Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Real-Life Superhero

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the it-girl of modern politics. Known by the shorthand AOC, she has been the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district since January 3, 2019. In the short 2 months she’s been in Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has already created quite the stir. You may have seen her dancing in the White House on Instagram, or creating a Senatorial manhunt, or even kicking Amazon out of New York. Whatever the obstacle, you can bet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is coming out swinging.

 

Photo via Huffington Post

 

Haters Gonna Hate

Every good hero has to fight off some villains, and AOC has triumphed through a ton of battles so far. Conservatives pick apart everything she does in, but especially out, of the office. Many of the opinions stem from her NYC background. AOC centered a lot of her campaign around the fact that she has worked for a living her whole life and is, in a way, just like the rest of us. Pictures of her childhood home were spread on social media by John Cardillo, a conservative radio host, saying it looked like a “far cry from the Bronx hood upbringing she’s selling.”

She has also been criticized for the clothes she wears at work, which I know is super shocking, because normally we never care what a woman is wearing. The issue Eddie Scarry, a Washington Examiner writer, had was also that they looked too expensive for her image, tweeting, “That jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles.” Someone else went so far as to try leaking a fake nude photo of AOC. Thankfully, it was very quickly debunked as a false picture. She can’t even eat a burger without it turning into a national crisis.

Yet, through it all, our girl claps back. A video from her college days resurfaced as a weapon against her. Her crime? Dancing. No, not pole dancing, not twerking or popping, just regular skipping about on a roof. Leftists seemed to agree that it provided very concrete evidence of why such a silly, unprofessional woman is unfit to be in Congress. In response, AOC posted a video on Instagram of her shaking her groove thang in the White House, and I will never stop fangirling over it.

 

Determination Nation

During the infamous government shutdown, everything went on pause. It was a frustrating 35 days and many hands were tied in Congress, but AOC and her Congress freshman comrades were not content to sit quietly. On day 26, they went to the man in charge (at least of this part) Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, with a letter urging him to hold a vote on House-passed bills to reopen the government. When they showed up to his office in the Capitol, he was nowhere to be found. Then he was nowhere to be found in his other office in the Russell, or in the cloak room, or on the Senate floor, which begged the question, “Where’s Mitch?”

The question turned viral, with Congress members and citizens posting #WheresMitch all over social media. In the end, they gave their letter to McConnell’s deputy chief of staff, Don Stewart, who promised it would be delivered. Just goes to show, you can’t take no for an answer.

 

Telling it like it is

President Trump delivered his State of the Union address in early February, and AOC and her ladies SHOWED UP. Democratic Representative women came in a sea of white clothing to honor the suffragettes. She also sported her classic red lipstick and maybe that’s why all the critics were so focused on what her mouth was doing: not smiling. Peggy Noonan, a conservative columnist and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, considered the SOTU a “bad night” for AOC, on account of her “looking not spirited, warm and original as usual but sullen, teenaged and at a loss.” This shallow attack represents a lot of the gendered criticisms women in power often face--that they are to be pleasant and charming at all times. What Noonan had obviously forgotten was who she was dealing with. AOC clapped back at Noonan on Twitter: "Why should I be 'spirited and warm' for this embarrassment of a #SOTU? Tonight was an unsettling night for our country."

Photo via Refinery29.com

 

I share AOC’s question--what was AOC supposed to be so happy about? She’s looking at a man spouting off the literal antithesis of her own values: scapegoating immigrants and disregarding the environmental emergency we are currently facing. The only time she stood to cheer was when Trump highlighted the increased diversity in Congress. A little ironic, of course, considering the flood of new women in government was a direct response in spite of President Trump’s election.

After the SOTU, AOC was not trying to sugarcoat. "The president failed to offer any plan, any vision at all, for our future," Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter, "We’re flying without a pilot. And I‘m not here to comfort anyone about that fact."

 

Ama-GONE

Amazon had plans to create a new NYC headquarters in the neighborhood of Long Island City in Queens. While new corporate outlets are often praised and supported for offering new jobs, we should also be wary of them causing gentrification in the communities they enter. Gentrification is a process in which low income neighborhoods are renovated and improved through infrastructure and business expansion. The problem is that instead of helping the low-income people that live there, it often drives them out. This happens because the improvements to the area also increase the cost of living in that area. If someone already living there cannot keep up with rent increases, they will be forced to move instead of reaping the benefits.  

Resisting gentrification is why lawmakers, unions, and local civil rights groups fought to keep Amazon out of Long Island. Amazon released a statement which included that “A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward.”

Once the Battle was won, AOC tweeted: “Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.” Snaps to that!

 

Fair Wages Start at Home

AOC recently announced that she will not allow anyone who works for her full-time to earn below $52 thousand a year, making it one of the highest entry-level salaries in Congress and my only question is--is she hiring?

Photo via Refinery29.com

Posting a brief explanation on Instagram, AOC expressed the outrage she felt while finding out how many full-time employees were forced to pick up second jobs just to afford the cost of living. She continued to explain how this contributes to a lack of socioeconomic diversity in politics because in order to work in the nation’s capital, you need a certain amount of financial security. This is why, in Ocasio-Cortez’s words, “many spaces in government can feel like a silver spoon club,” it is because an average American wouldn’t be able to live off of their important government job, which is crazy!

So this new budgeting seems fair, right? Pretty reasonable? Well, wait until you hear what Fox and Friends had to say about it. In a short segment, they called AOC’s plan an act of communism, and criticized her for reducing the salary of her higher officials. They were offended that those in more executive positions were sacrificing for the lower positions, even though each House Representative receives a set budget to pay their staff. However, fairly distributed wages are one of AOC’s top priorities in office and in the Green New Deal that she has advocated so heavily, which we’ll talk about in a second. why wouldn’t she start with her own staff?

 

The Deal with the Deal

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is literally here to save the world. Her commitment to spreading awareness for environmental efforts has been clear, and to make it happen, there is the Green New Deal. She has been able to gain attention for the Green New Deal and rise its support to 81% in the polls.

So, what’s the deal with the Deal? Basically, the reform will tackle climate change and income inequality over the next decade. One of the biggest ways they plan to do it is by transitioning the U.S. to 100% clean energy and providing the training for green jobs. Having totally clean energy means that within the next ten years, we could have greenhouse gas emissions of net-zero. Greenhouse gases are the biggest contributors to global warming, so cutting them out is an absolute necessity.

Varshini Prakash, founder and executive director of Sunrise Movement, said, "The historic support for this resolution, especially among 2020 contenders, shows how far the movement has shifted the political conversation. The Green New Deal is now a litmus test for progressive leadership in 2019." It’s pretty exciting stuff, and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Photo via John Lamparski/Getty Images