Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leaning forward in a rainbow haze

Beebe Speaks Volumes

Earlier this week, Arkansas' Governor Mike Beebe candidly addressed supporters and allies of the Stonewall Democrats. Unfortunately this forum wasn't able to attend this event due to circumstances beyond our control. However, our friends at KUAR was in the house and posted the remarks on it's web page at  I listened to what Mr. Beebe said juxtaposed to other postings that have popped out on the Stonewall Facebook page and otherwise. In this world of sound bites, speaking points and political jargon, I felt that his remarks were direct, frank and honest from his vantage point both as an elected official and a private citizen. His was open about his evolution on ACT 1 and decided that after heated discussions including citing such a debate with Democratic stalwart Joyce Elliot, that he withdrew his support for the then measure which now has been struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court. "Hateful" was how he characterize remarks from legislator Rep. Donna Hutchinson who quipped about recent budget cuts to foster parents in lieu of what she stated as "wasteful programs that help gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals feel better about themselves." Of which Beebe pronounced that no such programs even exist or ever have for that matter. As a individual who has lobbied the Legislature, it continues to amaze me at the amount of ignorance and insufferable incompetence that some of these elected officials embody. If you haven't had the pleasure, I highly suggest that you become engaged with the process to do so.  I have to agree with Beebe when he made the point that we must learn to respectfully disagree, being professional and cognizant in our various social justice approaches as he said Rep. Kathy Webb had done as Budget Chair last term. Also, he talked about tolerance and in his opinion the lack of effectiveness of marches and protest to which I have to disagree because this country was founded utilizing such tactics and have been instrumental to make bold political statements. Remember the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, Mr. Beebe? How about the 1979 and 1993 Gay rights marches in the same city? Probably you were unaware of those latter marches but it seem that Mr. Beebe is not totally up to speed on much of anything gay, except his stance that he doesn't believe that civil unions nor marriage will occur during his administration and he believes it's not gonna happen in this neck of the woods. Although his appearance is commendable, the Gov. hasn't done much for Arkansas GLBTQ community either because no one asked or taken the position that since no one asked then I guess they don't need to get no signals from his office. For instance in 2008, he supported the creation of the HIV/AIDS Task Force and appointed folks but this entity is about as useless as they come. These are the folks who have put many innovative ideas on paper with basically not much else. Where's the Consumer Office within the Arkansas Department of Health? What about the mobile health van or that "one stop" clinic? How about restructuring of the surveillance of HIV/AIDS? What ever happen to that proposed 3 Million dollar budget to implement a structure to do any of the recommendations that this troupe has authored. As I sum up his chit chat with the lavender set, the good governor came, spoke truth to where he stands and basically promised nor offered not much except the knowledge that the LGBTQ community has a lot of work to do in this city and state.

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