Days before the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, actress and activist Jane Fonda stopped by Manny’s Wednesday with an audacious plan to combat climate change and a handful of candidates she has endorsed.
“I love what Greta Thunberg says: ‘Our house is on fire!’ This is a crisis; we can’t behave like this is business as usual,” Fonda said, prompting a round of applause from the packed room.
The modest meet-and-greet brought in masses of Fonda’s fans and supporters. No matter the freezing cold; her fans were willing to wait.
Of course, the emphasis fell on next Tuesday’s election.
Fonda indicated that solving the climate crisis is more important than who wins the election, but she did give several candidates a boost with her support, including District 6 supervisor candidate Honey Mahogany, California State Assembly candidate Sara Aminzadeh, California State Senate candidate Aisha Wahab and Laura Parmer-Lohan, who’s running for San Mateo County Supervisor.
Fonda’s remarks, however, were more focused on the climate. “We have to demand that President Biden declare a climate emergency. When he does that, so many more things become possible, including much more money from the Pentagon,” she said, dressed in a well-fitting black suit.
As the room listened attentively, the 84-year-old had a momentary emergency.
“People’s power matters. We might not have the money of the Koch brothers and those other guys, but there’s more of, I don’t know if there’s something wrong with me right now. I may have to …” Fonda said as she hurried through the crowd to the restroom with an escort.
This was, in fact, expected. In early September, Jane Fonda revealed that she had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a treatable cancer with a survival rate of 80 percent, according to her post. She is currently in the midst of a six-month chemotherapy treatment.
The brief, but anxious, wait was quickly filled by the video of an interview Fonda gave in 1979 about gay rights and the LGBTQ+ community. Soon, the town hall resumed.
“It has nothing to do with cancer, by the way,” she said, joking that her hotel had poisoned her, and the crowd laughed.
“If we don’t make it, and we’re certainly going in the wrong direction, right now, we have to keep in mind that every half-degree of warming we can prevent will save millions of lives. We’re talking about saving lives, and saving species,” she said, taking a big, heavy breath. “Saving ecosystems. We have to keep fighting.”
For some time now, Fonda has been leading a weekly demonstration, the Fire Drill Fridays, on Capitol Hill to demand more action on climate change from federal leaders. Meanwhile, her namesake political action committee, the Jane Fonda Climate PAC, is focused on “stopping new fossil fuel development and electing climate champions.”
“We pay $20 billion a year to the fossil fuel industry, subsidizing the motherfuckers!” Fonda shouted at the town hall. “Don’t vote for anybody unless you know where their money is coming from. If their money comes from the fossil fuel industry, don’t vote!” Coal companies have long maintained a monopoly on American politics, and the money they donate has led to the collapse of many major climate crisis solutions, including the Green New Deal, Build Back Better, and investments in clean energy, according to Fonda’s website. It reported that the industry dumped $139 million into both parties for elections.