Pottstown Mercury Opinion: 09/16/17
Open Letter to “both” of the Ryan Costellos currently serving District 6 of Pennsylvania:
On a past Tuesday night I had the honor of being selected to join one of Congressman Costello’s telephone town halls. As an independent voter and thinker, I was curious to hear the congressman’s thoughts on DACA and how he would approach a legislative solution from his perspective as a self-described moderate.
Imagine my surprise to find there was more than one Ryan Costello on the call! Unfortunately for the congressman, this next part comes with a spoiler alert: of the two versions of Congressman Costello I encountered on September 5, 2017, there is only one version I found to be electable come 2018.
The first version of the congressman I heard that night, and the one that most often comes through in his public newsletter, spoke accurately about the unconstitutionality of DACA but also with compassion about the urgency needed from Congress to develop a bi-partisan, legislative solution to our immigration crisis. I was impressed.
Unfortunately, there was another version of the congressman that appeared. This version spoke vaguely about the “toxicity” of our current political environment and then called out two of his constituents by name on the call – Nathaniel S. and Claire W. Their offense? Having published letters to the editor in local newspapers that were critical of the congressman. Without providing additional context, he then proceeded to say that his Berks County office would be closed due to a protest action being planned by a group he said could be labeled as “alt-left.”
Needless to say, this is not the type of behavior I expect from my elected representative.
To the electable moderate that speaks with compassion about “dreamers who came to this country through no fault of their own,” I say the following:
• Keep doing your job to work across party lines and find a legislative solution to our immigration crisis.
• Refrain from using language like “alt-left.” It is a loaded phrase that has been ill-defined and broadly used and will only add to the toxicity of the current political climate – your role as an elected leader is to de-escalate, not instigate.
• If you must use it, please do your research on organizations before labeling them “alt-left.”
• “Make the Road PA” is the organization that was planning a demonstration at your Berks County office on Wednesday, September 6.
• They are an immigrant rights organization that has done much over the past few years for a law-abiding population of Americans with whom you have already expressed sympathies.
• I strongly encourage you to watch the local coverage ABC gave to the protest in front of your Berks County office – I found that it was respectful and entirely non-violent.
• I also recommend you reach out directly to Make the Road PA — your public comments on the Dreamers show you understand how essential they are to our communities and how unfair it would be to treat them punitively.
To the unelectable version of Congressman Costello, the one that is using his power as an elected official to single out individual constituents on his calls . . . I am asking for your resignation. Simply put, calling out individual constituents who previously criticized you is an abuse of your position. This is not what we sent you to Congress to do. I also respectfully ask that you do not interpret this public letter as a desire to be made famous by you on a future telephone town hall.
Your more moderate counterpart is handling the position just fine on his own. The way I see it, the longer you stick around, the better chance you have of spoiling his chances for a run in 2018.
I look forward to hearing your response.
— Luke Bauerlein
Constituent has issues with both Ryan Costellos