Although Democrats became the majority party in the U.S. House this past week, that doesn’t mean that the struggle over the future of national left leaning politics is over. “Moderates” in the party must contend with the ever growing number of those concerned with rising threats like climate change. This Tuesday — just a week after the midterms — environmental activists marched on House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s D.C. office, holding a sit in protest that culminated in apparent arrests.
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: Hundreds of young people joined by Rep.-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held a sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s congressional office, demanding she support a ‘Green New Deal’ to invest in clean energy jobs to help stop climate change. Police say they plan to make arrests soon. The activists are with the climate justice group Sunrise Movement.
Posted by NowThis Politics on Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the protesters. The up and coming New York Democrat represents some of the most ideologically committed factions on the left, including those protesters with the environmental advocacy group Sunrise, which led the protest she joined Tuesday. Also present was Michigan’s Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib — one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — who joined an early Tuesday event at the Capitol but didn’t continue to the protest.
Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid — whose group also joined the events — asserted:
‘Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party must get serious about the climate and our economy. Anything less is tantamount to denying the reality of climate change. The hopeful part is we’re ushering a new generation of leaders into the Democratic Party who understand the urgency and will help build a movement to create the political will for bold action.’
Some of that action protesters are seeking includes the formation of a new House committee meant to tackle climate related issues. The body — called the Select Committee for a Green New Deal in draft legislation the activists prepared and presented to Pelosi’s office — would be tasked with issues including transforming the U.S. economy to be carbon-neutral within ten years.
The protesters weren’t trying to combat Pelosi so much as they were seeking to “galvanize” Democratic leaders into making tackling climate change a priority, Ocasio-Cortez said. It’s true, for instance, that years ago when Pelosi was House Speaker, she’d pushed cap and trade legislation — but that didn’t get anywhere, failing in the Senate, and it’s been eight years since she even had the opportunity to push similar measures.
The issue remains one of many on the table for Democrats heading into their newfound control of the House, including the Russia scandal. There’s already been plenty of talk about the newly Democrat-controlled House Intelligence Committee restarting their arm of the Russia investigation, which shuttered — for now — while Republicans decided to focus their efforts more on investigating those who’d ever raised concerns about possible Trump team collusion in the first place.
The threat from Russian interference continues — as does that posed by climate change, which scientists continue to sound the alarm about through means including a recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
Meanwhile, making calls from activists like Ocasio-Cortez all the more fitting, President Donald Trump continues to deny the very realities of climate change. He recently asserted, for instance, that forest management — and by implication, not climate change — stood as a major driver of California wildfires, and he’s dismissed rising temperatures by asserting the earth will cool back down.
Scientists, though, know better.
Featured Image via screenshot from the video