“Who knew the 21st century version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington would be played by a young Latino woman?”

It’s not New Jersey (damnit) but this morning I was inspired by that two-line comment after a Common Dreams Facebook post, about this article: ‘Turns Out,’ says Ocasio-Cortez, ‘Everyday People Like It When We Fight For Everyday People.’ A refreshing statement that usually comes from an activist, not so much an elected person in position to actually help make that happen. It’s about a poll out of Yale University showing 81% of registered voters now support the Green New Deal (GND) – 92% of Dems, and even a majority of Republicans, 64%. GND is, like gun violence, an issue whose most effective advocates are young, with elders rushing to catch up to their leadership. Wonderful IMO. And an indication that even as Trumpers bollux government and ‘radical centrist’ Dems often do the bidding of corporate interests, something better is possible. That comment about AOC was left by a woman I don’t know, Judi Palumbo, but we have a friend in common; New Jersey’s legal treasure Bennet Zurofsky, who uses (and frequently donates) skills both legal & artistic to launch us all into a more just world.

“Who knew the 21st century version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington would be played by a young Latino woman?”

Idealist. Decent. American. Jimmy Stewart as Jefferson Smith.

Capra & Resister Sisters: YES to that. I dip into Frank Capra’s world a lot. That’s my radical self-care. Politics in NJ – and sadly Democratic politics in NJ – is often dark and demoralizing; its corruption baked right in. Only two things get me out of the funk of covering it; my resister sisters (and brothers), and political fiction. Like Capra. In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, an idealistic and unlikely first-timer to Congress (Jimmy Stewart) is immediately set upon by the institutional corruption of the place and made victim of his own supposed naivety. That’s what Republicans and sadly many damn Democrats assume hope will happen to AOC herself. Such Dems are often the ‘radical centrists’ Common Dreams talks about in their post. Incrementalism is just a fancy word for mollifying voters you have no intention of answering to. And Jimmy Stewart triumphs end the end out of sheer decency; so will AOC.

Medicare for All. Green New Deal.

So, to the Green New Deal. And Cory. On Friday, Cory Booker signed on on his way to making the White House run we’ve known for years he’d make. Now, it’s easy for progressives to dismiss that as mere strategy, mere checking in with progressives on policy he doesn’t actually believe will ever happen. OK. A reason for vigilance. The same criticisms were made after Booker signed on to Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All push. I look at it differently. I’m as skeptical of a Cory Booker conversion as anyone, but I also recognize that we fight uphill on legislation like both MFA and GND, which can make sweeping changes to how responsive government is to ordinary people. And if we get a vote from a Cory on these sweeping healthcare and environmental changes only because he’s angling for our attention, I say let him compete, let us thank him – publicly & sincerely – for both, and keep those lines of communication open. I see no strategic value in second-guessing Cory on Green New Deal; after all one of its key planks is a focus on how low income communities are often not only the dumping ground for pollution but the last to be protected from it. As former mayor of Newark, Cory has reason to articulate that plank especially. And Sen. Booker is also the first in New Jersey to formally sign on to the Green New Deal. Good.

By the way …. Frank Pallone is on Green New Deal’s Priority List. Sunrise Movement asks you to tweet & call him. Here’s how

Frank Pallone and Bonnie Watson Coleman

Pallone & Watson Coleman

BWC & Pallone: On Monday, Deciminyan asked Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman about GND. She supports it in principle, but has not jumped in. I also talked to Rep. Frank Pallone in a far-ranging conversation that went both on and off the record. Of our delegation he is the most tied to environmental, as he reps the Jersey Shore. He’s also not in GND. As a senior House member, he’s a big get. But the idea of a separate Select Committee on climate, called for in GND (and supported by BWC), would appear to cut deeply into his turf. And in his public comments, Pallone has questioned the idea of it. Pallone, in office 30 years, ascends in January to a power position, Chair of House Energy & Commerce. For now, he plans to concentrate on addressing environmental damage done by the Trump administration.

Expecting something from that blue wave: All this means we’ll have to check back with our congressional delegation after the 116th Congress gets rolling in early January. That includes our newbies. I look for Bonnie to jump first toward GND, to show leadership in the House delegation and to our 4 newbies, who include my own, Tom Malinowski. There’s much in the GND that resonates with BWC’s own politics. And too, the man she often calls a mentor, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga) backs it already.

By the way …. Frank Pallone is on Green New Deal’s Priority List. Sunrise Movement asks you to tweet & call him. Here’s how

Comment (1)

  1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    By the way, since we’re talking Jersey. Frank Capra was the idol of one of my favorite directors, John Cassavetes, a very different kind of film director from Capra. With some exceptions, I’m more interested in independent movies, freed from studio requirements that they pitch toward the lowest common denominator. Cassavetes used a tight group of friends (and wife Gena Rowlands) as his key cast in nearly everything, and went into hock more than once almost losing his house, to make the movies he wanted. I’m a fan of uphill struggles, and I’m a big fan of that.

    “Maybe there really wasn’t an America. Maybe it was only Frank Capra.” – Cassavetes

    Where did Capra fan Cassavetes go to school? Blair Academy in beautiful Warren County, New Jersey.


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