Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said at a Green New Deal rally at Howard University in Washington, DC, on Monday that the “average every-day person has never been more powerful in human history than today,” and it was up to youth to elect politicians who support a plan that seeks to transform the American economy and infrastructure, including ending air travel, cattle ranching, and fossil fuel production.
“We have never been more powerful, and big money has never been weaker, and that is why they are fighting so hard against the Green New Deal,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the rally where Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) also spoke and endorsed the proposal.
The rally began with a video in which Varshini Prakash, a founder of the Sunrise movement that hosted the rally, speaks to protesters on Capitol Hill.
“We have 12 years to radically transform our economy and our society,” Prakash said. “To stop this crisis and protect human civilization as we know it.”
But Ocasio-Cortez was the rock star of the night, speaking at the end of the rally in a long, somewhat rambling speech that veered from climate change to “babies’ blood” getting poisoned in Flint, Michigan that included a call to get out the vote for the Green New Deal.
Ocasio Cortez questioned what people opposed to the Green New Deal mean when they say it is too “extreme” or too “radical.”
“But let me tell you what’s too much for me,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Here’s what’s too much for me. What’s too much for me is politicians looking and allow babies blood to get poisoned in Flint for corporate profit. That is what is too much for me.”
“What’s too much for me is coal barons coming up to Washington, DC, demanding bailout after tax break after bailout for themselves and then not even paying their own miners’ pensions, their own miners’ health care — that is what is too much for me,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“What is too much for me is the fact that ExxonMobil knew … that climate change was real and manmade as far back as 1970,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Instead of being part of the solution they paid millions of dollars to lobbies and lied and confused the American people about it, endangering generations to come. That’s what’s too much for me.”
“What is too much for me is the fact that in 1989 — the year that I was born … politicians were first informed by NASA, that Congress was first notified by NASA that climate change was going to threaten my life and everyone here’s life to come, and they did nothing. That is too much for me.”
Ocasio-Cortez first told the college students she wished she could tell them everything would be okay and that she could guarantee a good future for them.
“But I can’t tell you that today,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Because I’m not interested in lying to you.”
Then she told them that cynics were trying to distract them from supporting the fight against climate change by claiming it is “too late” and that “the future is pre-written.”
“And I’m here to tell you that all of those things are false,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
She said people opposed to the Green New Deal “know how vulnerable they are” given the newfound power of young people, like those who gave the freshman self-described Democratic Socialist a standing ovation at the end of her remarks.
“We will change this country and we will change the future to be more just,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
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