There is a lot being said, written and broadcast about transgender issues in the Arkansas Legislature.
All that noise has every one of every side of this multi-sided issue dealing with partisan politics, when it should be dealing only with the centrally important issue -- people.
When I say people, I mean Arkansas's people.
This entire page can be filled with stories, columns, scenarios, actual events and what one thinks might need to be done to explain, but still the real answer won't be found.
The central issue of these new laws, it always seems, starts out to try and achieve a political stance, but stop and look if the law is indeed focused on people -- Arkansas people.
People, you see, are perhaps the hardest thing that our state legislators down in Little Rock have to deal with when drafting any bills into law.
Budgets, programs, roads, vaccines, infrastructure and even taxes -- well those issues are pretty cut and dried, just far enough removed from human emotion at every level.
But people -- ah, that's the hard thing to decide on how to legislate.
Can't we just let the people decide?
Well no. That does not, sadly, protect the people of this state.
There is always someone who wants something more done to others.
There are those who think there are issues not being looked at, looked over, or not as enforced as they would do so, if given the opportunity to be the public's caretaker.
And there's always those who have been harmed, or certainly felt they were harmed, by such opportunities or medical procedures or exactly the opposite -- the lack of opportunity to do something they want done or removing a barred medical procedure to do what they want to do to themselves or others with impunity and no oversight.
There are people on both sides of the latest issue of protecting children under the age of 18 from chemicals, i.e. medicines, that will alter the child's sexual orientation.
The witness tables were filled with parents begging for the drugs and the procedures, along with those parents who have suffered their children in doing so, and are now denouncing their wayward ways of the past and begging solons not to allow these procedures and drug therapies to continue in our state.
What is a state House member or state Senator to do?
Are they to lean upon an opportunity to play politics with the lives of young children? No. Please not that.
It doesn't take long serving in elective office to see that too many children in Arkansas are not being carefully looked after by their parents.
In Arkansas there are too many children having babies. There are too many children with drug abuse problems. And there were way too many children attempting suicide in our state before this harsh, vulgar debate about transgender issues even began.
A friend of mine, recently, felt like most of us, he and his wife simply want the elected officials to listen.
"We are disappointed in the current Legislature. We know personally several families that are struggling with 'Trans' issues," the note began, and then he turned a phrase that has me reeling.
"This Legislature has blood on its hands. Children who commit suicide will remain children for eternity. But they will always be children of God."
Still he went on about the legislature.
"Arkansas would be better served by your focusing on our economic needs rather than the national conservative social agenda. Our families deserve better. I'm sorry to be angry with many old friends in the legislature, but I am. Arkansas deserves better."
And to counter that feeling, my friend needs to realize those trying to help protect these children are focused on just that – protecting those who seem to want to mortgage their children's tomorrow on a drug therapy procedure today that may irrevocably change that child forever.
Protecting children from their parents is nothing new. But it is hard to legislate just as is saving people from themselves and the destructive habits adults tend to foster in this poor, poor state of Arkansas.
Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.