BLANCHARD — Idaho Rep. Heather Scott is again at the center of controversy after a post she shared on her personal Facebook page last week.
Scott, R-Blanchard, re-posted an article by Dave Hodges from "The Common Sense Show," in which he discussed how the “mainstream media is the using the term ‘white nationalist’ interchangeably with the term ‘white supremacist.’”
Scott shared the following statement by Hodges with the link to the story: "The way the media has set this up, the mention of white nationalist, which is no more than a Caucasian who for the Constitution and making America great again, and confusing it with term, ‘white supremacist’ which is extreme racism.
“Therefore, if one is “guilty” of being white, one is clearly racist. And if one is white AND loves America, they are a white supremacist capable of carrying out violent acts against nonwhites."
In a response to the Daily Bee Tuesday, Scott said her intent of sharing the story and the quote was to promote conversation. She also outlined her ire at being labeled as having "defended white nationalists" in a story in the Spokesman-Review last week.
"I post many different items on my Facebook in an effort to educate and engage citizens of our district and our state,” Scott said in the statement to the Daily Bee. “We can no longer afford to be apathetic about where our country is heading with the continued attacks on our freedoms and God-given rights.”
Scott said she reposted the article “to promote conversation about language and the trend by many liberals to try to change the meaning of words hoping to change the reaction of people. The quote was from the article’s author and not me. It highlighted his views on how terms can be changed by the media or mean different things to different people.
"I found it ironic this is exactly what Betsy Russell and others in the media did concerning my post,” Scott wrote. “The real story headline should be ‘Boise media once again tries to get it wrong.’ … Many see (Russell’s) views leaning toward socialism. Her choice to print that Rep. Heather Scott defended white nationalism is a complete lie and shows her sad lack of any kind of professional journalism standards.
"Boise media continues to try to reopen old North Idaho wounds in an effort to keep most North Idaho citizens confused and agitated. Stirring up history of a racist group who have been run out of town clearly shows how out of touch they are. For a Boise reporter to try to paint North Idaho in this light once again shows continued disconnect between the northern and southern parts of the state. I believe that all Americans should agree with the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence which states, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…'"
In the Spokesman-Review article, Russell quoted two university professors who disagree with Hodges’ view of white nationalists, stating that the white nationalist movement "espouses prejudice against people of color and Jews."
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of white nationalism is similar: "One of a group of militant whites who espouse white supremacy and advocate enforced racial segregation." White supremacy is defined as "A person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races."
Nationalism, in and of itself, is defined as "Loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups."
Scott shared the post following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a rally to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee led to violence. One woman was killed and several people injured. Many Idaho lawmakers have spoken out, condemning the violence in Charlottesville, including Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch and Gov. Butch Otter.
"Yesterday’s tragedy in Virginia was the result of domestic terrorism,” Crapo said in a statement on Aug. 13. "I condemn and reject the racism and hate perpetuated by white supremacist groups. In the wake of this horrific tragedy, let us gather in solidarity with those who lost loved ones and draw closer the families the families whose lives have been forever shattered by Saturday’s events. As others and I noted during a recent gathering at the Anne Frank memorial, Idaho and our nation are too great for hate."
In a press release on Aug. 14, Risch issued the following statement: "The hateful acts of racism we witnessed in Charlottesville this weekend are reprehensible and I condemn them in the strongest terms. White supremacy — and every other form of prejudice — does not represent our American values. Vicki joins me in praying for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who were injured."
And on Aug. 15, Otter Tweeted: "Idaho joins Charlottesville and the world in condemning white-supremacist violence. We’ve experienced those problems in Idaho, but we dealt with them in the right way and we’re not going to tolerate it again. Hate groups just aren’t welcome here."
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.