On Tuesday, Adam Graham, the Mayor of The Village in Oklahoma, resigned. In his resignation letter to the city manager, he cited “threats to his personal safety.”
Across social media channels, Graham is presented as “the first openly gay mayor of a town in Oklahoma.”
Implied is that Graham is a victim of prejudice and homophobic views.
Graham has done little to minimize the perception of his town — citing in his resignation letter, which he posted to Twitter, that he has been a crusader “against ageism, racism, and homophobia.”
The Washington Examiner noted that Graham said he “has been followed home from meatings, was “harassed in a coffee shop,” “threatened while walking his dog,” and has had “his tires slashed.”
This is unacceptable, even criminal, behavior. Many wish Democrats in Washington would cease promoting, condoning, or refusing to protect similar behavior when it’s directed toward conservative justices or congressional representatives.
Graham, “the first gay mayor in Oklahoma,” does not take responsibility for the fall-out arising from a May 28 outburst when he publicly berated two police officers. The officers were coordinating a “routine traffic stop” and dealing with a tense situation with a driver pulled over for speeding when Graham drove up, rolled down his window and started shouting at the officers.
The okcFRIDAY newspaper noted that police officers reported that Graham “directly agitated an already uncooperative driver during the stop and put our safety at risk when it didn’t need to be.”
For some, that event is an unresolved issue that has sparked fires of tension and conflict in the small city.
In a rebuke to city residents, Graham cites “malicious bad-faith attacks” and that he “no longer feel[s] safe” as reasons he can “no longer serve … as Mayor.”
Interestingly, Graham does not cite the steps he took to mitigate the rising tension in his town of 9,200 residents.
Instead, Graham cites “homophobic” views as a leading factor to his problems; he fails to acknowledge that area residents voted him into office three times — twice as a city councilmember and in 2022 as mayor.
NBC News reported that “The Village Police Department had not been aware of any reports of threats or harassment against Graham.”
NBC also noted that the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Out for America annual analysis report profiled Graham as “one of six elected officials in the state who were part of the LGBT community and was the only openly gay Mayor.”
Racism, ageism, violence, and homophobic views are wrong — but let us strive to be identified “by the content of our character” and not “by the color of [our] skin.” And let our leaders exercise wisdom, discretion and accountability — respected for their service to all, not recognized or rewarded for their sexual orientation.
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