The name of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sends shivers down the spines of Trump conservatives who either fear or hate people like her. And they should be fearful, she is a 29 year old woman from Queens who is not afraid as she is well educated and well experienced with a degree from Boston University. And on top of that with a degree in economics and international relations, she is about to gain two years of experience in one of the most coveted environments that will help her hone her skills in a most authentic and difficult space in the world, in one of the most turbulent times this country has experienced.
Just researching and writing this piece made me realize that they should not be fearful or hateful, they should be terrified and in panic mode. She can rally her constituency on New York’s 14th Congressional District, Queens quickly and passionately. How important is her presence? Let’s see, all I knew about Queens before Representative Ocasio-Cortez was that Queens, NY, is certainly a place where musical artists abound. Now, many progressives are looking to that New York borough for more authentic political leadership. Representative Ocasio-Cortez has immediately become a lighting rod of inspiration for the progressives and the activists.
She is not necessarily a Horatio Alger story and she should not have to be in order to get the support and respect of anyone who understands the sacrifices her family has made and the work she has done to prepare herself for the opportunity to represent. One reason her constituents believe those she is an authentic kindred spirit is that she knows the other side, the side of the waitresses and their parents. She knows the truth from the side of those under siege from the current administration and those people that make up his army.
By referring to Representative Ocasio-Cortez as a “shiny object”, outgoing Missouri Democratic Senator Claire Conner McCaskill, she has reminded us that as liberal as some democrats present themselves to be, many still need to understand what inclusion and diversity means; equity is not a passive word. In some cases, they do not care to be inclusive.
It is critical that all remember that these new congress people need to hear from their constituents and they also need to be given an opportunity to explain why they do what they do. In a Democracy, the constituents also need to give feedback and participate fully on decisions and that means they must all stay informed. As representative in California’s 43rd congressional district, Maxine Waters said, she is doing what she can, but we also must do it, not just put it on them, governance is all our responsibility.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not an impostor for anyone to fear. She is a bridge, an opportunity for all of us to aspire to more. For youth of color, its about seeing their own potential, for the middle aged on her side, it is an opportunity to act.