The Making of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (A.O.C)

Congresswoman

I heard the name Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez before I even knew who she was. I heard she was a loud, opiniated Latina from the Bronx who had previously worked at a bar in the city. I heard some skepticism and animosity about her campaign because of how young she was. A.O.C. stirred things up from the start. Today, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez serves the 14th district of New York in the Bronx and Queens. She defeated her white male veteran Republican opponent and well, we all love an underdog. She was one of the 117 women elected or appointed into the 116th Congress, and the youngest woman to ever serve. She is beautiful and a force to be reckoned with.

Buckle up. 

Something I admire about AOC is her openness. On her Instagram, especially, she hosts Instagram Q&As , and frequently maintains her personal social media account about her bustling day as a member of Congress. This is definitely an ode to her youth, but I don’t view it as frivolous or self-absorbed. Members of Congress are servants to their communities. They are elected to represent the needs and values of their community. She has remained vulnerable and candid about her experiences and her work, which makes politics more palpable and attainable. Anyone can run for Congress, not just white men with trust funds or legacies. I learned aspects about the inside work on Congress that I didn’t know before. Some aspects cannot be showcased to the public, of course, but she keeps it real. It’s a welcomed change.

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The Green New Deal is one of her most controversial ideas. The proposal aims to “wean the United States from fossil fuels and curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions across the economy… (and) guarantee new high-paying jobs in clean energy industries” (Friedman). The proposal suggests that the U.S. has to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Through a “10-year moviliation plan”, the U.S. will transfer to 100% renewable energy through efforts such as “upgrading every building in the country to be more energy-efficient, and overhauling the nation’s transportation system by investing in electric vehicles and high-speed rail” (Friedman). 

When you ask your employer for a raise, you are always advised to aim higher in the hopes of the employer negotiating to a lower rate. This way, the likelihood of you scoring a higher or more ideal rate is probable. AOC is demanding an effort from COngress, at prioritizing sustainability and enacting programs and policies to transition to more sustainable living. Most naysayers aren’t even considering a reform of the Green New Deal. Instead, they are ridiculing its potential expense, rather than assessing the long-term effects of climate change. It’s called an investment, and the 1% sure is knowledgeable about that! If the pandemic has taught us anything, it has highlighted the threats associated with being ill-prepared and unresponsive to critical information. If you have been given prior warning to a global episode with the potential to destroy the lives of millions, maybe take the hint, and make an effort to enact change instead of procrastinating, fabricating excuses or dismissing its existence. I’m willing to take a risk for some reward, and there have been a few reports that have suggested the Green New Deal would pay for itself over time. Is this Green New Deal too idealistic? Maybe, but I’m proper discussion can inspire a compromise. 

She recently introduced us to her skincare routine on Vogue’s YouTube video, which actually proved symbolic in a few ways. Without any context, it may seem disarming that a Congressperson would associate themselves with such folly.  I watched this featurette posted by POLITICO, and the Deputy Editor drew attention to the fact that being in the public spotlight can convince many to invest more into their physical appearance. Men also are known to shell out some money to maintain their appearance while on campaigns, etc. Everyone else has their own grooming habits, but women experience a double standard. When women were first elected to Congress, they were expected to relate as similarly to men as possible. They weren’t allowed to wear feminine clothing items, or get creative with their appearance. As women assume more roles in government, perhaps the dress code culture can be more expansive and accepted. I mean, women can expect to be scrutinized for their appearance regardless, and the media will always find ways to focus on the shoes or makeup rather than the purpose of the event or topic in discussion anyway, so good for her.

It was even off-putting for me at first. I was unsure about how I felt watching a Congresswoman participate in a Vogue skincare video but I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? A.O.C. is proud to be an educated, self-made, feminine woman in one of the most demanding jobs in the country. What is wrong with embracing your femininity? What is wrong with promoting self-care? Nothing.

A.O.C. is a strong, opinionated woman that handles herself in meetings and sessions appropriately considering the stuffy, privileged stone hedges she deals with regularly. The video above showcases some of her more passionate moments in session and just to be clear, she isn’t on her period, she isn’t unprofessional and she is more than qualified. This is how I want my state representative to react when other members of Congress forget who they are intended to serve. Crazy to believe that someone supporting the forgotten majority of America, is radical and crazy.

I’m just impressed and proud to have a leader like A.O.C. in our court. You have to battle with thick skin to work in politics, especially a woman of color in politics. I can feel hopeless listening to dishonorable legislators ignore the eminent issues. Instead, they stress about women’s right to abortion or dress code, condemn laws and concepts that contest the religious texts of one of the 4,300 religions to exist (none of which the United States identifies with because the U.S. doesn’t have an official religion), and fixate on profits and reelection without enacting change.

For years, I truly believed voting was a useless practice, not because of the electoral college, but for the pageantry. Every politician I watched on television were detached and stoic, politely addressing issues without rage and passion. Of course, there is a time and place to release your emotions. Maintaining such an influential position, it’s important to read the room. Sometimes, I need to be reminded there is a human at the head of the table. I need to be reminded that my Congressional representative has worked a minimum wage job, and struggled to pay bills. I need to be reminded that they have aging parents, or commute to work using public transportation. I need to be reminded that they, too, stress about tax season and grocery shop. I need representatives who remember their roots and are reminded of their purpose, daily.  It doesn’t matter what gender or ethnicity you are, or how long you have served. A state representative needs to represent the people, and I believe A.O.C. does just that.  

A.O.C., like most members of Congress, have been denounced and ridiculed by the public and each other. She has been berated for decisions she has made beyond political affairs, whether it be an innocent lip-syncing dance video she made for a class project in college, the clothes she chose to wear or her choice of a red lip. Florida congressman Ted Yoho confronted A.O.C. on the steps of the Capitol a few months ago, citing an ambush verbal attack on the congresswoman. Yoho called A.O.C. “digusting”, “dangerous” and “a f*cking b*itch”. His apology lacked substance and authenticity, but A.O.C. handled herself well. She articulated everything I have ever dreamt of saying in a pretend fabricated confrontation scenario with a misogynistic co-worker at my ultra-posh firm as the sole woman representative. You feel? 

Just watch the video!

http://impacteverything.org/donateThank you for being brave enough to tackle the worst of the worst on Capitol Hill. Your spirit and fearlessness is inspiring, and the only person to ever motivate my the same way was Michelle Obama. Keep doing you, girl. I support you. 

Sources

Friedman, Lisa. What Is the Green New Deal? A Climate Proposal, Explained. 21 Feb. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/climate/green-new-deal-questions-answers.html.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

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    1. Sarah H

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