New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the stage at SXSW this weekend and compared the United States to garbage.
“What’s really hard for people to sometimes see is that we are on this path of a slow erosion, and a slow slow slow just like — move away from what we’ve always been,” she said.
“You won’t even realize that you’ve drifted a hundred miles,” she said, suggested America has moved from where it should be.
“So when someone’s talking about ‘our core,’ they’re like, ‘oh, this is radical,’ but it isn’t radical. This is what we’ve always been,” the 29-year-old said, saying that socialism is a core American value.
“I think all of these things sound radical compared to where we are but where we are is not a good thing,” she said.
“One perfect example, I think a perfect example of how special interests and the powerful have pitted white working-class Americans against brown and black working-class Americans in order to just screw over all working-class Americans, is Reaganism in the ’80s when he started talking about welfare queens,” she said.
“So you think about this image of welfare queens and what he was really trying to talk about was … this like really resentful vision of essentially black women who were doing nothing that were ‘sucks’ on our country,” she said.
“And it’s this whole tragedy of the commons type of thinking where it’s like because these one, this one specific group of people, that you are already kind of subconsciously primed to resent, you give them a different reason that’s not explicit racism but still rooted in a racist caricature,” she said.
“It gives people a logical reason, a ‘logical’ reason to say, ‘oh yeah, no, toss out the whole social safety net,’” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“And this idea of like, ten percent better than garbage, it shouldn’t be what we settle for,” she said.