• Phil Latham

Don't confuse politics with humanity

Republican Louie Gohmert, who has represented our part of East Texas in Congress for – hmmm, forever? – is sick with Covid-19. If you saw any of the film the day before he was diagnosed, he did not look particularly well.

Having said that, there’s been no official word on exactly how the virus is impacting his daily life. As we know, some people show few symptoms while others get sent to the hospital and put on ventilators.

By his age, Gohmert is at risk for the latter treatment. The older the patient, the more likely the

complications. Still, he could be just out of sight watching Fox News and having a good time resting.

I don’t know about Louie’s reaction to the virus but, across the nation, it’s clear that the public’s reaction to Gohmert contracting the virus has tended to be the source of either great joy or unstoppable laughter.

Outside of East Texas, Gohmert is not popular, which I’m sure bothers him not one bit. How popular he is within his district has always been remarkable to me. He regularly gets roughly 70 percent of the vote at election time.

He does have a more capable opponent this time around in Democrat Hank Gilbert, so there’s always a chance that his numbers won’t be so high, though defeating him is still a long-shot. We’ll see how that translates in three months or so.

To be up front, I disagree with just about every political stance and statement that Gohmert has made. The longer he has been a U.S. representative, the more I’ve tended to disagree. One of the two of us is getting more radical in our thinking.

This does not mean, though, that I find anything to celebrate about upon learning he is ill. If you are a responsible human being, you shouldn’t celebrate either and I really don’t have to tell you that. You already know.

True, Gohmert is partly responsible for some of the government inaction that has caused Covid-19 to flourish but only in the most minor of ways. Gohmert just doesn’t have enough stroke in Congress to get much of anything done. Had he, at the very beginning of the pandemic, stood on top of his desk in the House of Representatives and demanded better care, it’s doubtful it would have made even a little difference.

I’ll agree that he’s been wrong about Covid-19 at almost every juncture. He’s also showed something less than compassion for how the virus is affecting others. It still doesn’t mean you should be happy he is ill.

For one thing he has a family – a wife and daughters and grandchildren. These people haven’t done you any harm but they are all impacted by Gohmert’s illness.

Further, his contact with the virus probably won’t change much, if anything, about the way he views how the government should be dealing with Covid-19. He’s likely to be the same old Louie coming out as he was going in.

At some point, though, politics becomes unimportant when compared to the reality of life or death matters.

When people are in trouble, when flesh, bone and blood are at stake, who or what they have voted for or against doesn’t count for a whit. What matters is that they are a human being who needs our help.

If that sounds like the “snowflake” in me revealing itself, I’ll gladly plead guilty. How Louie or any supporters act isn’t going to change my moral code and it should not change yours, either.

If it does, then you probably have more in common with your political opponents than you think.

Get well, Louie, but I still hope you get beat in November.

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