It sounds like some kind of fictional 2019 word salad, but, uh, this actually happened: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a talk at South by Southwest in Austin last weekend and, out of nowhere, somehow wound up chatting with Bill Nye the goddamn Science Guy about climate change.
Nye surprised AOC by popping up during the audience Q&A portion of the night, presumably sneaking in between questions about how it feels to star in a comic book or whatever to speak with the rising political star about the state of politics and our increasingly fucked world.
The whole scenario seems like an entry out of a Mad Lib—Democratic Socialist edition!—but it is real, and it is a goddamn delight to behold. Please, enjoy:
"As you may know, I am a white guy. I belong to two unions," Nye says, after the applause dies down and AOC finishes giving him a literal standing ovation from the stage. "I think the problem on both sides is fear."
"Yep," Ocasio-Cortez agrees.
"People of my ancestry are afraid of having to pay for everything as immigrants come into this country," Nye continues. "The people who work for 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 afraid of what will happen if we try to make these big changes."
AOC grabs his question and runs with it, diving into the problems in Washington, the importance of grassroots organizing, and how, exactly, to handle all that fear.
"I think one of the keys to dismantling fear is dismantling a zero-sum mentality," she says. "What does that mean? It means the rejection outright of the logic that says that someone else's gain necessitates my loss—and that my gain must necessitate someone else's loss."
Nye and AOC are a natural fit together, between her work on the Green New Deal and Nye's latest turn as a bastion of climate science. Plus, given Ocasio-Cortez's age, she almost definitely watched a shit-ton of Bill Nye in middle school science class when her teacher was too hungover to function or whatever. Their whole conversation is interesting and inspiring and spilling over with pure, unadulterated charm. Give it a watch above, and then someone immediately green-light a Netflix talk show for the two of them.
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