Last week I went to EngageNOLA's Meet the Candidate event featuring Billy Nungesser, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. Mr. Nungesser's anti-immigration campaign ad "Sleepless in Louisiana" which criticizes his opponent for not protecting Louisianians from having their jobs stolen by illegal immigrants was brought up. A Latina woman born and raised right here in Louisiana explained to Mr. Nungesser that his ad features faces of men who look like her American father and other American relatives. The woman asked Nungesser if he approved that ad. After mentioning the irrelevant fact that a media company hired by his campaign produced the ad, Nungesser responded that, yes, he approved the ad. Nungesser added that running the ad is "just politics."
Mr. Nungesser sees nothing wrong with running an ad filled with ominous images of brown skinned people to convince people to vote for him. He sees nothing wrong with using optics and rhetoric that a hateful person can easily use to support their harassment, or God forbid, violent acts against Americans who look like the stereotypical brown skinned immigrants used in his ad. In fact, commercials and images like these are what make it difficult for us to accept people who look a certain way as "real" Americans.
That is a damn heavy price to pay to just play politics, not to mention very poor judgment on the part of someone who claims he will fight for all Louisianians. Really? Does that include brown Louisianians, Mr. Nungesser?
I truly was undecided going into the event. I left determined to cast my vote for Nungesser's opponent, Jay Dardenne.