By Paul Gable
A week ago, I wrote an article about Conway Mayor Barbara Blaine-Bellamy and the proclamation she signed for Pride Month.
Included in that article were the statements, “Blaine-Bellamy has worked to help people of every background understand she cared about them and wanted them to be accepted and included in the community. Blaine-Bellamy said she studied the reasons behind Pride Month and she believes every person deserves to feel safe and not be ostracized.”
And, “People can disagree with Blaine-Bellamy for issuing the proclamation to people whose lifestyle they don’t agree with, but they cannot criticize Blaine-Bellamy for not having the courage to stand by the principles she holds.”
My point was that Blaine-Bellamy has consistently, throughout her professional careers, attempted to treat everyone as she would want to be treated and to help them feel included in the community.
A friend of mine, Drexel Drew, took great exception to the article, as is his right to do. He posted the following comment, “I’m very disappointed in Paul Gable! Shame on you. The Majority of the people in Conway do not hold her same twisted beliefs. Wonder how much you were paid to write this by her campaign.”
The answer to the last part is zero. I wasn’t paid anything by her or anyone associated with her campaign but I did believe she deserved credit for standing by her principles. Far too many politicians have no principles today. They spout whatever they think will get them publicity.
Now comes the interesting part. Blaine-Bellamy is consistent in her treatment of people, no matter what their age, sexual orientation, color, creed, race and so on.
When Drew mentioned her “twisted beliefs,” I believe he was referring to the different sexual orientations in the LGBTQ community and not Blaine-Bellamy’s belief everyone should be treated equally, feel safe and not be ostracized.
Now for the consistency.
Drew is a successful independent insurance broker and financial advisor. One of the companies he represents is Progressive Insurance. In the newsroom section of the Progressive Insurance website, you can find the statement, “The company (Progressive) provides transgender-inclusive healthcare and domestic partner benefits and has worked to publicly engage with the LGBTQ community.”
Drew publicly chastised Blaine-Bellamy for “her twisted beliefs” yet he has no problem placing business with an insurance company who works to “publicly engage with the LGBTQ community” and provides “transgender-inclusive healthcare.”
Anyone who knows Drew should know he is one of the biggest Clemson University fans in the nation. Clemson goes much further in engaging the LGBTQ community.
Clemson University’s website, Clemson.edu, contains the following statement, “Clemson University works to support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) community through several programs, services, and advocacy efforts.”
Events at Clemson include the Pride Prom at the University’s Barnes Center with the invitation statement, “Come out to celebrate PRIDE at the Barnes Center on Friday, April 7th from 10 PM to midnight! It’ll be an evening of food, music, photos, and fun! All Clemson students, faculty, and staff are invited. Please bring your Clemson ID, your LOVE, and wear whatever makes you proud!!”
Another event is the Rainbow Ball in the Union’s Palmetto Ballroom with an explanation, “RAINBOW Ball gives students an opportunity to experience ball. The phrase “ball culture” is in reference to the New York underground drag/ball scene and highlights the culture that LGBTQ+ and people of color created for themselves. The ball is designed for attendees to express themselves freely through fashion, dance and general camaraderie with their peers.”
Then there is Clemson’s Athlete Ally program, which “believes that everyone should have equal access, opportunity and experience in sports…regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
How is it possible for Drew to be such a huge fan of a university with such “twisted beliefs?” However, he can’t switch allegiance to USC or CCU because they do similar things with the LGBTQ community.
I know Drew was a huge supporter of former president Donald Trump. On May 31, 2019, while president, Trump tweeted at 3:12 p.m., “As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison and even execute individuals…”
I don’t know for certain, but I would bet Drew voted for Trump in the 2020 presidential election even after that statement of standing in solidarity with people of (Drew’s words) “twisted beliefs.”
Drew shames me for writing the article and shames Blaine-Bellamy’s consistently kind treatment of all people. I would respond, shame on him for his inconsistency, picking certain people or organizations to chastise while ignoring others who support those same “twisted beliefs.” That’s hypocrisy!
If Drew wants to shame someone, he better stick with me, because Barbara Blaine-Bellamy is way out of his league.
And for everyone reading this article, I would offer this: If you condemn supporting Blaine-Bellamy for these “twisted beliefs”, then, I certainly expect you not to go to Disney World, shop at Target or Walmart, eat at McDonald’s, drink Anheuser-Busch beers, cheer for Clemson, USC or CCU football, or support in any way with the many thousands of other organizations around the nation who support acceptance of LGBTQ rights. Don’t be a hypocrite by picking and choosing your targets.