We reject dystopia till the end

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Source: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria shared her thoughts on the Uvalde shooting and where we go from here on Instagram Live last week. Here is an abbreviated version of her remarks below. If you prefer to listen, you can watch the IG live here.

This is such an embarrassing, shameful, deeply violent, and inexcusable moment.

There are so many politicians defending AR-15s and the right of radicalized teens to impulse buy an AR-15. They have more to say about guns than they have to say about the kids who were killed.

It’s just ‘prayers, prayer, prayers.’ They love to talk about a book they’ve never even read. “Faith without works is dead.” We don’t want to hear it unless you are doing something about it. These politicians aren’t trying. They’re only interested in defending themselves and the special interests that they work for. There’s no money in protecting kids, apparently.

I don’t like, as a leader, telling you this, but so long as a Party, especially a Democratic Party, thinks there is some level of horror that will convince Republicans to change their minds, this is going to keep happening.

Everyone wants to reach for the easy solution. More police in schools does not solve this problem. That is not an opinion, look at the data. More money to policing does not do anything. If it did, it would have by now.

We have teachers who are not even making a living wage, who have sold their blood plasma to make ends meet. And they are now sacrificing their lives for the chance of possibly saving their students’ lives. And where are we talking about putting resources first? Not to them. Not in health care. But in the place, policing, that already has the resources that have yielded the least amount of change.

There are no easy solutions here. And as long as we continue to ignore the difficult issues, this is going to happen. Something we have to talk about is the radicalization of young men. This is about an ideology of hatred and violence, whether it’s the explicit white supremacy we saw in Buffalo or simply the silos that young men radicalize themselves in online. People like Mark Zuckerburg are busy having dinner with people like Tucker Carlson, who’s airing “Great Replacement” theories and inciting violence, and platforming the very people that mass shooters are citing in their own clearly written manifestos.

Another issue we have, and the reason we can’t get these broadly popular gun reform bills through Congress, is the unrepresentative nature of our democracy. You have a presidency that’s often not determined by popular vote. You have a Senate where tens of millions more people can vote for a candidate or party and still be in the minority. Even the House of Representatives, that’s supposed to represent our population, gets gerrymandered to all hell. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to defend the stance that we live in a true democracy.

So what do we do? I’m not going to be one of those ding dongs who tell you to vote harder. But, hopelessness is not an option.

It’s really easy, when government doesn’t work for you, to say “screw this, I’m opting out.” By giving into that cynicism, you become less human. You turn off a part of your human experience. And, what all of these special interests are trying to do is to extinguish the life out of you. They want to extinguish your hope and desire to fight for a better future.

There are so many things we can do. It’s just about getting creative and it starts in one place. It’s not top down. It almost always starts with a small group or one community that decides to take a creative action that works for them. And it works on a small level and it inspires others. Right now is the moment to try *anything.* Even, just keep an eye on the young men in your life. Because you all are the ones who have the power to deradicalize. And it’s never just one conversation, but it always starts there.

I wish I had easy answers. I don’t.

It’s appropriate to feel rage at injustice. But the moment they take that away from you, is the moment they get you to acquiesce. And we will not acquiesce. We reject dystopia till the end.

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