Clovisites ignore bigger picture

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ columnist

I understand the Clovis High School yearbook has pictures. Of girls. And the pictures offend some because the book acknowledges the girls are lesbians.

The issue’s been discussed before, during and after 170 citizens attended a school board meeting last week, so many points have already been made:

• There’s a difference between acknowledging gay students exist, as the yearbook did, and promoting the gay lifestyle, as many accused the yearbook staff of doing.

• Whether they were standing up for Christian values or gay rights, many stooped to personal attacks and threats of litigation, and you know that’s going to get nothing done.

Before we close the book on this, let’s consider the following:

• Years from now, will it even matter? With all respect to the hard-working staff of the CHS Plainsman, I say no. Until this story made me think about it, I didn’t know where my high school yearbooks were. Now I know they’re in my apartment, collecting dust.

I got my senior year edition when I was a freshman in college, and it helped me through the first few months of being homesick. I opened it again when my 10-year reunion came up. I’ve otherwise never read it, and the previous three editions haven’t been opened since my high school days.

To think a book like that will impact a Christian like a Bible they own throughout their lives and carry every Sunday to church shows a lack of faith I find ludicrous.

• Now let’s talk about what should matter to the citizens of Clovis — $33.1 million. That’s the amount of the preliminary city budget. It was discussed in a Commission meeting that same night as the school board meeting, about 10 blocks away. That meeting had less than 170 citizens in attendance.

Issues discussed in the budget included an $83,000 salary slot for an assistant city manager, a 3 percent cost of living increase for city employees and an increase of more than $150,000 for fuel costs.

Citizens were free to ask where that money would come from, and city commissioners may or may not have had satisfactory answers. But many didn’t ask those questions because they were busy talking about the impact of pictures. Of girls. In a book. Maybe if citizens are upset about the budget, they’ll make their concerns known in the next city election, but …

• Will the voters be informed? South of Clovis that night, a radio station did a show they’ve done for every election over the last few decades. There were 18 candidates who made appearances at the KTQM-KWKA forum. Some sought Legislature seats and a say in millions in capital outlay dollars, others a chance to serve the County Commission and still others the role of treasurer for the county’s multi-million dollar budget.

Moderator Grant McGee made no judgment, but told candidates prior to the forum he expected a light audience early because many potential listeners were at the school board meeting. Assuming half of those 170 people at the school board meeting were registered voters, 85 voters didn’t hear what Van Robertson came down from Clayton to say, or the difference in qualifications for treasurer candidates. It’s too early to tell if any races will be affected by voters who weren’t 100 percent informed, but one would be too many.

Curry County residents had a choice to make. When they chose to discuss a book their kids probably won’t look at five years from now, they also chose to give city, county and state officials something they never requested — the opportunity to operate as clandestine organizations.

Now that’s a picture that should offend everybody.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail:

kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com