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According to This Patronizing, Bullying GOP Candidate, Only the “Young & Naive” Care About Science

That "young & naive" vote is coming for these dudes in November.
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In a recent town hall meeting, Pennsylvania State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner took a question from 18-year-old Rose Strauss, who wanted some answers regarding her rep’s stance on energy.

“Two-thirds of Pennsylvanians think climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed but you have said that climate change is a result of people’s body heat and are refusing to take action of the issue,” she said. “Does this have anything to do with the $200,000 that you have taken from the fossil fuel industry?”

That’s a totally reasonable question about a real thing Wagner once said. Rather than actually answer her though, he responds with a patronizing dismissal.

“You’re 18 years old,” he told her. “You’re a little young and naive.” In the video above, you can hear some of the crowd laughing and applauding. Videos taken from other angles though, make it clear not everyone thinks that’s at all funny. You can hear one man yelling at Wagner to “Answer the question!”

Instead, Wagner asked the crowd, “Are we here to elect a governor or are we here to elect a scientist?”

That’s a ludicrous response. Wagner doesn’t have to know the intricate, scientific details of climate change, but then he can’t also expect to go unchallenged when he spouts inane, fake “facts” dismissing actual science.

It’s true that a lot of young people pride themselves on their idealism, but idealism is not the same thing as naivete. Strauss is a member of Sunrise Movement, an organization made up of young people determined to make climate change a top political issue. These are informed, engaged, politically active young people. I don’t know what about that says “naive” to Wagner. Too bad for him, they are young, but, at least some of them, like Rose, are not too young to vote.

“Young & Naive” may well be Generation Z’s “Nasty Woman.”

While we’re on the subject of women refusing to accept the condescending dismissal of men in politics, take a look at this video from Sharice Davids, who is running for Congress in Kansas’ 3rd District. She’s Native American, an MMA fighter, loves the Arrowverse*, and she’s also gay.

At a town hall event, Davids used her time allotted for a closing statement to address some dismissive comments one of her opponents made about gender non-conforming and LGBTQIA people. I cannot find the comments themselves, but when she said she was going to address them, she was met with wild applause.

Her is the statement she made:

One of the most important things I see in this campaign is the way that people are dismissed, the way that people are silenced and erased, not just from our history but from our current conversations.

We have a lot of decision-makers who talk an awful lot about the voice that they want to be. And that’s not what we need. What we need is someone who will listen. What we need is someone who cares about the voices that have already been talking for so long and are not being listened to. This is why we don’t have leaders in Congress, because they don’t want to listen, they just want to talk. They’re decision makers, but not leaders. And we need leaders.

*Full disclosure: That interview was conducted by my husband, Brock Wilbur, and we are both very disappointed that Davids is running in the district next to ours because we want to vote for her very badly.

(image: Shutterstock)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.