AOC: The progressive victim that roared

It might be easy to dismiss Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s constant complaining and claims of victimhood were she not illustrative of the progressive movement in general, where even the highest of the high, including the President himself feigns powerlessness and pretends he’s merely a victim of events.

Life is very difficult for progressive firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  We know this because she constantly shares her struggles on social media, broadcasting them to her millions of followers and beyond, in solidarity with the common folk.  For example, she recently griped about having trouble with money.  “It’s insanely expensive, there is no stipend or per diem for it, and you’re not allowed to write it off even though your job forces you to have it. This creates real class dynamics in the House,” she wrote on Instagram. “Many sleep in their offices, but if you are caught, it could get bad for many reasons, including violations.”  Of course, the Congresswoman from New York fails to mention that makes $174,000 per year, more than double the median income in the United States of $67,521.  This is supplemented by a Members Representational Allowance of over $1,000,000 annually that can be used for “official expenses” including travel, office supplies, and staff, making her life hardly the stuff of a Charles Dickens novel, even with two apartments.  Somehow, American families manage to make ends meet on far less, but that doesn’t prevent her from sounding one step away from the poor house.  “I rent in both cities. It’s so so much,” she wrote. “We have to find a new apartment in NYC soon and I’m STRESSED. Rent is wild and the idea of [apartment] searching and moving while legislating and campaigning is yikes.” The “we” is her fiancee, meaning their combined income is likely well over $250,000 per year. If she’s not quite the 1%, she’s as close as can be.

Finances aren’t the only problem on the poor Congresswoman’s mind either.  She’s also deeply concerned about the attention she receives from her critics, even from obvious trolls looking for a laugh and a few views on their social channels.  Last week, the comedian Alex Stein from BlazeTV was doing his thing at the Capitol, heckling lawmakers for the amusement of the public.   He encountered Ms. Ocasio-Cortez as she walked up the steps and filmed himself heckling her with a little cat-calling and commentary on her radical pro-abortion stance.  Mr. Stein was holding the camera himself, placing him in the foreground with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez somewhere in the background, at least 15 to 20 feet away throughout most of the exchange.  He said she was “sexy,” his “favorite big booty Latina,” and “beautiful” even though she “kills babies.”  One might call it a little crude, but certainly nothing too controversial for a man who describes himself as a right wing “comedian” and “professional troll” who has 250,000 followers on YouTube.  The media, of course, immediately described it as nothing short of racist sexual harassment, as close to an assault as one could get without physical contact. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was equally enraged, blaming Congress and the Capitol Police for, horror of horrors, allowing a US citizen to film himself on the steps of the Capitol Building and poke fun at Representatives and Senators.  She took to Twitter to voice her frustrations, saying, “I posted about a deeply disgusting incident that happened today on the Capitol steps, but took it down bc it’s clearly someone seeking extremist fame.  It’s just a bummer to work in an institution that openly allowed this, but talking about it only invites more. Just really sad.”  She posted the video itself and claimed she was close to getting violent, “Here is a video he posted of the incident. I was actually walking over to deck him because if no one will protect us then I’ll do it myself but I needed to catch a vote more than a case today.” Later, she claimed that Mr. Stein was somehow threatening.

Note to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez:  You work for the United States government and there is a little thing called the First Amendment that allows free speech.  It’s kind of a thing, you know as the first Amendment to the Constitution and all.  You were not physically threatened in any way, touched by anyone, or even directly confronted.  No law was broken, or even close.  What were the Capitol Police supposed to do, taze the guy?  Cuff him and throw him in jail?  The irony is rich when you consider that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a fierce advocate for police reform, if not outright defunding.  Last year, she savaged police across the United States in the wake of the killing of Daunte Wright.  “Daunte Wright’s killing was not a random, disconnected ‘accident’ – it was the repeated outcome of an indefensible system that grants impunity for state violence,” she wrote on Twitter.  “Cameras, chokehold bans, ‘retraining’ funds, and similar reform measures do not ultimately solve what is a systemic problem,” she continued.  “That system will find a way – killings happen on camera, people are killed in other ways, retraining grows $ while often substituting for deeper measures.”  Now, however, she wants to unleash that same system of state violence on a comedian for the crime of a few crude comments.  Nor does Ms. Ocasio-Cortez exhibit much sympathy for conservative government officials when they are harassed in their own homes, private restaurants, or even the subject of an assassination attempt.  Recently, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was forced to leave a Morton’s Steakhouse in Washington, DC after protestors spontaneously gathered outside.  She belittled the incident on Twitter, writing “Poor guy. He left before his soufflé because he decided half the country should risk death if they have an ectopic pregnancy within the wrong state lines. It’s all very unfair to him.  The least they could do is let him eat cake.”  This is after police arrested a man outside Justice Kavanaugh’s home for plotting an assassination attempt, and after she voted against funding to protect justices from these kinds of threats.  Sometimes, she calls for these protests to be uncomfortable herself, saying that is the point, except when it’s applied to her at a much smaller scale.

