never to rise again? Pshaw. It simply moved to North Idaho.

Protect ‘ugly speech’

The Shoshone County employee with the Confederate flags has support from an unlikely source – none other than Thom George, a former Kootenai County Democratic Party chairman. With thumb and forefinger pinched tightly over his nose, George told Huckleberries “free speech sometimes means ugly speech.” If Shoshone County took action against its employee, George said, he might face repercussions the next time he parks his “Subaru with a Barack Obama bumper sticker, or a NARAL pro-choice sticker,” and someone complains. Actually, it might be more acceptable in North Idaho to fly the rebel flag in a local parade (Google: Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard) than to drive a vehicle with an Obama sticker pasted to your bumper.


Poet’s Corner: In his rhyme, “Spokane After Legal Cannabis,” The Bard of Sherman Avenue writes: “Some folks are happy, and others are sad;/some folks are brilliant, and some are half mad;/some live in grace, and others in sin –/much the same way it always has been” … The Bard also offers a “Memo to Seahawks fans” preparing to watch today’s Super Bowl 50: “A little reminder/we hope will be heeded:/your 12th Man regalia/for this game’s not needed” … Who cares whether or not Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow last Tuesday? Taryn Thompson of Rathdrum knew spring was on the way when she spied a shirtless guy in her town’s Wells Fargo parking lot … Poll: Sixty-four percent of my Huckleberries blog readers oppose the Washington Human Rights Commission regulation that bases public restroom and locker room use on sexual identity rather than biology (genitalia). Only 27.5 percent agreed with it. The rest were undecided … Last week, a Post Falls Library patron was told to leave after he was caught viewing porn on a computer. He argued. He was trespassed. Responding to a Huckleberries blog post about the incident, a wag asked: “Which presidential debate was he watching?”

Parting shot

While driving toward Bonners Ferry on U.S. 95, former Mayor Darrell Kerby of Bonners Ferry saw a sign identifying a wild-game crossing (Idaho Fish and Game McArthur Lake Wildlife Management Area, near Naples). Seven miles farther north, Darrell encountered another sign, this one advertising a wild-game meat processor. And a few miles farther north? An auto body repair shop. Sounds like a redneck version of one-stop shopping.