AOC's two minute speech in response to Rep Sean Duffy's [R-WI] characterization of environmental concerns as a matter for coastal elites is inspired and heartfelt, and entirely on point: the people at greatest risk from environmental degradation are the poorest and most vulnerable in society, and moreover Duffy — a wealthy lawyer and TV commentator — has no business lecturing AOC (a working class New Yorker who was working in a taco joint a year ago and got her first-ever health insurance plan when she was elected to Congress) on what is and isn't of concern to working people.
Duffy had said, "The Green New Deal is one that if you are a rich liberal from maybe New York or California it sounds great because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has a zero emissions, that is energy efficient, affordable and safe."
To which AOC replied, "When we talk about the concern for the environment as an elitist concern, one year ago I was waitressing in a taco shop in downtown Manhattan. I just got health insurance for the first time a month ago. 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, their blood is ascending in lead levels, their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist. You're telling them that those kids are trying to get on a plane to Davos? People are dying!"
She went on to point out that preventing environmental cataclysm is much cheaper than cleaning up after the fact: "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're going to pay. And we have to decide whether we're going to pay to react, or pay to be proactive."
I think that Duffy knows all this, but in true capitalist/sociopath style, he also understands that poor people will suffer most from climate change and that rich people will always be able to score giant government handouts to help them rebuild.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) March 27, 2019
Watching these videos give me hope for our future, a rare thing. Thanks, AOC.