Letter to the editor from Carl Higbie, submitted Jan 22, 2019
As has been reported in multiple local papers this week I am hosting a bi-partisan panel, January 30 on behalf of America’s Voice News in an attempt to promote (civil) discourse in our town and hopefully beyond.
Not surprisingly, but many Democrats are not happy with my participation and are deeply skeptical of my intentions.
My Congressman, Jim Himes, wrote in a statement that I’m a bigot and not worthy of the benefit of the doubt and that no elected officials should participate.
Not worthy of the benefit of the doubt; it’s hard to hear my own congressman believes something so fundamentally un-American.
My own selectman, Sandy Litvack, likened me to David Duke. Litvack has never even met me, but formed an opinion based on a headline, to me that’s a shocking lack of thoroughness from an elected official.
Various other left-wing leaders and activist groups have decried my very humanity. The unforgivable sin? I’ve made comments in my past that I’m genuinely not proud of. I’ve apologized for them and while it seems many on the left would prefer that I go live in a cave forever, that’s just not me. I am a fighter. In fact, most people that actually know me will, and have, attested to the fact that I am not the things our Congressman Himes, Selectman Litvack and other liberals would have you believe.
At this point in time I hope all Americans can appreciate that the sum total of a person is not accurately reflected in any 2 minute soundbite. I think most of us have seen how reductive and at times malicious agenda driven reporting can be…while I am by no means perfect, let me directly offer you some thoughts about my motivations here.
I have always based my life on a foundation of community, family and service. Up until January of last year I was proud of my accomplishments; which included 9 years as a Navy SEAL, two tours of combat in Iraq and a Presidential appointment to the face of National Community Service. Those comments that CNN unearthed from 6 years ago do not reflect me today. I said some things I regret, so let the one who has never made a mistake cast the first stone and I will stand there and take it. I would hope that this could be a universal concept, that people are capable of change, but in today’s world that seems to be a fading dream.
So what can I do? After one of the most challenging years of my life I want to go back to basics. To the fabric that ties our community together; and that is communication. I want to take a step back from the divisive rhetoric that exhausts families and makes almost any conversation beyond the weather one that seems to immediately escalate to a confrontation of good vs evil.
In part, that has to start with how we talk to each other, so why not start now in the Greenwich Town Hall? Don’t get me wrong…I’m a pro Trump, gun toting, meat eating, Harley riding veteran. But I’m also a father, a neighbor, a husband and a human that wants to make this current climate better, not worse.
I truly want this town hall to be a first step, a chance for us to all be better, myself included. Rather than shout down, name call and persecute, let’s talk and share our perspectives and our mistakes that can make us all wiser. Let’s have equal empathy for those that are not part of our respective “tribes.”
I hope the reports of fireworks will be replaced with headlines about how Greenwich spearheaded reasonable public debate and everyone went home peacefully, and maybe even agree to disagree.
Most importantly, rather than judging our opponents by what we see as their lowest moment, let’s do the opposite of what Jim Himes suggest…let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt.