By now, you’ve likely heard of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. At the age of 29, she has made history as the youngest person to be elected to Congress, as a member of New York’s 14th Congressional District. That distinction was previously held by New York Republican Elise Stefanik, who was elected at age 30 in 2014.
Getting right to the point, as she is obviously of Latin descent, anyone who has not been living under a rock since 2016 (at least) knows that it would not take long before the “attacks” would come her way.
“Oh, but Robert…politicians have been attacked since the beginning of time. Why do a blog post now?”
Simple. Because the attacks on her this time are…relatively unique, and to me…a sign of our times in 2018, even though the “signs” were there much earlier than now, and Ocasio-Cortez just helped bring them to light.
For starters, again…Ocasio-Cortez being a person of color means that yes…those attacks would be there. That’s nothing new. And in this day and age, people seem a lot more comfortable being open about it than usual in using blatantly racist and sexist language, even not caring (as some have straight-up said) that they are on video saying these words.
One “man” on a friend’s Facebook post called her the ever-so-mature-and-original “C” word. I and several others commented to express our displeasure, as I asked “What makes her this?” Of course, he had no answer.
Then there are those who at least try to be a little more clever in nitpicking every little thing she does imperfectly, mainly because she is a person of color (see: Fox News’ response to Obama once wearing a tan suit). Most of us are hip to that also.
Speaking of Fox News, let me start there.
On November 7, Ocasio-Cortez said to the New York Times:
“I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.”
This of course, references her getting an apartment in Washington, D.C., as it is very expensive to live there. The panelists laughed about it, speaking to her having “tended bar in Brooklyn” a year and a half prior.
One panelist said that “her supporters like it” continuing with, “It’s tough to get an apartment in D.C. I also think she’s not alone. She might be the only one talking about it…”
Fox News Contributor Judy Miller even called it a “brilliant political line” as Ocasio-Cortez is a “little simple person from New York.”
Fox News Anchor Ed Henry even decided to add that she spent her formative years in Westchester County, New York, which is “a little Ritzier than the Bronx,” and continued with, “Some of those shoots during the campaign, she had these multi-thousand dollar outfits that could pay a month’s rent in Washington, D.C.”
For starters, the first panelist (they never showed her name and frankly, I don’t have enough interest to look it up) implies that Ocasio-Cortez is stating she is “alone” in all this. Ocasio-Cortez never said that. She mentioned a “very real” problem that affects MANY people. That was her point. Not to garner sympathy.
Judy Miller feels that Ocasio-Cortez being honest is merely speaking a “brilliant political line,” implying that she said it strictly for again, sympathy. That speaks to just how out of touch wealthy elitists are that a politician speaking this kind of truth, especially when it lines up more with MOST of the country, is so beyond them that they think it is a “line.”
Ed Henry, I would assume, has never asked Ocasio-Cortez how much her outfits cost. So that tells me he is just guessing because the outfits looked “nice.”
But I can tell you this. I have seen the costs of professional outfits in Beverly Hills. I have also seen the costs of professional outfits in Walmart. And unless you know the designer, there is absolutely no way to know the cost of an outfit just by looking at it.
I would like to also take a wild guess that Mr. Henry hasn’t spent a ton of time in Walmart, thrift stores or anything of the sort. Otherwise, it would not be so far beneath him to believe that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’ outfits could have easily been purchased at any of those locations as well.
Washington Examiner journalist Eddie Scarry even tweeted this:
“Hill staffer sent me this pic of Ocasio-Cortez they took just now. I’ll tell you something: that jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles.”
The tweet has since been deleted, but not before several people (including Ocasio-Cortez herself) responded. The photo attached was the view from behind as she walked down a hallway.
Apart from it being plainly misogynistic and ignorant, all these elitists don’t seem to have a suggestion on what she should have worn. Not that she would need permission, but if that outfit wasn’t “typical of someone who struggles,” what would be the alternative? Bummy clothes? Torn shoes? Messy hair?
And let’s not forget that Fox News implied that for her to admit struggling in any kind of way was merely playing to her supporters politically, so had she shown up in that hallway or any of those campaigning locations in less than professional clothing, they would have criticized her for that as well.
So let me get this straight…
To say she’s struggling in any way is wrong.
To look professional in any fashion is wrong also, because it doesn’t “prove” (at least to out of touch elitists) that she is really struggling.
Then let’s add those people who would put her down for NOT dressing professionally during campaigning. They would likely imply that she “doesn’t care,” “doesn’t have respect” and who knows what else.
And oh, right…any chance she might have borrowed an outfit or two from anyone? Yeah, many of us who have struggled have had to do that as well. How many have borrowed a suit here or a dress there for a job interview? Not that the elitists would understand that one, either.
As my title suggests, these attacks are exactly why we need Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Congress.
We’ve reached a point in history where a good number of politicians are wealthy, either by their own doing or by stealing from the American people. I would assume that it was not always that way, but here we are in 2018. And because of this, I don’t imagine too many who were initially elected to Congress struggled to find a place to live in Washington, D.C., or had to wait until Congressional pay kicks in before being able to do so.
As an Army soldier of 21 years (I just retired in August), I will tell you that it is easy to know when a leader I’ve had to follow has the experience in a certain area than when he or she does not. Not that that’s limited to just the Army, but speaking from my own experience, I would much prefer to work for someone who has at least been where I am at one time than someone who has not. My apologies to sound judgmental, but too often, those who have no idea where you are or have been are less-equipped to tell you where to go. It’s a simple as choosing whether to follow GPS or someone who has lived in a certain area for their entire lives. I’ll choose the person over GPS any day.
This doesn’t mean that a person who is rich cannot understand those of us who are not. It is NOT a given. Of course, the GPS will still get you there. It simply means that more often than not, many are out of touch as proven by the Fox News panelists. They may be able to analyze this and that, but they haven’t actually been there to know one way or another.
Ocasio-Cortez can relate to most of us far more than many other politicians can. That means when she fights for causes, she’s not fighting from a sheltered position after reading a bunch of paperwork or merely watching and listening to news stories, reports and propaganda.
She’s fighting from having been in the trenches. Right there with us.
That’s like if Hollywood was making a military movie. Of course we can assume, but nothing beats actually getting someone on the staff who has served in the military to be an advisor for some level of authenticity.
What Ocasio-Cortez brings to the table is not “business as usual” or just your average politician. She brings a wealth of experience she did not gain only while campaigning. She brings LIFE experience, which many will tell you, often beats just about anything else. She brings the mindset of not just another talking head, but someone who is more connected than many other politicians to the American people.
Some, as Judy Miller said above, would call her declaration of struggles a “political line.” I call it her living and wanting to do better not only for herself, but for others.
At what point was it mandatory that those running for Congress be financially well-off? Sure, that’s where we are in 2018, but as I spoke of above, it wasn’t always that way. So at some point, it became the norm. Now, here comes someone who goes against the grain and has the absolute audacity to be a normal person and not your typical politician.
But then again, maybe that is just the problem and why so many have an issue with her being there in Congress.
Because she does not epitomize the average politician…
…she epitomizes the average AMERICAN.