Civil rights icon Andrew Young cites the Inflation Reduction Act as a sign of progress

Civil rights icon Andrew Young cites the Inflation Reduction Act as a sign of progress

During a recent episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” civil rights activist and former ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young praised the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

“It took a long time,” Young told Yahoo Finance. “But Joe Biden passed a bill last night, but we’ve been moving in that direction for a long time.”

The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law last week, invests about $375 billion in combating climate change over the next decade. It also promises to cap prescription drug costs by $2,000 out of pocket annually for Medicare beneficiaries and imposes a new minimum tax on large corporations.

January 21, 2019;  Atlanta, GA, USA;  Former United Nations Ambassador and US Civil Rights Leader Andrew Young displayed at the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks game on MLK Day at the State Farm Arena.  Mandatory credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

January 21, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former United Nations Ambassador and US Civil Rights Leader Andrew Young displayed at the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks game on MLK Day at the State Farm Arena. Mandatory credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Born and raised in New Orleans, Young served as a pastor and became a leader in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He served as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King in various civil rights campaigns. He also served as US Congressman from Georgia, the first African-American Ambassador to the United Nations, and as the 55th Mayor of Atlanta.

Young pointed to the Inflation Reduction Act as a sign of progress. He explained that despite occasional barriers, social progress is ultimately certain.

“Change is inevitable,” Young reflected. “The 100 million cells in your body are in constant motion. And we have people who don’t understand that progress, movement, is inevitable. And you can’t stop it. You can’t stop the world from turning. And the more it spins, the more the genes and cells in our bodies multiply.”

In addition to her civil rights work, Young has participated in other social causes. For example, he once visited Nigeria with CNN founder Ted Turner to fight the polio epidemic. Although UNICEF declared Africa polio-free in 2020, after Nigeria reported zero new cases of wild polio, the virus has re-emerged on the continent. Young insists that the eradication and return of the virus is in line with his vision of progress.

“And so we ended polio, looks like it’s coming back now, right?” young man commented. “But the land is a constant. Volatile in motion, operation. It won’t stay the same.”

In recent years, the United States has experienced a dizzying increase in polarization. Democrats and Republicans are further apart ideologically today than at any time in the last 50 years, according to the 2021 Pew Research Data. Americans were evenly divided on the issue of vaccines. For example, adults who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine are about three times more likely to lean toward Republicans than Democrats, according to a 2021 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Some say the increase in vaccine hesitancy has contributed to the resurgence of polio, which has recently appeared in the New York area.

Young said America’s division boils down to a simple dichotomy.

“It’s intelligence versus ignorance,” he said. “My downtown office is full of globes, and they’re all spinning. It reminds me that nothing stands still in this universe. Anything.”

Dylan Croll is a reporter and researcher at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @CrollonPatrol.

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