While mourning the passing of Supreme Court justice and feminist titan Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—often referred to as AOC—took to Instagram to answer the lingering question: What do we do now?
“It’s a really incredibly sad day and evening,” she began her 40 minute long Instagram Live video. “On today of all days, Rosh Hashanah. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as the first Jewish woman to sit on the Supreme Court, to pass on such a high holiday just adds even more weight and significance to this moment, particularly for our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community that are feeling the duality of that.”
“I wanted to hop on because a lot of people were reaching out to me on Twitter and publicly and privately saying, ‘What now? What do we do? I’m scared,’” she continued. AOC—the youngest woman ever elected to congress_understands that fear. Ginsburg’s final wish, after all, was that her vacancy in the court not be filled until a new president is in office. There is simply too much at stake. In AOC’s own words, it’s “earth-shattering.”
“This kind of vacancy and this kind of tipping point is the difference between people having reproductive rights and the government controlling people’s bodies for them,” AOC explained. “This kind of vacancy makes the difference between LGBT people having marriage equality and full rights and the difference between labor protections and your ability to be protected at work and your boss not being able to violate your rights. This vacancy is the difference between having healthcare or not.”
But this is not the time to let fear overwhelm us, implores AOC. “I want to hop on tonight to talk to you about why now—this moment—is not the time for despair,” she said. “It is not the time for cynicism. It is not the time to give up. It is not the time to say, ‘it’s too far gone,’ or, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ We’re going to talk about it right now because it is not hyperbole that the actual balance of our democracy rests in the actions that we choose to make, that I choose to make, that you choose to make as an individual between now and Election day.”
Watch the full video, below.
AOC had a message, specifically, for those who are against President Donald Trump, but disinterested in voting for the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden: “I understand why people say, ‘I don’t vote,'” she admitted. “I’m not here to dismiss you, I’m not here to poopoo you, I’m not here to say you’re wrong or that you’re a bad person. I’m here to say that this year, this election, voting for Joe Biden is not about whether you agree with him, It’s a vote to let our democracy live another day.”
People on Twitter are praising AOC and sharing many fighting words in this monumentous moment. “So AOC is giving the most inspiring speech/pep talk I’ve heard in a while right now on IG Live,” Zameena Mejia wrote on Twitter. “This is how I like to spend my Friday nights, getting hype to protect our democracy.”