One would think Republicans know better than to try to mansplain to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or really, to anyone) but alas, they’re here to show us once again that they haven’t gotten the hint. A recent example comes to us courtesy of South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, who piped up to tell Ocasio-Cortez to “educate” herself during a debate about a bill to require the federal government to approve a plan to increase drilling on federal lands and waters. If this sounds like a terrible idea to you given the state of the climate crisis, you’re not alone—at least among progressives.
Ocasio-Cortez proposed an amendment to the bill (which would ban oil and gas companies that use stock buybacks to buy federal land) and spoke on the House floor on Thursday. Ocasio-Cortez cleared up misinformation from conservatives, who are trying to frame it as though this bill would lead to everyday Americans saving money on gas and utilities.
“What leasing more land does do,” she corrected in part. “Is guarantee that we will accelerate the devastating impact of climate change.” It would not, she pointed out, necessarily lead to lower gas prices or savings for consumers.
Duncan decided to rattle off a rebuttal by insinuating the New York representative is uneducated on the subject, which … Uh. Let’s call this one (as well as many other Republican failures) a swing and a miss.
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”You care about the air quality, you care about climate change,” Duncan said in part. “Natural gas is what got America there. Educate yourself on that. We can have a better debate on future resources and future energy production. But this debate tonight is not about any of that.”
Here’s that clip.
“It’s not the first time that it seems as though the opposing side can’t seem to be able to debate the issue,” Ocasio-Cortez said in part. “And so they must come after my character.” She went on to say she can’t control the assumptions from others that she’s “uneducated” but she can say she’s not here to increase profits for corporations or work for Wall Street.
“My mission here is for the well-being and dignity of our family and our planet’s future,” she continued. “For our children’s ability to live on this planet. That is what this amendment is about.”
“Moreover,” she added. “When we talk about education, we should all take it upon ourselves in this body to educate ourselves on the science of the challenge of climate change that is before. Around 2050, we are looking at the Western states’ projected wildfires to increase two to six times.”
You can check out this back-and-forth below, starting with Duncan.
And here’s Ocasio-Cortez’s reply.
Here’s the deal: It’s frankly rude and unprofessional to suggest anyone is uneducated simply because they disagree with you. A difference of opinion or perspective is not necessarily rooted in ignorance. It’s especially disrespectful to insinuate a young woman of color is uneducated or uninformed on an issue she is literally speaking up about. Ocasio-Cortez has shown up in defense of the planet again and again and has made it known loud and clear she’s passionate about the environment and combatting climate change.
Instead of countering her ideas and facts, Republicans attack her character and suggest she’s just a silly misinformed woman. And yeah, that’s not gonna cut it.
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Listen to the latest episode of The Downballot for an in-depth analysis of the 2024 Arizona Senate race and the implications of Kyrsten Sinema's re-election decision. Special guest Victoria McGroary, the Executive Director of BOLD PAC, will also discuss the efforts to prevent losses among Hispanic voters and the fight against disinformation in Spanish language media.