by Del. Sam Rasoul
Two years into his presidency, and the left still struggles to identify the reasons behind President Trump’s rise to power. While valid arguments attributing his win in part to sexism and race have been made, the common thread throughout this rise of global right-wing nationalism smacking us in the face is Neoliberalism (aka, “crony capitalism”) – pleasing big-monied, corporate interests while telling the “little people” we have their back.
Neoliberal policies, supported by both political parties, ignore the true needs of the people, while prioritizing special interests. Under NAFTA, the working class was decimated across the nation. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the worst in modern history, we saw too many Americans lose their livelihoods, all due to a continued catering to large banks. In Virginia, we now see fossil fuel interests put ahead of the health and safety of our communities.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs directs that our economic and public policies must meet the basic necessities of the people. There has to be a clear path for self-actualization, allowing for families to dream big for the future. If not, the science is clear, when a family cannot envision a prosperous future, humans turn to fear.
In moments of fear, it becomes easy for destructive forces to leverage our different identities against each other. You’ve probably heard people say things like, “the real reason for your current situation is because of those brown people crossing the border.” These are easy shots to take and it works to divide us, limiting our ability to understand that most people want the same thing: a better life for themselves and their family.
The Green New Deal is not just an idealistic environmental plan. It is the realization that in order to uplift all, we must forge new coalitions at the intersectionality of economic, social, and environmental justice. Fighting for good in our silos feels futile at times, but once united around the fundamental principle of equity, together we become a political force to be reckoned with.
Over the next two years, stale thoughts will come from candidates who want to look pragmatic. But those voices are simply defending the same neoliberal ideas which created our current economic and social disparities. As Albert Einstein stated, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” People must know what our party stands for leading into November 2019 and 2020, and the Green New Deal ensures that working and vulnerable families are uplifted in the fight ahead.
I’ll leave you with two points, and a question:
1: America put a man on the moon in less than a decade.
2: We are the richest country in the world.
Can we create and implement an economic plan which uplifts all in a just way, while also saving the planet?
Hold our covfefe, we got this.