Dear Donald Trump:
On April 5th, 2016 Mississippi’s Governor Phil Bryant signed into law the “PROTECTING FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE FROM GOVERNMENT DISCRIMINATION ACT,” more commonly referred to as HB1523.
With elation, conservatives around the state celebrated their ability to deny services to the LGBT community. On that same day ― while the rest of the state digested the ramifications of HB1523 ― the state’s Senate was busy passing Senate Bill 2858, a bill that would come to be known as the, “largest tax cut in Mississippi’s history.”
For weeks, the state was caught up in the internal debate over the ramifications of legally protecting the right of individuals to discriminate against a human being because of their sexuality, while the media was focused on similar legislation in Indiana and North Carolina dismissing Mississippi as if it was understood that we were so backwards this legislation was inevitable. While debate over HB1523 raged on, SB 2858 found its way through Mississippi’s House of Representatives and onto Gov. Bryant’s desk without much debate or media coverage. Until May 13, 2016, when Bryant signed it into law, many of us were completely unaware that our state ― already the poorest in the Union ― was being required to financially justify $413 million in tax cuts for the wealthiest in the state.
It then became painfully obvious to those of us in the LGBT community how connected the signing ceremony for HB1523 was to the signing ceremony for SB2858. We’d let it happen again! Once more the LGBT community’s basic human rights had been reduced down to a political distraction so that our Governor could continue on, what can only be assumed, is his quest to become the first Mississippi Governor to force the state into bankruptcy.
Flash forward a year later, and you seem to be playing a very similar game. On the same day you sign your new Executive Order on religious freedom, you celebrated the House’s repeal and replacement of Obamacare ― a repeal that is really just a massive tax cut for the rich!
Your party compulsively demonizes minorities every time there is an urgent need to keep your base ― who is otherwise negatively affected by every economic policy in your platform ― distracted, and the LGBT community has been your legislative whipping boy for far too long! My life, and the lives of every other LGBT person in the US, will no longer be the moral pawn on your policy chessboard.
In MS, as a result of that tax cuts a year ago, our economy is nearly bankrupt! Teachers, and much needed healthcare workers, are being handed pink slips with not just their jobs in question, but their earned pensions. All of this a result of constituents being too focused on the Governor’s highly hypocritical moral crusade to notice the legislative swindling of every essential program the US’s poorest, and least educated, state needs.
If I lived by your party’s philosophy of “screw everyone else,” more commonly referred to as Individualism, then I could just be angry that legislation was passed against me. However I don’t, so every news article I read about another austerity measure placed on our state’s budget simultaneously makes me irate and nauseated because I know my community was used as a distraction in the shell game that brought about this financial ruin.
You and Paul Ryan were so far away from the 216 votes you needed to repeal Obamacare the first time, that it would shock me if the timing of the Executive Order and the re-vote on repeal was coincidental. It is more than probable ― especially when you look at the history of your party ― that this was a conciliation for a vote on a health care law that has a 17 percent national approval rating. At least this way Congressmen could go back to their districts and tell their constituents that although they voted to take away 800 billion from Medicaid, voters shouldn’t worry because at least now they can deny services based on their religious beliefs.
Please attempt to understand that just because it is impossible to convince the poorest in your base that failed economic concepts which overwhelming benefit the top 2 percent are good for them, doesn’t mean you get to throw a minority community under the bus through manipulating the legislative process! Maybe it worked for 40 years, but those times are quickly coming to an end.
Essentially, the legislative whipping boy has freed himself and stands resolute against being weighed down by the burden of distraction. We have been made to intimately understand the consequences of our silence, and refuse to ever return to a submissive posture again. I highly suggest you figure out a better way to sell your nonintellectual/illogical economic policies because my community is no longer available for distraction!