“How many years until the world ends, again?”
While responding to questions during an Instagram livestream Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made it clear there are some topics she just won’t joke about.
Chief among the off-limits subjects are the issues of climate change and her ambitious Green New Deal plan.
“How many years until the world ends, again?” the freshman congresswoman was asked, sparking a rant comparing those who oppose the Green New Deal to whites who opposed the 1960s civil rights movement.
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“We have twelve years left to cut emissions by at least 50 percent if not more,” she said. “For everyone who wants to make a joke about that, you may laugh, but your grandkids will not, so understand that the internet documents everything.”
Her lecture on the danger of not taking the threat of climate change seriously enough veered into a discussion on the racist habits of white Americans during the civil rights movement.
“They would hold up these bigoted signs and they would hold up signs that said things like ‘What about white rights?’ and all of this stuff in the 1950’s and 1960’s, so just know that in the present day there are a lot of people who hide the fact that their families and that their grandparents fought against principles of equal rights in the United States, not 100 years ago, not 80 years ago, but in this generation’s lifetime,” the 29-year-old Bronx native added.
Ocasio-Cortez’s point appeared to be that future generations would view those who mocked the Green New Deal similarly to how the present generation views 1960s-era white racists.
“While a lot of people can hide that their grandparents did that in the civil rights movement, you should also know that the internet documents everything and your grandchildren will not be able to hide the fact that you fought against acknowledging and taking bold actions on climate change,” she said. “People who are trying to mock and delay this moment, I mean—I just feel bad for you. I just pity you for your role in history right now.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s touchiness on the subject might not surprise anyone who’s been paying attention to how the congresswoman has reacted to criticism of the Green New Deal in the past. The progressive Democrat has not been shy about punching back, swiftly and fiercely, when criticisms are lobbed at the proposal.
She expressed outrage last week at the Republican leadership’s plan to hold a vote on the much-hyped climate-change plan. “The GOP’s whole game of wasting votes in Congress to target others ‘on the record’, for leg they have no intent to pass, is a disgrace,” the freshman congresswoman said in a tweeted reply to Washington Post congressional reporter Paul Kane.
Also last week, Ocasio-Cortez delivered an impassioned response to Republican criticisms of the Green New Deal as “elitist” during a committee hearing Tuesday.
“You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a rant that went viral. “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, their blood is ascending in lead levels, their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist.”
“This is serious. This should not be a partisan issue. People are dying,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “Science should not be partisan.”
The freshman congresswoman concluded her speech by comparing the threat posed by climate change to World War II and the Great Depression.
“We are facing a national crisis. If we do not ascend to that crisis, if we do not ascend to the levels in which we were threatened at the Great Depression, when we were threatened in WWII,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I don’t know what we’re here doing.”
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