Generally speaking, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t respond well to criticism either.  Last winter, she and her boyfriend were photographed on vacation in Florida.  Normally, this wouldn’t be news, except Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had spent much of the previous 18 months trashing any state with lax coronavirus safety protocols in her view.  She’d long been a staunch advocate of masks and other measures, having previously slammed the state of Texas for rescinding their mandate.  “93.2% of Texans aren’t fully vaccinated. The state just endured one disaster worsened by selfishness + denial of basic science, and now conditions are being set for another,” she tweeted. “Repealing the mask mandate now endangers so many people, especially essential workers & the vulnerable.”  There she was, however, completely maskless, in crowded places, hugging and yukking it up with total strangers, including a visit to a drag bar.  Conservative commentator Steve Cortez pointed out the obvious, and took a cheap shot at her boyfriend in the process.  “1. If Leftists like AOC actually thought mandates and masking worked, they wouldn’t be frolicking in free FL.  2. Her guy is showing his gross pale male feet in public (not at a pool/beach) with hideous sandals.  O for 2…”  Ms. Ocasio-Cortez responded by taking a cheap shot at all Republicans, claiming that her critics all secretly want to date her.  “If Republicans are mad they can’t date me they can just say that instead of projecting their sexual frustrations onto my boyfriend’s feet.  Ya creepy weirdos.”  She wasn’t finished yet, either.  Somehow, criticism of her blatant hypocrisy and poking fun at her boyfriend was transformed into a statement on women and the LGBT+ community in general.  “It’s starting to get old ignoring the very obvious, strange, and deranged sexual frustrations that underpin the Republican fixation on me, women, & LGBT+ people in general.  These people clearly need therapy, won’t do it, and use politics as their outlet instead. It’s really weird.”

It might be easy to dismiss Ms. Ocasio-Cortez as an equally weird product of our times.  She commands a large social media following that hangs on her every word, wields massive amounts of power from a perch in Congress, and enjoys an income the average American never hopes to earn, but still spends most of her time complaining about how hard she has it.  She is an American elite, enjoying the benefits of the most powerful country on Earth, a success story if ever there was one, and yet she cannot escape seeing herself as a victim, subject to malign forces undercutting her munificence and interfering with her genius, even recently resorting to pretending she was handcuffed by police at a protest over the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.   This is progressivism writ large in the modern era, where some of the most privileged and powerful people in the known universe, what one would generally call the oppressors, somehow have come to convince themselves they are indeed the oppressed.  This warped worldview has affected every aspect of progressive politics, applying to figures large and small.  On the smaller side of the spectrum, we were all recently treated to a near-endless tantrum from a Washington Post reporter who objected that her employer “allowed” a colleague to post an off-color joke on Twitter and promptly delete it.  Note the similar language to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, essentially suggesting that people shouldn’t be permitted to do the things they disagree with in a call for enforced conformity, a soul crushing enterprise by any standard.  Felicia Somnez isn’t as powerful as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, but a cushy job at one of the most prestigious news organizations in the world is nothing to scoff at.  Once upon a time, it might have been enough for someone to display the self-respect, courteousness, and decorum to avoid unloading on colleagues for days on end over a joke, but no longer.

Sadly, can we expect anything different when the largest of the large suffer the same affliction?  The President of the United States himself is often depicted as little more than a powerless victim.  Last week, First Lady Jill Biden came to her husband’s flailing defense at an event in Nantucket, offering a litany of excuses and painting the President as a bullied middle-school student overwhelmed by events, hopes dashed against a cold, hard reality and all that. “[The President] had so many hopes and plans for things he wanted to do, but every time you turned around, he had to address the problems of the moment,” she whined to about two dozen attendees at a private home.  “He’s just had so many things thrown his way,” she continued. “Who would have ever thought about what happened [with the Supreme Court overturning] Roe v Wade? Well, maybe we saw it coming, but still we didn’t believe it. The gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling. We didn’t see the war in Ukraine coming.”  Nor is President Biden the only victim in this framing.  The First Lady herself is no different. “I was saying to myself, ‘Okay, I was second lady. I worked on community colleges. I worked on military families. I’ve worked on cancer.’ They were supposed to be my areas of focus. But then when we got [in the White House,] I had to be, with all that was happening, the first lady of the moment.”  Does anyone think this is anything but embarrassing beyond belief coming from the most powerful couple on planet Earth?  The poor dears had so many “hopes” that were overwhelmed by events and those nasty Republicans.  We should all shed a tear for the President, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and the rest:  Drunk with wealth, power, and privilege, they can’t help but lash out at everyone else for failing to live up to their standards.  Earlier, I said it was progressivism writ large, but there’s nothing large about it.  Small is a much better word to describe these people.

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