Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went off script this weekend claiming that white supremacy was inextricably linked to climate change.
It’s good that we know the real culprit behind the “scourge” of climate change: white supremacy.
Confused? Try following these words of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, spoken by her this weekend at a rally for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a climate change conference at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa:
“The way we inoculate ourselves from continuing to burn up our planet at unsustainable level triggering feedback loops that we have not even begun to comprehend is by honoring indigenous wisdom and allowing it to guide our climate policy.
“The way that we preserve our systems is by transitioning to principles of universality, that means I want you clothed, I want you educated, I want you paid a living wage – no ifs, ands, or buts. And what that also means [and] what [the previous speaker] Naomi [Klein] talked about as well is directly, consciously, combating white supremacy in the United States of America.”
Klein had just spoken about climate change, which she called “impossible to deny,” and likened it to a fire. Klein then turned her wrath on “figures who are so expert at the art of spreading division” (read: President Trump), who she accused of setting another “fire” in the country – that of white supremacy – and using it to divide the nation.
“Do we think it is a coincidence that these two fires [climate change and white supremacy] are raging at the exact same time? And as these strongmen turn their populations against each other, that frees them up for the real business at hand which is pillaging [the earth]. We cannot win this fight without battling white supremacy.”
Not so coherent either. But stay with me as I try to unpack these statements and break them down to an “understandable” level.
First, who are these “strongmen” Klein is referring to? Presumably one of them is President Trump. But who are the others, and, equally important, who are their “populations?”
Second, whoever they are and whatever their battle is with each other, Klein and AOC are telling us that they are the cause of white supremacy in America.
But the conspiracy theory doesn’t end there.
According to Klein and AOC, these “strongmen” are using white supremacy as a smokescreen to make big bucks by ransacking the environment.
Who knew such sinister plots were afoot in America?
Yet, as ridiculous as it is, it is important to call out this false narrative. White supremacy is a problem in America, but not because it is causing climate change (it isn’t).
It’s a problem because its followers of late have gotten more emboldened. However big or small the movement really is, its adherents have learned to leverage the internet, social media and secure messaging sites to connect to and strengthen each other in ways leading to real time outcomes — outcomes that, just a short while ago, we would have thought impossible in America.
For example, is anyone surprised anymore to hear of a shooting at a synagogue?
Or that a man killed 22 people in an El Paso Walmart after decrying a “Hispanic invasion?”
Or that a plethora of those that subscribe to this ideology have been arrested in the past year before being able to execute their noxious plans?
The fact that incidents as these don’t surprise us anymore means the problem of white supremacy is real. To fob it off by linking it to climate change diminishes our ability to deal with it.
This happens fundamentally by tempting those who (rightly) dismiss the nonsense that comes out of AOC’s mouth to dismiss this problem as well.