September 10, 2018

Letter to the Editor

The following is the letter I sent to the reporter at the Times-Union, and to the reporter at the Kingston Freeman who wrote a similar story — both of which were about me, but did not include me. Neither reporter contacted me. Two separate articles, both about two people arguing over me, and the reporters don’t wish to know what I think about it. So on my own initiative, I am telling them.

I’m curious why you wrote an article about debates, including ones in which it is known that I am included, without seeking a quote from me. If my name had not come up, I can almost see it, but I am the central issue in this story. Delgado and Faso are arguing over me. Why would you not contact me?

The obvious problem with the Delgado attack is that it is hypocritical. Delgado feels it is in his interest to have me excluded, as much as he professes that having me included is thought by Faso to be in his own interest. But that’s a paradoxical complaint — what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. One cannot accuse someone of being afraid to debate him when the context is his own fear of debating someone else. I mean, one can make the accusation, as has happened, but it is hypocritical and illegitimate. That needs to be part of the discussion in this setting.

With both of them thought to be viewing my inclusion in debates through the lens of their own interest — and why not, as they both want to win, as do I — then the interest of democracy should decide the matter, and the interest of democracy is inclusion. Let voters hear all ideas, not just the ones that are sponsored by millions of dollars in donor investment and party patronage. Don’t we all want the influence of money in politics reduced? How do we make that happen when investor-rich candidates refuse to have themselves compared to those declining donor influence, and institutions that bring forth electoral information to the public independently play along with business as usual, giving voters the sense that only candidates who benefit from unlimited donor support are “viable?” Candidates who reap the rewards of big money will never enact policy to reduce it. What is the interest of a free press in enabling that? If access to the electoral marketplace is only offered to the wealthy, how will our beleaguered, beaten, and battered political system ever turn in the direction of democracy? How will we ever inspire more than 50% of our eligible population to vote?

Because this really is about money. Mincing words is not my strong suit, and situations like this are how that developed. I have been elected to office in this district twice, legislated, managed, and administered for six years, helped many other Green and non-partisan, long-shot candidates win elections, and have a long public service resume spanning the entire 17 and a half years I live and work here, as well as a considerable amount in my previous places of residence. Delgado moved here to run for this office, as if Congress is an entry-level position, having never lived or worked here. Prior to moving here, his involvement in elections or any other form of public service was nil. Take away the highly funded major party recognition and substantial campaign finance, and he would be a very distant third in this race by all other qualifying criteria.

If some media outlets and other institutions are offering only Faso and Delgado the opportunity to debate, and Faso is unwilling to accept that, and Delgado truly wants to debate Faso in those settings, then Delgado is free to contact those sponsoring organizations and tell them he prefers inclusion. Instead he’s faulting Faso for doing right by democracy, and pressuring him to relent, rather than asking the exclusionary sponsors to be more democratic. That is his choice, and it is pretty thin cover for his real concern, which is avoiding me. A thorough and objective press would have brought me into the conversation. Leaving me out tacitly supports Delgado’s preference for exclusion, thereby hinting at editorial bias favoring Delgado. That’s OK in opinion columns, but not in articles being presented as news.

Delgado’s own Dutchess County Democratic Committee is the one that sought to throw me off the ballot. Having failed at that, he’s trying to force debates that will exclude me, even though I am on the ballot, and by virtue of that, have a right to be heard, as much as the voters have a right to hear me. This is clearly a vote suppressing effort by Delgado and the Democratic Party, which also exposes the hypocrisy of their frequent attacks against Republicans on those same grounds.

I will be contacting all of the would-be debate sponsors who have chosen exclusion to offer them a way forward, and commend Congressman Faso, whom I vigorously oppose in this race, for his willingness to assume risk in the service of democracy that our mutual opponent, Mr. Delgado, continues to do everything he can to avoid.

With best regards,
Steve Greenfield

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