Today is a sad day in Portland City history, but also one that should be recognized for the true success at the heart of this matter. The success of motivating the thousands of people that signed the Recall Sam Adams petition, to stand up for their rights as voters and for what they believe is morally correct. Many of these people placed themselves in a position to feel public ridicule and even political retaliation from the Mayor’s office, and other offices of the City entangled in the grips of a tainted mayor.
Standing from where I am today, I count myself personally fortunate to have subjected myself to this process. I have learned an immense amount, and made friends that I will hold dear for decades to come. Among the frustration of losing acquaintances, losing certain stabilities in my life, and being persecuted by many in the Gay community, I know that it was well worth it. I am among a group of many who were willing to suffer the harsh consequences of making a stand against the dirty politics that are ruining our city, when the majority of people are too willing to be apathetic to the situation and not make their voices heard against a man they know isn’t the rightful leader of our city.
What frustrates me most though, is how many people told me they would not sign the petition because it was more important to them to have a Gay mayor in office. This is not a worthy reason. It has become a novelty more than a conquest, having Adams in office. He has not proven to the world that the Gay community is equal to all others, and he certainly has not shown the nation the quality of leadership that can come from the GLBTQ community. Sadly, as many people have already stated to me, he has reinforced the reasons why some people do not want the GLBTQ community to be in leadership roles, or have equal rights. One gentleman went as far as to say that “Adams should stay in office, to prove to the nation why Gays shouldn’t be politicians.”
It’s a marvelous success that a Gay man was elected into office, but it’s a vast travesty that he has remained in office through an “at-all-costs” approach to keeping himself in power. People have chosen to look past a botched election process, a long trail of lies, continued deceptions, and multiple other Gay careers and lives that have been ruined by this man, from Bob Ball to myself. Ball never lied, and was never the steering hand at a smear campaign. He told the truth, and brought a valuable question of integrity to the people. However, Adams responded with lies and denial of the facts.
The people of Portland know all these facts, and more, yet still chose to quietly pardon the situation, and not be bothered with the undeniable fact that a new leader is needed.
I want to thank every single person who committed to helping this campaign, and all of those who took the time to sign a petition. Regardless of our end result, the true success lays with those who chose to take a stand. Of those people, I want to acknowledge Senator Gordly for her love, compassion, guidance, and an example of honesty and morality that will forever benefit me. I also want to thank Teresa McGuire for her unfaltering dedication and persistence. She has shown me so much more than I could have ever asked for, and taught me a wealth of knowledge that has encouraged me to keep going.
Finally, I would like to thank the volunteers from our campaign that came to me and offered an un-measurable amount of support and love that has filled my heart and reignited a flame in me that has been missing since this whole mess began over a year ago. Those people; the ones who came to me and kept me warm with hugs and affirming letters, are the people that made this process possible for me. When faced with a world placing a magnifying glass over my actions, and analyzing all that I do, the compassion of those who did support me made all the difference.
Without people like Neola, Tom, Joe, Karin, Margaret, Larry, Gaye, Tyrone, Roy, Duke, Ricky and many others like the anonymous couple who reached out to me and invited me into their home for Easter dinner, I would still have a broken spirit. Today though, I am proud to be among these people, and know that we were all a part of a movement that will not stop with us. It will continue and will one day reach the seats at Portland City Hall, with a heavy bill they will have to pay to the people.
Beau Ellis Breedlove