We are dismayed to read Saturday’s “Our Views” editorial in The Advocate. The editorial board’s column is biased in the extreme, even descending into outright personal insults against a sitting United States Congressman, Clay Higgins. Its language and tone are more suited for the preliminaries of a late-night barroom brawl than an editorial by a major metropolitan newspaper, and we call for a swift apology.
The editorial opens with a vile personal attack on Republican Congressman Clay Higgins of Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District, demeaning his law enforcement career while ignoring his military service. The real facts are that after serving honorably as a military policeman in the United States Army and the National Guard for six years, the congressman served as a front-line law enforcement officer on patrol and SWAT duty for twelve years. He achieved the rank of captain before being elected to Congress.
But the editorial then descends even further into juvenile name-calling of the most irresponsible sort, while managing to ignore the very reasonable arguments for an earlier re-opening of our economy which an ever-increasing number of Americans also espouse. This editorial is an outright insult not only to Clay Higgins, but also to the millions of increasingly desperate Louisianans who are nearing the end of their financial resources well into the second month of a government enforced statewide lockdown.
And the reason for this particularly vicious attack? Because Clay Higgins dared to stray from the newspaper’s politically correct left-wing orthodoxy: “Higgins demanded that restrictions be lifted by the beginning of next month,” per the editorial’s words. How dare he disagree with the received wisdom of the hour! Why he even had the temerity to make a short video on the subject, which was apparently the final straw which precipitated the attack by the editorial board. All this notwithstanding the fact that one state has already reopened for business and many others are considering doing the same in the very near future.
By the way, if you haven’t seen this short video, you should. It features the congressman walking along the streets of Washington, D. C., lamenting the empty streets, empty hotels, and shuttered businesses in the very heart of our nation’s capital. Unlike The Advocate’s caustic editorial, the video made a strong and even emotional case for an earlier reopening, in a respectful way.
Now let us be clear: One may be for or against an earlier as opposed to a later re-opening of the state’s or the nation’s economies, but reopen we must. And make no mistake- we are not talking here about cosseted coastal elites suffering from boredom or the lack of refrigerator space in which to store their premium brands of chocolate ice cream. We must confront the very real danger that hunger and deprivation will soon stalk the richest nation on earth if the economy does not begin returning to some degree of normalcy.
The question is when, and contrary to the editorial’s one-sided bias, this is a legitimate controversy of supreme importance. We do agree with the editorial on one point, “that there is a growing political tinge to the debate…” This is unfortunate but is to be expected in a republic riven by a deep and growing partisan divide, wherein every issue has become politicized. This editorial simply made the divide that much worse, while contributing absolutely nothing constructive to an important debate that we as a state and a nation must have.
Let us then call for an apology to Congressman Higgins, his constituents, and like-minded fellow citizens, and be done with the politics of the matter. Meanwhile, the real issue of when to reopen our economy remains. It is a crucial question, indeed.
Louis Gurvich, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana