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Idaho View: Looking for civility among the F-bombs at President Biden’s welcoming committee in Boise

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Biden in Boise

Protesters gather along Airport Way near the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise where President Joe Biden visited Monday.

Scott McIntosh

Scott McIntosh

President Biden’s welcoming committee between the Boise Airport and the National Interagency Fire Center certainly had parts of it that had a festive, carnival-like feel, complete with tents selling merchandise, happy, cheering people, horns honking.

But then I saw the flag, “F—- Biden and f—- you for voting for him.” And then I saw another one. And another. And another. There must have been 100 or more of these flags and signs with the same variations on the theme. God bless our photographers trying to shoot photos that we can run in the paper.

One person was walking up and down the street carrying a speaker blaring music whose lyrics were “F—- Biden.” Creative.

One truck nearest in front of the main group blared the chant, “Biden sucks, Biden sucks, Biden sucks,” over and over and over again, maybe 30 times. That same recording called Biden “a criminal and a murderer” who should be in jail and called public schools “government brainwashing camps.” Someone started a chant, “F—- Joe Biden,” which caught on.

As expected, there was a lot of sentiment that Biden didn’t win the election, that the vote was rigged and the usual hyperbole that Biden is a dictator.

Signs read “Trump won,” “Idaho’s 1776 moment,” “Say no to NWO,” referring to the “new world order,” and of course, the Confederate flag made an appearance.

Other than the election fraud fantasy or myth or lie or whatever and just general hatred for Biden and love of Trump, the two biggest issues were the vaccine mandate and Biden’s handling of Afghanistan.

Biden probably couldn’t have picked a worse time to come into Idaho, just a few days after announcing that he would be requiring employers of 100 employees or more to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine or have employees get tested, and just a couple of weeks after the United States clumsily withdrew its military from Afghanistan, part of which resulted in the death of 15 American troops.

Amid the F-bombs and anger, I went looking for the reasonable people with cogent arguments for their beef with Biden. I found a few.

Gina Duenas, of Meridian, whose husband was a Marine for 24 years, was there to protest Biden’s handling of Afghanistan.

“Fifteen of our American troops were killed there and we just handed over our military equipment to al-Qaida and ISIS,” she said.

Joseph and Stephanie Slawson, of Boise, were there to protest the vaccine mandate.

“We feel like the current president has overstepped his authority by continuing to make orders and mandates that he doesn’t have the power or authority to impose, instead of going to the legislature,” Joseph Slawson said.

Several politicians were among the crowd. Reps. Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston, and Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, were there, as was Ada County Commissioner Ryan Davidson. A string of Democratic state legislators drove through the crowd on their way to see the president, including Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking and Reps. Sue Chew, John Gannon and John McCrostie.

State Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, looked at me like I was crazy when I asked her why she was there.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” she said. In general, she was there protesting Biden’s “telling the states what to do. He clearly doesn’t believe in the Constitution or federalism. And then Afghanistan, that was way over the top, the way he did it. Unbelievable. He made America less safe.”

Cyndi Bratcher, of Garden City, was just excited that a president was visiting Boise.

When I asked her if she were a Biden supporter or a Trump supporter, she said, “I’m a president supporter.”

“To me, it doesn’t matter who the president is,” she said. “It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat. Everyone should respect the president.”

If it were Trump visiting, would she be just as excited? “Absolutely,” she said.

She, too, was put off by all the F-bombs at the anti-Biden rally.

“You can show your likes and your dislikes without being disrespectful,” she said.

Bratcher said she understands the anger over the vaccine mandate.

“I can see both sides,” she said.

She was among those who was hesitant about the vaccine, but then her son and grandchildren, who had just visited from California, all got sick with COVID-19. Everyone was unvaccinated. Bratcher and her husband, who is 66, escaped without catching it, but they went out and got the vaccine immediately.

“The president is trying to protect the country and keep people from dying,” she said of the vaccine mandate. “But on the other side, people don’t want to be told what to do. But we have to get a handle on the virus. We have to come together like we did after 9/11. Remember that? What happened to that?”

As I was interviewing her, a group of angry protesters came up to us and demanded: “Why don’t you interview the majority? Why aren’t you talking to the majority?”

I like to think Cyndi Bratcher is the majority.

Scott McIntosh is the opinion editor of the Idaho Statesman. You can email him at or call him at 208-377-6202. Follow him on Twitter @ScottMcIntosh12.


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