Okay, so first there's this
: "The reductions to health and human services will strike at the state’s most vulnerable residents and will include reductions in mental health services for children and adults, community-based services for the disabled and elderly, child care assistance, and emergency assistance for families facing homelessness."
A friend of mine who lives in Minneapolis alerted me to this, saying, "Slashing $55 million from transportation and $1 billion from health and human services (including the near-total elimination of Medicaid and healthcare for the poorest Minnesotans) means I don't know how I will continue living here."
I don't blame her. There's nothing I can say. Our wonderful governor, who I voted for and was desperate to have win, is being held hostage by Republicans in a microcosm of the way Obama's hands are being tied at the national level. As Paul Krugman recently said about that in the New York Times
Republicans are automatically against anything the president wants, even if they have supported similar proposals in the past.... If a Republican president had managed to extract the kind of concessions on Medicare and Social Security that Mr. Obama is offering, it would have been considered a conservative triumph. But when those concessions come attached to minor increases in revenue, and more important, when they come from a Democratic president, the proposals become unacceptable plans to tax the life out of the U.S. economy.
I think the same thing is happening in Minnesota.
My beloved state, where I left my heart, is chasing out poor people and ill people and other disadvantaged people. I am angry and upset and shaking my fists with impotent desire to do something to fix this.
And next? There's this
: The biggest school district in the state basically has a Section 28 / "Don't Say Gay" policy. (This is only
the one school district, but the list of states with simliar policies (Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and of course Tennessee) is one of states that are traditionally a lot less progressive than Minneosta, so it's not a list I want to feel a part of!)
The mother of one of Anoka-Hennepin's students said, "If you're even questioning who you are and you're not seeing anybody who's like you, you don't see anything positive about who you are, then you start wondering, 'What's wrong with me?'" Her son, who was gay, committed suicide when he was only 15.
Seven suicides have taken place amongst the students in the last two years, and more than one has been connected to bullying about sexuality, something the teachers and staff are required to ignore, fobbing responsibility off on to "individual family homes, churches or community organizations," totally disregarding the importance of the time kids spend at school and the fact that families and churches might well make the kid's life worse, while they are doing nothing to make it better.
The superintendent is saying he's trying to "walk down the middle of the road" and other such unsupportive platitudes. He's also questioned that it can be konwn what drives someone to suicide, saying there is no evidence for bullying or harrassment.
Those poor kids. I'm sure there's no evidence that I was bullied or harrassed when I was in school either.
The small consolation I have in regards to this story is that a friend of mine sings with One Voice Mixed Chorus, which is for LGBT people and allies, and in trying to help raise money for them, she said this:
One Voice made sure to visit one of their high schools in our most recent Out in the Schools tour. Your donation today will not only be matched, but will allow us to continue spreading our message of social equality to other local schools and communities.
My friend, not L, G, B or T herself, makes me feel really good about this, that these issues do not just concern or affect those of us in the minority being treated so badly at times; they are human issues that can touch any of us.
There are also, as lovely Minnesota Senator Al Franken shows here
, some people who try to twist facts to suit their purposes, in this case that a "nuclear family" can only mean a married mixed-gender couple, when the government study he's quoting from specifically defines it in a less homophobic way.
It's funny how often being on the side of facts and reality also puts you on the side of LGBT people not being monsters.