Editor’s Note: A guest post by conservative activist and 3rd District resident Christian Gil.
Many of us who invest much of our time into Conservative politics, and fight daily for Conservative reform in both Louisiana and Washington DC, were a little miffed to watch the host of the Celebrity Apprentice ride 30% pluralities to “victories’ through the first half of the primaries.
With 17 candidates running, a celebrity who was a media phenom, had an unfair advantage. Don’t get me wrong – today I enthusiastically support Mr. Trump. He is light years better than Hillary, who is perhaps the most corrupt nominee for President in modern history. However, as Conservatives – most of know we could have done better.
During this same time period, another minor star was brewing in our own backyard – Captain Clay Higgins, who took over the Crimestopper duties for the St. Landry Sheriff’s Office. At first, Higgins was given scripts written by the local TV station. It was the typical rigamarole that we’ve seen our entire lives – bland, to the point, and barely effective. Crimestoppers has a solve-rate of about 30% nationally, which still makes the program worthwhile and a service to communities everywhere. But St Landry used about 52 episodes to capture 44 suspects -with 19 of them turning themselves in. The numbers won KATC an award a few weeks ago (but they felt compelled to keep that from the public).
Captain Higgins has a flair for communicating. This is why Sheriff Guidroz chose him to leave the night shift as a patrol officer and take over the job as Public Information Officer. Higgins used scripts written for him at first, by the TV stations. Gradually he started making the rhetoric his own.
So why all the Biblical references? Why the calls for redemption? Why the humor? Let’s rewind.
Clay Higgins’ “Full Metal Jacket” demeanor would suggest that this guy has been a cop since he graduated high school. However, in fact, Higgins spent most of his adult life in the car business. He attended LSU and studied Political Science and served our nation in the Army as a MP. But for a career, he got into selling cars and was really good at it. He quickly became Sales Manager and progressed all the way to where he was running dealerships. In his final years in that industry, he was being paid enormous consulting fees to “fix dealerships” around the South.
But at the same time, he was growing categorically dissatisfied with his own life and own path. He was making six figures a year, but barely knew his young children. His marriage was a disaster. He was drinking too much and was unfaithful to his wife on more than one occasion. Some time in 2003 or 2004, the bottom fell out. He and his wife split and Clay Higgins was at a turning point.
So at the not-so-ripe age of 44, Clay Higgins did what many of us would be too afraid to do. He quit his job and walked into the Opelousas City Police department and took an $8/hour job as a cop. It was a vow of poverty and Higgins still claims it was the best decision he ever made.
Higgins had time to spend with his children and actively did so, and became very close with them. His relationship with Christ became stronger. And protecting and serving a small, poor town like Opelousas made him very aware of problems in America that still define his cause to this day – homelessness, mental illness, the nature of petty criminals, drug abuse, the breakdown of the American family and the importance of Constitutionally-driven Law Enforcement.
Higgins also delved back into the books from his college days, and became quite the amateur scholar on the founding of America. As a cop who would train new cops, he spoke with authority about the importance of the 4th Amendment and the Rule of Law. He still does today in speaking engagements around the nation. Look them up.
A decade later, now PIO Captain Higgins was bored with the scripts being written for him. He asked permission to write the scripts himself. The rhetoric in those now-famous videos was the same that Clay would use at 3am, on the SWAT Team – trying to talk a drug dealer into turning himself in. “Listen to me son, your house is surrounded by a SWAT Team and you are hiding in the shadows every day. That’s no life. Come turn yourself in. Let’s get you off of these drugs. Our jail in St. Landry is safe. You can turn your life around.” And guess what? IT WORKED.
Higgins wasn’t named “Uncle Clay” by TV audiences. He took that name from the streets, for being a cop that was fair and that people – of all colors and creeds – could trust to follow the Constitution and the rule of law. To this day, he is beloved in Opelousas in every neighborhood.
It was never Clay Higgins’ intent to become “YouTube Famous” as he is often criticized for, but there was a reason he became quite popular. He was funny. He could communicate well. He called bad folks out. He was refreshingly honest. And best of all, through all the tough talk, he managed to talk about the humanity of the criminal and offer them a chance at redemption. Quite frankly, those videos were something that no one had ever seen someone do before. And people liked it.
Right now, we are at a fork in the road in our country. Status quo politicians, (fairly or not fairly best symbolized by Paul Ryan), have just accepted the same old non-confrontational methods that haven’t worked for years. 8 years later, Conservartives don’t feel like we are making any progress.
At some point $400 Billion dollar deficits have to stop, but Americans don’t feel like Republicans in Washington have the will to stop them. At some point, illegal immigration must be brought under control – but again, where is the will to fix the problem? ISIS & Iran (and God knows who else) is on the move to destroy us, and our leaders sit bashfully on their thumbs. America is in trouble. No one seems to be willing to fix it. The status quo career politicians don’t seem to care.
Clay Higgins has proven, as much as he can as a Cop, that he has the spine to say what needs to be said. I believe he will be a Congressman in the mold of Allen West or Trey Gowdy. He is an excellent communicator and we need more Republicans who can persuade. We could use some humor too. I remember a Republican President with a sharp wit that was quite a leader – and who got things done in Washington.
Will Higgins make mistakes as a freshman? Of course. Will he be a little over-the-top in his rhetoric occasionally? I hope so. What we’ve been doing now isn’t working and it’s time for a shake up. Maybe congress could use a street cop to push the status quo. Maybe it would help America have one last chance at Redemption.