Enterprise misses Stefanik’s hypocrisy
To the editor:
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with your newspaper’s coverage of Rep. Elise Stefanik, which acts to promote her activities and positions while failing to point out her hypocrisy. The weekend’s latest mass shooting only highlights the pressure to hold Stefanik accountable to her constituents for her actions.
On Aug. 6, your front-page headline read, “Stefanik bemoans ‘epidemic of hate'” and “After mass shootings, congresswoman calls for strengthening background checks, praises President’s remarks.” Your story should have noted that on Feb. 28 Stefanik voted AGAINST House Bill 1112, which would require gun dealers to wait until the background check is completed before selling a gun; now, if background is not completed within three days, the sale proceeds. Remember Dylann Roof, who killed innocent parishioners and their pastor in Charleston, South Carolina? This loophole enabled Roof to purchase the weapon used in that mass shooting. What kind of background checks does she advocate?
But surely Stefanik wants to take guns out of the hands of those convicted of domestic violence or covered by a temporary protective order? Nope. On April 4, she voted AGAINST renewing the Violence Against Women Act, which would do just that. That NRA “A” rating is obviously more important to Stefanik than common-sense gun laws.
About that “epidemic of hate,” in your Aug. 26 edition, Stefanik accused Reps. Tlaib and Omar of anti-Semitism, highlighting that these representatives chose not to accept Israel’s invitation but to travel independently. I would argue that if I may visit on my own as a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), these elected representatives from their congressional districts should be able to visit independently as well. Their BDS support is no different from that of many mainline Protestant denominations, including PCUSA, United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church, yet none of us have been excluded from Israel. Let’s remember that Tlaib and Omar were elected by U.S. citizens just as she was, yet Stefanik is happy to parrot the president where these Muslim women are concerned; you will recall he said “they hate Israel and all Jewish people.” She is not trying to reduce the epidemic of hate and violence, which has resulted in death threats against these women.
Most importantly, how is Stefanik representing us, in OUR district, by failing to meet us face to face at town hall meetings? Telephone “town halls,” as she is holding, are also used also by other GOP congressional reps because they allow message management by the representative and limit expression by constituents. Questions in the telephone town halls are already prepared by very friendly campaign folks who seem always to sop up the available time. We should not be fooled that Stefanik cares to represent the sense of the district when she fails to engage honestly with the people who pay her.
Another election is a bit more than a year away, and we have the right to understand the basis for these votes and her rhetoric. Real town halls, with those of us who do care about reducing hate and violence, would be a great beginning.