Letter to the editor from Jonathan Perloe, submitted Jan 22, 2019
To the Editor, Greenwich Free Press:
As reported in your January 20 edition, “Carl Higbie to Co-Host Panel Discussion at Greenwich Town Hall, Expects Fireworks,” I find it offensive that Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei and State Representative Fred Camillo have agreed to introduce a panel discussion featuring America’s Voice News talk show host Carl Higbie.
Mr. Tesei is not listening very carefully if he believes Higbie is a good candidate to “promote civil discourse,” as he stated in his email to the Greenwich Free Press about the discussion to be held in Greenwich Town Hall with his blessing.
“We can agree to disagree” is not justification for giving a platform to someone who said “Black women think that breeding is a form of government employment,” and “Go back to your Muslim shithole and go crapping in your hands and bang little boys on Thursday nights,” and who said he was willing to go to the southern border to shoot people crossing into America.
Mr. Higbie’s apology that his past remarks “do not reflect who I am or what I stand for” is not sufficient for pardoning him, especially considering his unconditional “I’d take a bullet for the guy” enthusiasm for our misogynistic, racist, xenophobic President.
Tweets as recent as last month like, “transgender is a pretend thing” belie Mr. Higbie’s claim that he has “evolved.”
It is more than unsettling that our First Selectman believes he is embracing “diversity in all forms” by freely associating with someone who espouses such vile beliefs.
Rather than lecturing Greenwich residents from his Twitter account, Mr. Tesei would do well to revisit his comments about Carl Higbie from January of last year when he wrote in an official statement, “It is unfortunate that anyone…would hold these beliefs that are blatantly offensive on several levels.”
If First Selectman Tesei believes that “Greenwich is a tolerant community that embraces civility, inclusion and respect for all regardless of race, gender, religious and political beliefs,” he should distance himself from Carl Higbie. So too should Rep. Camillo, who wrote a letter to the editor in January 2018 condemning “toxic and divisive rhetoric.”
Contrary to Mr. Tesei’s assertion, this is not an issue about free speech. Carl Higbie can rant all he wants (as he does daily on his Twitter feed). The issue is that Mr. Tesei is condoning Higbie’s offensive remarks by giving him the imprimatur of the highest elected office in Greenwich, his.