Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Impassioned About Thing, Oh Sh*t RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
The GOP-controlled Senate held a sham vote for the Green New Deal Tuesday. It was an entirely political spectacle. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to publicly divide Democrats and rally the conservative base while depressing the liberal one. McConnell only cares about power and the fossil fuel donors who keep him in it. He's a cynical sack of garbage.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who co-sponsored the Green New Deal, actually believes in things. It annoys her when Republicans can only manage weak-ass political stunts in response to climate change, which is both a real and a serious threat. During a House committee hearing prior to the Senate's travesty of a mockery of a sham vote, "Real World" alum and Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy basically dismissed environmentalism as an "elitist" pursuit.
DUFFY: If you're a rich liberal from maybe New York or California, [the Green New Deal] sounds great because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has zero emissions, that's energy efficient.
The current president is a billionaire from New York, but Republicans are still pushing the "limousine liberal" narrative. Yes, only "rich liberals" from the land of Jews and queers care about climate change. Meanwhile, rich conservatives go sport hunting and send rhinos back to God postage due.
Before we move on to Ocasio-Cortez's response to Duffy's silliness, let's quickly play a round of "What sexist language did the media use to describe Ocasio-Cortez?" Did they claim she "flipped out" like she was about to boil your bunny? Or did they say she "bristled" like a common nasty woman?
What do you know? All of the above. Sorry, no prizes for anyone because it's all so depressing. There is of course no mention of Duffy's emotional state or the fact that his own argument is irrational and, dare we say it, "hysterical."
Ocasio-Cortez's response is impassioned, but her reason is unimpaired. Is she pissed? Darn tooting. She has every right to be. This is serious shit and Republicans are treating her like she's Jor-El warning Krypton of its impending doom.
Ocasio-Cortez explains to the former cast member of "Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons" that she's hardly a "rich liberal" or an "elitist." Just last year, she was waitressing at a taco shop in downtown Manhattan. She got health insurance for the first time a month ago. She's not Lindsay Bluth with her latest pet cause.
Republicans desperately want to convince "average" working Americans that the Green New Deal is a waste of time. Clean air is just like the craft beer craze in Portland. Normal people can't tell the difference.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: This is not an elitist issue; this is a quality-of-life issue. You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the South Bronx, which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country. Tell that to the families in Flint whose kids have their blood ascending in lead levels, their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist.
This is really impressive, and Ocasio-Cortez didn't even have any visual aids from Star Wars. OK, maybe climate change is real. But doing something about it is hard and costs money. What does the fancy-pants waitress have to say about that?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: We talk about cost — we're going to pay for this whether we pass a Green New Deal or not. Because as towns and cities go underwater, as wildfires ravage our communities, we are going to pay. And we're either going to decide if we're going to pay to react, or if we're going to pay to be proactive.
This is all very reasonable. The current ostrich approach to climate change is not sustainable. Rachel Campos-Duffy, who married Sean Duffy for reasons that are entirely her business, applauded her husband for "taking on" Ocasio-Cortez's "green hypocrisy." She claimed they are "standing up for the poor" who can't afford the Green New Deal. Republicans wouldn't stand up for the poor if they were seated in the handicapped section of a bus and the poor entered in a wheelchair. They just want to keep the very rich happy right now, even if everyone on the planet will suffer eventually. Such blatant cynicism is enough to make anyone "flip out."
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).