New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared herself to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a speech at SXSW.
The speech at the annual conference on Saturday highlighted her rise to become a representative and her power in the Democrat Party, Variety reported.
Austin, Texas is brimming over with Oscar winners, tech moguls and social media influencers, but no one drew more heat with her speaker address than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
A serpentine line of conference goers stretched around the length of Austin’s convention center — the longest and most hectic so far this year, a SXSW spokesperson told Variety — to catch Ocasio-Cortez’s session, a conversation moderated by The Intercept writer Briahna Gray.
While she’s spent the past few weeks grilling former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and promoting her own documentary and Sundance entry “Knock Down the House,” this Saturday was centered on her unlikely rise in the Democratic party and what it means for the future of the country.
“Part of what happened last year was a crack in the system,” she explained, of her election to the U.S. House of Representatives for New York’s 14th district. The politician has often said that election winners do not look like her, a woman of color from a working-class Puerto Rican family in the Bronx.
“Suddenly, a lot of other people said, ‘Wait a second, maybe I can do this too,’” said Ocasio-Cortez.
Her ego came out to play when she compared herself and what she wants to do to Dr. King and labor unions.
“History is often revisionist. Martin Luther King is cast as this angelic person that never made anyone mad and just asked for civil rights and got it,” she said.
“Unions were always seen as this great powerful thing that no one ever died for, [to get] a 40 hour work week and a weekend,” she said.
“We use cynicism as an intellectually superior attitude and we view ambition as youthful naiveté. ‘Meh’ is worshipped now, for what?” she said.
“I’ve gotten a lot of heat recently in the party because I was really furious about this Republican amendment (to report illegal immigrants who attempt to purchase guns to Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“The reason I was so upset is because we have an agency [ICE] that is separating children from their parents and putting them in cages and injecting them with antipsychotic drugs … since when did it become the moderate position in America to keep caging children?” she said.
But one of the most mind numbing parts of the speech came when Bill Nye took a shot at himself for the crime of being white.
“I’m a white guy,” he said. “I think the problem on both sides is fear. People of my ancestry are afraid to pay for everything as immigrants come into this country.”
“People who work at the diner in Alabama are afraid to ask for what is reasonable. So do you have a plan to work with people in Congress that are afraid? That’s what’s going on with many conservatives especially when it comes to climate change. People are afraid of what happens when we try to make these big changes,” he said.
“One of the keys to dismantling fear is dismantling a zero-sum mentality,” she said. “It means the rejection outright of the logic that says someone else’s gain necessitates my loss and that my gain MUST necessitate someone’s loss.”
“We can give without a take. We’re viewing progress as a loss instead of as an investment. When we choose to invest in our system, we are choosing to create wealth. When we all invest in them then the wealth is for all of us too,” she said.
Thanks to our good friends at The Federalist Papers for permission to republish this material.
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