In an inclination to return to my commentary posts, I stumbled upon an interview with Ed Markey from the Generation Green New Deal by Critical Frequency podcast, and I think there could not have been a better subject to comment on. This interview took place in December 2020 but was recently just aired on their podcast. This means that some helpful things to keep in mind when reading and listening are that the Georgia Senate runoffs were still in play, Trump was yet to reach his second impeachment, and Biden had not taken office yet. As a hardcore fan of Ed Markey, I found this interview refreshing, as I had exited the political scene after hard days and nights put into the runoff elections. Do not get me wrong, I am so honored to have been a part of something so much larger than myself and have had a crucial part in making history, but damn, making history is A LOT of hard work, so returning to the Inauguration of the 46th President, Joe Biden and the first female Vice President, who is also a woman of color, Kamala Harris, was a warm welcome back to the fight for a Green New Deal. This paired with the interview I just listened to was enough to get the ball rolling, and let me say, I am loving my time back. I feel accomplished, complete, and I think I speak for everyone when I say, I feel like I can finally breathe in my country. The whole country was able to come up for a breath yesterday, as Biden took office the time of endorsed tyranny, fear, and hatred took it's last breath for it's last time for the next four years. Do not get me wrong, I know that this hatred persists still, but at least for the next year, it will not be endorsed by those who hold office in our country.
To get to the actual interview, Senator Markey goes into why did he choose to reach out to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and make his first steps into the Green New Deal. He tells the interviewer that there was no other option but to embrace the Green New Deal upon discussing it with AOC. He says "the issue deserved it". This is a quote that especially resonated with me. Our world is facing a cosmic threat, a threat larger than the earth it's self. Looking at the climate crisis at a glance can be horrifying. The preliminary research I did before advocating for the Green New Deal shook me to my bones. I felt so small and so minuscule compared to everything that was going on, but I know that feeling was not limited to me. I know this is a feeling felt by many who realize the whole that we have dug our earth into. This "issue", it's easy to turn our heads, shut our eyes, and walk in the opposite direction, but, the scary thing is, the issue will just follow us like a lost puppy dog looking for its owner.
The issue is not going anywhere, and what I admire about Ed Markey is that he was one of the first to embrace the issue, to not turn his head and walk away. He was one of the initial Green New Deal champions who said, "No, this is something we can fight. This is an issue worth fighting for". He tells the interviewer that " There is no emergency room for our planet.", and he is right in that fact, but in a way he might not even realize yet, he has become a doctor for the planet. He is healing and curing the disease that has fickled the earth for far too long.
Another quote Ed Markey utilizes is "We must take bold action immediately to save the planet". First, tell me that you are a sunriser without saying " I am a sunriser". I get overly excited about action. This is the cornerstone of the Sunrise Movement, I believe Markey was yet to mention the Sunrise Movement explicitly yet, but (besides my previous knowledge) this is how I knew he was a Sunrise advocate. The Sunrise Movement is built upon taking action, progressive action. We have heard the talk and talk, but our motives are to walk that walk. Our words will do little to nothing for our future if they are not paired with action, bold action. Ed Markey's words are very selectively chosen. He says "bold action". Let me say that again, " B O L D action". For years upon years, the United States has been pacified by the promise or possibility of action, and if the action actually takes place, it usually weak, limp, and dare I say downright lame. As Ed Markey had already stated this issue "deserves" our attention. This issue "deserves" bold action. We have long surpassed the time for lenient or soft action. We used to have time for that, but we no longer maintain that privilege. We need action. We need it to be bold. We need a Green New Deal. Not only for us but for all of those who follow.
Ed Markey then goes into his sit down with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez( THE Green New Deal Idol) in 2018 prior to his election. He mentions how he sat down for lunch with her, and how they drafted what the physical Green New Deal ended up being. He mentions the problems they decided needed to be tackled such as green job production and the placement of frontline communities first. He goes through the ten-second run down about the Green New Deal and what it stands for, but what really piqued my interest was the response and effect that the dropping of the Green New Deal had. When the Green New Deal was officially announced in February 2019, there a new debate, a new urgency, a change in the waves of discussion. This topic went on full blast as sunrises arrived at Nancy Pelosi's office, slapped down the Green New Deal, and let her know that Sunrise was not going anywhere until we had ensured a safe future with livable housing, breathable air, drinkable water, equal access to food and opportunity for all. The youth stepped up to the plate in 2019. There was an understanding that no one else was going to put in the work to create a livable future, so we took it upon ourselves to create the future we wanted.
We are still putting in the work to create the future of equity that we so desperately need. We are screaming from the top of our lungs that we have had enough, and we are done taking no for an answer when it comes to the earth's survival, and that is only due to Ed Markey and the stage he laid for us. With all of this support from the leftist youth also came the criticism and disapproval from the right. From Trump, Fox, and Fossil Fuel industries, slander was placed upon the construction of the Green New Deal. This Green New Deal was seen as too radical, too far right, too socialist by many. Senator Markey said the "Green New Deal was politically unpopular". This, of course, came as no surprise because this is the type of rhetoric that the left has been fighting for years, but what Ed Markey responds with is what is important, "If you don't like the Green New Deal, what's your plan?" My jaw, on the floor. My hands can't applaud enough to convey what a badass moment this is. There is no other plan. All critics want to do is whine and complain about how far left this plant is, yet there is no formally proposed counter plan. This is primarily due to the long history of refutation of climate change from the right side. Hell, even our former president still believed that climate change was a hoax throughout his presidency. This willful ignorance and inability to recognize what is going on are what sparked the youth into action. This lack of leadership from the people who took an oath to protect us and fight for us each day is why we ended up in this horrible of a circumstance in the first place. Ed Markey gave the youth the power and the stage to make a difference in the world, now it is up to us what we do with it.
