Greenfield denounces racist dog whistling from John Faso and Republican PACs
Steve Greenfield, candidate for Congress in New York’s 19th District on the Green Party line, today denounced John Faso, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund, and allied Republican leaders inside our district for jointly launching Faso’s re-election campaign with a coordinated barrage of racism.
“When I saw the New York Post, which does not publish in this district, but is a flagship of the Rupert Murdoch disinformation fleet, blow the first racist dog whistle by publishing brief excerpts from a 2006 hip-hop recording by my Democratic Party opponent Antonio Delgado, I contemplated asking Congressman Faso, on his honor as a public servant to all residents of our district, to renounce the Post’s content and intent, and declare this contest to be one of substantive policy ideas — but alas, he did not leave sufficient time to prepare my words before choosing to go in the opposite direction, and pick up the attack as his own. Let’s not mince words and cloud the issue: John Faso’s statement amplifying the Post article is racist, and the PAC-financed media ads are racist. Maybe their racism is strategically astute, as our district is overwhelmingly white and leans to the right, but that it can be exploited for gains in profit and power is what makes racism so insidious, and transforms it from individual bigotry to institutionalized oppression.”
Greenfield continued: “Conservatism in this district, and throughout New York State, used to focus on concerns about the relative values of government economic activity vs. private enterprise, the relative benefits of regulations vs. resources and entrepreneurial freedom to establish and expand productive output, and national security concerns over the militarized closure of overseas markets — not on culture clashes and ethnocentrism. We’re Union here, not Confederacy. We competed in the ballot booth on the basis of different philosophies about how to make America more prosperous, healthy, just, secure, peaceful, and beautiful — not whether we should be doing those things. But in 2018, facing his first challenger of color, Congressman Faso has chosen, not as a late Hail Mary under sagging polls, but as his opening move, to weaponize a black man. I don’t know if it’s now Trump’s Republican Party in the 19th District, but I do know that that’s how John Faso has chosen to play it, from which I can only infer that that’s how he wants it. Faso had a golden opportunity, in the aftermath of a non-local tabloid blowing a racist dog whistle, to distinguish himself both from Delgado’s policy positions, and from the trend towards racism that has plagued, and perhaps overwhelmed, his party and the conservative movement in general. Instead, he chose to pick up that whistle from Murdoch, carry it up to our district, and blow it even louder, joined by a massive influx of Washington insider money for media distribution, and even prominent conservative political thought leaders within the district whom I have known personally to know better — much better. Antonio Delgado is an intelligent, articulate, white-collar professional who grew from blue-collar, ethnic minority origins into a Rhodes Scholar and a Harvard Law graduate. But his right to be treated with dignity is only enhanced by that, not determined by it. His right to be treated with dignity is by virtue of his existence. After exploring artistic expression, Delgado chose to make his career and raise his family as a high-end anti-regulatory and white collar defense corporate lawyer at one of the world’s largest fossil fuel and nuclear lobbying firms. His donor pool, and that of Democratic Party PACs supporting him, closely reflect that career. Perhaps Mr. Faso chose to attack Mr. Delgado as a racial outsider, and threat, because Mr. Faso fully supports what Mr. Delgado has done with his actual career, and the activities of Mr. Delgado’s clients and donors — after all, corporate lobbying is what John Faso was doing for a living prior to running for Congress two years ago. Mr. Faso also shares with Delgado having moved here specifically to seek political office, with no prior background in a legislative position, or familiarity with daily life here. That both Faso and Delgado are cut from so much of the same cloth is why I’m running as a political outsider — most people agree that Congress already has enough lawyer-lobbyists. It doesn’t have any volunteer firefighters — yet. This year, we can change that.”
Greenfield concluded: “I have been a musician for 52 years, nearly 40 of them professionally. I am classically and jazz-trained on piano and woodwinds, and performed in Carnegie Hall three times by the time I was 16 — but since then, I have played rock and roll throughout North America, Europe, and for over 17 years now, throughout the 19th Congressional District. From the breadth of my training and experience, I can assure you that hip-hop most definitely is music. By all knowledgeable critical accounts, Mr. Delgado’s efforts, like those in his law career that also might not be to everyone’s taste, were well done, and as a musician, I commend him on having given it his best shot. His hip-hop background should be considered an asset in a district — and a nation — in which the arts play such a critical role to our character and economy. John Faso owes Antonio Delgado, and the entire population of this district, a sincere apology for having taken this tack, and must request that anyone supporting his re-election withdraw their attack ads and commentary. Any time Congressman Faso feels inclined to turn his campaign from personal attacks to policy, I am prepared to join him and Mr. Delgado in any forum to inform our district’s citizens on how their votes this November will play out in Congressional activity, and ask them to make their decision on that basis, and on that basis alone.”