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Ocasio-Cortez at SXSW Likens America Today to ‘Garbage’

‘We are on this path of a slow erosion and a slow, slow, slow just like move away from what we’ve always been’

Appearing at the tech-focused South by Southwest conference Saturday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) likened America at its current historical juncture to “garbage.” 

Her comments came while discussing why she thinks her demands for Medicare-for-All, a Green New Deal, and a $15 minimum wage are gaining backers. 

She said the United States is on a path of “slow erosion” but that ideas like hers are “what we’ve always been.”

“And I think the thing that is really hard for, for people to sometimes see is that, when we are on this path of a slow erosion and a slow, slow, slow just like move away from what we’ve always been, we’ll be a hundred miles — you’ll, you know, you realize you won’t even realize that you’ve drifted a hundred miles, so when someone’s talking about our core — it’s like, ‘Oh this is radical,' but this isn’t radical,” she said. “This is what we’ve always been. It’s just that now we have strayed so far away from what has really made us powerful. And just. And good. And equitable. And productive.”

AOC then likened the U.S. itself to garbage: “And so I think all of these things sound radical compared to where we are, but where we are is not a good thing and this idea of like 10 percent better from garbage, is -- shouldn’t be what we settle for. It’s like this, like it feels like, moderate is not a stance it’s just an attitude toward life of like, hmmm."

Later in the appearance, Ocasio-Cortez accused former President Ronald Reagan of using code words — such as “welfare queens” — to convey racist sentiment. [Video]

Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

QUESTIONER: "I think that’s something that that’s so interesting is that you have risen you, you ran a campaign and we have seen many popular politicians now running campaigns that highlight issues which are characterized as fringe and on the left, but which have a plurality of support among not even just Democratic voters but Republican voters as well. So why do you think it’s taken so long to get candidates who are pushing issues like Medicare-for-All, and a Green New Deal and a $15 minimum wage to the foreground?"
OCASIO-CORTEZ: "I think it’s because, you know, I so I’ll I’ll kind of go back with a story because even though people -- you know they try to characterize my district as far left, and 'Oh my God every socialist in America lives in like East Bronx and Queens or whatever,' It's like, it’s, but there are a lot of Trump voting pockets of my district and I talked to these folks and I’ll never forget and there are parts of my district that look like the middle of the country, believe it or not. And, and I'll never remember -- I’ll never forget this one older woman who came to me, and said, 'You know I always voted Democrat, because growing up my dad told me that Democrats are the people that fight for the working man.' And we stopped and the working man and woman and people is the majority of this country. And so what I think we saw was now both parties frankly abdicated their responsibility. And it was just, no one was fighting for working people who were struggling. And so as a result it almost created this opportunity and you can take all of this anger and direct it to a negative and destructive end that allows a small group of people to benefit a great amount, or you have to take a really bold stances, to bring it the other way and direct it to the possibility of what we can accomplish together. And I think the thing that is really hard for, for people to sometimes see is that, when we are on this path of a slow erosion and a slow, slow, slow just like move away from what we’ve always been, we’ll be a hundred miles — you’ll, you know, you realize you won’t even realize that you’ve drifted a hundred miles, so when someone’s talking about our core — it’s like, ‘Oh this is radical,' but this isn’t radical. This is what we’ve always been. It’s just that now we have strayed so far away from what has really made us powerful. And just. And good. And equitable. And productive. And so, I think all of these things sound radical compared to where we are, but where we are is not a good thing. And this idea of like 10 percent better from garbage, is — shouldn’t be what we settle for. It’s like, this like, it feels like, moderate is not a stance it’s just an attitude toward life of like hmmm.”

(h/t: The Daily Wire)

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