Regarding free speech for conservatives only, as expressed by John Donovan, such a close-minded view is typical of tea partiers. What is right, constitutional or Christian does not matter to them because they are like tantrum-throwing 2-year-olds. What they want is the only thing that matters.

When I get a letter published, however, it is remarkable how many people agree with me in the online comment sections, usually more than 50 percent. So while those people Louisiana politicians label liberal may be in the closet, perhaps to protect their jobs or to avoid excommunication, it would appear that they are active and present in Louisiana. Maybe, I hope, among those 50-plus percent of registered Republicans are U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s feared RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) when they visit the voting booth!

The Advocate is neither blindly conservative nor condescendingly liberal. The editorials advocate whatever the staff thinks is best for Louisiana. They don’t follow a party line.

While there are letters from freedom-loving American patriots, the right-wing extremists also have annoyingly adequate space. At least yearly the respiratory therapist gets his devotional to the Virgin Mary and anti-abortion rant published. So do Gene Mills’ anti-gay talibangelists. The greedmongers who think those who can’t afford a car should walk from Airline to Perkins — rather than spend a dime of their money to support public transportation — get published, too.

As for national columnists, I would rather see a lot more of Eugene Robinson and less of Cal Thomas and Thomas Sowell, but The Advocate prints the good guys and the haters.

What I especially like is that anyone with a coherent view has a chance at publication and that we can write letters of up to 450 words, not the measly 200 most papers allow.

What I would like to see is two full pages of letters only, once a week, with the national columns, editorials and daily letters on a separate page. I would also like to see an occasional topical letters section when there is an important, provocative issue to be discussed.

The Advocate does a pretty good job in spite of the conservatives trying to shut the patriots up.

In another of the larger papers in Louisiana, differing views rarely are published, and in a Mississippi paper, I was asked not to name a prominent advertiser.

If Donovan and friends don’t agree with published viewpoints, they don’t have to read those letters. But they should also read the Bill of Rights itself, not the Fox News version as edited by Rush Limbaugh.

Freedom of speech, press and religion apply to all Americans. If he denies my freedom, Donovan’s own imprisonment is not far behind.

Rhonda Browning


Baton Rouge