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Home / Commentary / An open letter to Scott Yenor: We aren’t going anywhere 

An open letter to Scott Yenor: We aren’t going anywhere 

Dear Mr. Yenor, 

Words matter…

photo of melissa wintrow

Sen. Melissa Wintrow

Your recent divisive words mattered, but in a way you may not have expected — they actually united the very group of “medicated, meddlesome and quarrelsome” women you hoped to segregate and diminish. People across Idaho are raising their voices on social media to celebrate women for the very achievements you condemn, from being a first-generation college student to a medical doctor or civil engineer.  

These successes were championed, not criticized as you would’ve liked. You yearn to return to the dark ages, but it’s clear the clock will not be turned back. Thankfully, that dystopian worldview is fading, and thousands of people will ensure we keep moving forward; I’m one of them. 

Higher education changed my life and allowed me to look beyond my once-limited perspective. I’ve seen it do the same for so many students while working at different universities, including Boise State, where I was hired as the first full-time Women’s Center director and taught gender studies classes. And I know you have also seen the liberating effect of education, especially for women, which is why you’re so fearful. 

As women become the majority of college graduates, pursue fields previously dominated by men, like medicine or engineering, and fight for equal pay, the patriarchal ideals you hold dear are being challenged, resulting in a loss of power and control.  

This is why you’ve aligned yourself with radical conservative activists — like extremist special interest groups, the lieutenant governor’s task force, and choice GOP legislators — trying to dismantle public education and deny women and other marginalized groups opportunities to succeed. These attitudes materialized in a vote to block funding for child care and pre-K because it would enable women to “come out of the home,” a prime example of institutionalized sexism based on fear of what you perceive you will lose.  

There is no reason to fear an equitable society when there is so much to gain, allowing everyone to fulfill their God-given right to pursue happiness and live the life they have chosen. People who experience social advantages are being asked right now to recognize the benefits society affords them based solely on their race and sex. Although success isn’t guaranteed, these immutable traits — like being white and male — don’t work against them. Women and people from historically marginalized groups have not always been valued by society in that way, and they must work harder to gain access to those same rights and opportunities. This can be uncomfortable to reconcile, but this pales in comparison to discrimination. 

 Your words are insidious and dangerous, but there are enough educated, community-minded and caring Idahoans who see through your misaligned tactics. The next step is to elect them.  

In the meantime, Mr. Yenor, I invite you to take off your blinders and join us as we create a world in which everyone is free to pursue their dreams, care for themselves and their families and live a fulfilling life without fear of being locked into a one-size-fits-all role predetermined by whomever is in power.  

A world where transgender people can express their true selves without fear of harm and exclusion from sports or public spaces, where Black parents don’t have to experience the pain of teaching their kids how to respond to authorities or combat racism, where women can walk freely at night without using their keys as makeshift brass knuckles and where universities don’t lose funding for trying to create a safe and inclusive environment. 

Words matter. I hope you listen to mine and the many Idahoans condemning yours. 

— Sen. Melissa Wintrow represents District 19 and is serving her first term in the Idaho Senate after three terms in the House.   


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  1. Fed up in Boise, it is YOU thanks needs to broaden your thinking! YOU are part of the problem.

  2. Because he expressed an opinion that you disagree with, all of a sudden he is aligned with “radical conservatives activists”? Good grief, woman. How utterly UNHINGED that statement is!

    And how utterly scary that you are part of our state government. THAT scares me far more than anything Dr. Yenor has to say, especially when one reviews your senate voting record. For someone who only scores 38/100 on the Idaho Freedom Index, you certainly seem to think that you wield a big stick. You don’t. So… please, keep some perspective on your place in the universe.

    You may not like, nor agree, with what his (expressed) opinion is, but he has a right to that opinion, and to speak it. Just as you have the right to voice your opposition, as you are doing. BUT you would score more points in getting your point of view across without the rabid, unnecessary name-calling that you spout above. That kind of response is a typical knee-jerk reaction that is too common amongst the “woke” leftists. Where is the factual, honest, reasoned thought in your words? You don’t present any evidence to back up your accusation statement that he is aligning himself with fringe elements of Idaho society.

    And, as always, true to form, non of the media (including IBR) have bothered to speak to his effectiveness as a teacher, as someone who forces you to THINK, to EXAMINE, to CRITIQUE WITH HONESTY. That is the PURPOSE of a teacher. From that perspective, it would appear that he has been highly effective. Based on feedback from his past students, Dr. Yenor is a very tough and demanding, but fair, teacher who does not care one way or another about politics, political correctness, or one’s social opinions. He only demands that you present your point of view based on FACT, REASONED THOUGHT, RESEARCH, EVIDENCE, AND A COMPELLING ARGUMENT. That is EXACTLY what the employer marketplace would expect, so by all accounts, his teaching has prepared men and women for the workplace, and thus, for life. People like you.

    Once all the name-calling is done, and once you, Madam Senator, are finished pontificating from your little soap-box, Dr. Yenor won’t be going anywhere either. He will still be a darn good teacher, a family man with a wife and children, a member of society who contributes to the community around him, and THANKFULLY someone who does not buy into the lunacy of political correctness that has infected our institutions of learning. America is a big place… there is plenty of room for plenty of ideas and opinions. Freedom of thought, and expression, is the life-blood of our nation.

    Perhaps YOU need to broaden YOUR thinking, look at the entire picture of the man, and then speak an opinion. That would carry more weight, and be a better example to those who follow you or think like you.

  3. Darrell R Gustaveson

    Hear! Hear!