In lieu of a real town hall where he might have faced angry constituents, Rep John Faso held an “interactive” telephone town hall yesterday. Several local activists live-tweeted the event and it became clear that Faso lives in a world of spin almost as delusional as the Trump White House.
On the urgent topic of gun control, Faso says that NRA members comprise a large amount of constituents in NY-19 and their needs must be considered. But what needs is he talking about? The need to get a gun without a background check? The need to own an AR-15? The need to have access to guns while mentally ill? The need to carry concealed weapons anywhere in America? The illusion to feel safe from Mexican rapists? These so-called needs are bogus. And where is the proof that NRA members are anything more than a loud minority of his constituents? Faso seems unaware that many gun owners and some NRA members support common-sense gun regulations, and he is clearly unmoved by the endless tragedies that guns produce, not to mention our outrage.
Faso goes on to insist that his views are not affected by money from the NRA. But this claim is also ridiculous. Groups like the NRA don’t give away their money for the fun of it. They donate money to politicians because they get something in return. Faso helps the NRA to keep the gun industry profits flowing. Quid pro quo. Simple.
Asked about his support for a Clean Dream Act, Faso replied that he wouldn’t support one because it wouldn’t be approved by the President. It’s hard to imagine a more cynical stance when the lives of hundreds of thousands of people hang in the balance, so it’s easy to see Faso as a moral failure. Leadership demands taking a position and advocating for it. In this sense, Faso is the opposite of a leader.
One action Faso apparently does support is the gutting of protections for people with disabilities. Yesterday Faso voted YES on HR 620, which “…amends the private enforcement provisions of the public accommodation requirements of Title III of the ADA,” aka the Americans with Disabilities Act. In other words, the bill makes it harder for people with disabilities to sue businesses for ADA infractions. Because people with disabilities have had it so easy? A YES vote on this bill was shameful.
There is a common thread in the stances Faso takes on many issues. He consistently puts the desires of large, powerful businesses and industries above the needs of individual people. Which means he protects the profits of businesses at the expense of citizens, often the most vulnerable among us. Americans might die in gunfire, but the NRA and the gun industry won’t suffer. Americans with disabilities might be denied equal access, but businesses won’t lose money for it.
Every congressional district deserves a representative who reflects the values and mores of the majority of voters, strenuously advocating those values no matter where the political winds are blowing. John Faso is almost the antithesis of this description, and the sooner we repeal and replace him the sooner we will make progress on issues that citizens care about, like protecting individuals from the excesses of powerful businesses. We need a leader, not a flunky like Faso.
Get out the vote in 2018…