Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s packed talk at South by Southwest in Austin had a surprise appearance at the then when William Sanford Nye, popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, made a surprise appearance and asked the last question. When she saw him, Ocasio-Cortez seemingly couldn’t contain her excitement and gave the television personality and climate activist her own standing ovation.
“I’m a white guy,” he started. “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 try to ask for what is reasonable. So, do you have a plan to work with people in Congress that are afraid? I think that’s what’s going on with many of the conservatives, especially when it comes to climate change. People are just afraid of what will happen if we try to make these big changes.”
“One of the keys to dismantling fear is dismantling a zero-sum mentality,” Ocasio-Cortez answered. “It means the rejection outright of the logic that says someone else’s gain necessitates my loss and that my gain must necessitate someone else’s loss … We can give without a take.” She went on to address the complaints that her plan to address climate change costs too much: “We’re viewing progress as a cost instead of as an investment … When we choose to invest in our system, we are choosing to create wealth.”
The freshman lawmaker ended by saying that taking bold moves can become contagious. “Courage begets courage,” she said. “The first person who stands up has to encounter the most amount of fear and discomfort, but once that one person stands up, it becomes immensely easier for the second person and the third.”
Nye posted a selfie with Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter making clear he is a fan of the freshman lawmaker. “AOC gets it. She sees that fear is dividing us. We can address income inequality. We can address climate change, if we get together and get to work. #SXSW @AOC,” Nye wrote.
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