It’s not every day that a column appearing in the Lafayette-Nicollet Ledger gets the kind of attention Lee Zion’s piece is getting. The paper covers Nicollet County, which is located in south-central Minnesota.
Commenters on Facebook have called it “creepy and disgusting” and “horrible trash.”
“Omg no way,” one user wrote. “Did he really put that in the paper?!”
He did. Zion’s column, simply entitled, "As for me, I like option No. 2 better," really did appear on page 3 last week. The column was about a recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics, which reported the United States’ fertility rate has fallen far below its replacement rate.
“Fortunately,” Zion wrote, “this problem has not just one, but two possible solutions.”
The first, he said, was immigration. Let new people come into the country, have children here, and create jobs, wealth, and opportunity for everyone. But it might “bother a few of you” if this means America will become less white.
So he moved on to the second option.
“Have sex with me,” he wrote.
He went on to say everyone – rather, every “adult wom[an] capable of bearing children” -- should sleep with him, ensuring the fertility rate would rise “practically overnight.” It was “a sacrifice,” he knew, but he was “prepared to bear any burden, pay any price, meet any hardship, and squirt any squirt to Make America Great Again.”
He went on to say there was a risk those babies might grow up to write “obnoxious” essays like his later in life, but at least they would be white – which, he reminded his readers, was “the important thing.”
The column has since made its way onto Reddit, and its users are adding fuel to the fire – mostly with vomiting emojis and one “Eewww no thx.” But the biggest reactions are from the people in his coverage area.
“Wow,” one Facebook user commented. “Dont want this guy any where near my kids. What a piece of work. Has anyone actually contacted the school?”
"You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such trash,” another said.
Zion is not particularly ashamed. He’s the owner of the Lafayette-Nicollet Ledger. He’s more than aware of the splash his column is making. It’s hard to miss when you get scores of comments asking if he’s a “pervert,” a “pedophile,” or a “criminal.” Some have canceled their subscriptions.
“I expected some kind of a reaction, but never quite this strong,” he says. People were “not just angry." They were “furious.” The last time he got a pushback like this was because of a column he wrote in the middle of the government shutdown that was critical of President Donald Trump.
He wants to be abundantly clear. This piece was satire. He wasn’t really suggesting everyone have sex with him, any more than Jonathan Swift was actually advocating for baby-eating in A Modest Proposal. The statistics were all real, he says – he just took them in a “loopy,” “Bill Maher-style” direction.
“No actual pervert would come out and write that he is a pervert,” he pointed out.
It’s hard for him to say whether he would have written it differently given another chance. Some have told him that they totally dug his point right up until the end. If he’d stopped before it took that weird, sexual turn, it would have been “laudable.” But because he didn't, it landed somewhere between "awkward" and "gross," which are both somewhere off to the side of funny.
His plan is to compile a select list of the best comments and run them in the March 21 edition, without any commentary from him.