Senator Markey, prompted by the interviewer, then moves into the details of his historic election against Kennedy in Massachusetts. Honestly, this is just a badass story about how this Green New Deal champion refused, intolerated, detested any malarkey going on in his home state. He rolled up his sleeves looked at the 14-17 point gap between him and Kennedy and claimed from being 17 points down to an 11 point lead on election night. Now that's a success story! Now, I think I would not be able to do this story justice, and while I LOVE talking about it, this story has already been featured once or twice on my blog, so I am not going to sign Senator Markey's praises once again(although every bone in my body is screaming for me to), but I am going to touch on some of the most essential details and parts of his story. I would 110% recommend going to listen to this podcast for this story because it will rock your socks off. I want to, again, mention how Senator Markey approached the youth to join the fight. By mobilizing the youth into becoming "Green New Dialers"(isn't that name just fantastic? someone put that on my gravestone pleaseee), he was able to create 12% of the total electorate youth voters in 2018, and then increase it to 19% in the 2020 elections. Can we take a moment to let that sink it? Almost 20% of the total voter turnout was youth, the youth historically known for sitting out elections. He broke records by creating the largest single turnout of any primary race in Massachusetts. Now I know what you're thinking," Ava, why would you fabricate this hero of mankind, there is no way this person is real right?" Well, skeptical reader, let me tell you the best part, he is real. I know, unbelievable. I can attest too. When hearing about him, I was like no way. This man is knocking down elections and taking names, but then I was offered the opportunity to speak with him. WOW. Nothing has been the same. It is due to him that I am a Sunrise hub organizer for the Roswell Sunrise Hub. He is a voice for young empowerment throughout the country. Talk to any climate activist and mention Ed Markey's name and I can assure you, there will be a frenzy. I personally want to thank Ed Markey for the voice he has given me and people like me. Before knowing him, I was a bipoc teen, without a voice, with more than enough opinions. Before him, I thought I was about to explode looking at the world around me deteriorating and not being able to do anything about it. He has made me who I am today, and now with this voice, I want to encourage others to use their voice as well. In my last post about the Inauguration, I gave a list of organizations that feed off of people using their voice for good. If you would like to get in on this action, I would recommend giving it a look, but since I am biased to Sunrise and Black Lives Matter, I will link those at the end of the post for you to take advantage of.
Ed Markey then continued to explain the role that Sunrise had in his historic election. He talked about the ad that he produced with the help of Sunrise, but the thing about this ad, Sunrise said that it was not going to air on television. This untraditional approach was a little confusing at first, but in the end, it gained 5M views and an extraordinary amount of support. This ad is transformational. I assure you that you will not be the same after viewing it. I 100% recommend watching it this instant.
This, now this, this is BADASS. Did you catch what he said at the end? "With all due respect, it's time to start asking what your country can do for you." WOW. Ok at first glance, yeah it's badass, but let me tell you really how badass this is. He was running against a Kennedy. If you remember President Kennedy's inaugural speech, he says, " Ask not what your country can do for, but what you can do for your country." At that moment Markey recognized all those who had marched and gotten injured or killed during the Black Lives Matter protest, those who have sat in to reach the environmental regulations this world needs, the people who were on the ground organizing for leaders who represent the public. We have worked for our country. We have poured our blood, sweat, tears, life, and soul into seeing an America made for us, but America has not done for us. It has not worked for us. He makes the contrast so impeccably clear, for all people who are viewing understand at that moment that the time of change is upon us. Our country is going through a monumental, historic time. He shows that he is here for the people, not the greedy lobbyist, not for re-election, but us. He believes in something and stands for it, and he is exactly who we need in office.
I want to finish with his closing words, " The power of young people when they get involved in politics." Young people it is our time. As the out of touch and greedy politicians lose their ground over our country, we have been called to take their place, and when we can't, we find people who will. We have been handed the power of tomorrow, and it is our responsibility to make sure the tomorrow we need becomes our reality. If we look around us in this past month, there has been nothing but division and anarchy. We can stop it. We can create the United States of America which is spoken about all around the world. "The American Dream" can become the American reality. Where immigrants can feel safe to pursue the aspirations they couldn't achieve in their home country. Where black people do not have to fear being killed or harmed due to their complexion. Where marriage is for those who are in love, not those who are male and female. Where a woman can have autonomy over her body and her choice. Where men and women are afforded equal pay. Where all people despite, color, zip code, or economic status have equal access to food, clean water, and clean air. This is a reality we can all build, as long as we organize and work. Let me be clear, just because we have the Legislative and Executive Branch, these are not ensured for us, but for the next two years, we have been afforded a chance, an opportunity, a shot at representative legislation, but this only comes with work. All we have achieved rests on the shoulders of organizers before us. The Women's March, The Civil Rights Movement, and many more all across the country gave this to us. Young people, we must now escalate our progress in the time frame we have won, for the work had just begun.
Here are the links for Black Lives Matter and The Sunrise Movement, and if you look at my last post, you can find many other activist groups that work with a multitude of other concerns:
Here is the link to the actual podcast. I recommend listening to it to hear Ed Markey's own words and some parts that I left out!!
I once again, want to thank Ed Markey for his contributions to the elections and a liveable future. None of this could have been possible without you!