The First Amendment certainly has been exercised lately in the Town Crier.

Those oh so few fiscal conservatives, true patriots, who strive for smaller government, less government spending and eliminating government involvement in every aspect of our lives, have made valuable and meaningful contributions to the argument in the recent weeks.

It hardly looks like the same America, with officials shutting down lemonade stands around the country because little girls lack the proper permit, or business license, or the calorie count printing on every cup.

The American entrepreneurial spirit that built this country, which was once so widely admired and that epitomizes freedom, has been tarnished. Once upon a time in America, people and communities had liberty to take care of themselves and decide their own fate, good or bad, without the fear of government intrusion. Those days, it is feared by many, are gone.

Conversely, over the past several weeks, those oh so many progressive liberals have made strong and clear arguments for their ideals too. Conor O’Farrell and like-minded thinkers have argued for, and even defended, higher taxes, bigger government and more government influence on every aspect of our lives.

From the banks to big business, from health care to farming, from the auto industry to the kinds of cars we drive, from how we educate our kids to how much methane we can release, from the light bulbs we use in our homes to the shopping bags we use in the stores … and now, how we recreate right here in Idyllwild is being intruded upon and influenced by government. Not to mention that each breathing person in this country now owes the federal government over $530,000 each.

Our own community Town Hall is now being threatened by government intrusion. This institution was built by members of this community, has significant historical and cultural value to this community, and has been ran and operated by members of this community for more than a quarter century. I know, because my grandpa helped build it, my mom went to dances in it and now my daughter dances there, too.

As a result, prices could increase and no truer truth will be told — if the county takes over the Town Hall or ICRC, it will never be the same. I will be there this Wednesday, Aug. 27, to fight for keeping our community in the hands of the folks who live and love here, to keep the fate of the Town Hall in the hands of people who care about it, rather than putting it into the hands of government officials that will ruin it forever.

My hope is that those progressive liberals, like O’Farrell and company, want to do the right thing and keep big government out of our local community recreation. To do that, liberals certainly have to admit their own hypocrisy and put aside their ideals now that the intrusion is in their own back yard, and the people this whole thing hurts are their neighbors.

Can we do here in sleepy little Idyllwild what they cannot do in sweltering Washington, D.C.? Can we link arms in solidarity and keep Idyllwild free from the kind of government influence that clearly does not work? I know that we can, but we must do it as a community.

See you Wednesday.

Oyen Hoffman