Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV.
In the early days of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s career, she seemed very likable. A down-to-earth young woman from the Bronx determined to bring a fresh, younger perspective on social issues to congress. However, over the years it has become quite clear that her style of politics is hollow.
Instead of fixing things, she uses emotional currency as vitriol to fuel her fandom. Social media has especially enabled our leaders to create spectacles and dramatic, emotive circumstances that reframe their authority into emotional activism rather than political action. It makes her come across as if she is still a part of the working-class and not an actual member of congress with the power to do something. In short, she has become a stunt queen.
In June of 2018, she, along with others, visited a migrant tent shelter supposedly as a protest against the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy as a crackdown on illegal migrants crossing the border. In images taken during the protest, she looked as if she was distraught about the situation and even crying in some of them. Despite the pictures and her tweeting about it, there have been few substantial policies put forward when she subsequently took office regarding immigration reform.
In September 2021, AOC attended the Met Gala in a bizarre long white gown with the words “Tax The Rich” written in red. The sheer irony of her being surrounded by influential rich people while parading a garment with such a statement defies logic. To add more insult to injury, this allegedly occurred just a few weeks after she abandoned Amazon union workers due to a supposed security threat. It is another empty gesture with no real action behind it.
A few days later, AOC was pictured crying after hastily changing her vote from “no” to “present” during a vote about a bill funding Israel’s Iron Dome defense system (which she claims to oppose). She later explained her actions, but it did not take away from the fact that she chose to vote the way she did.
In mid-July, AOC shared a video of comedian and troll Alex Stein “harassing” her as she walked up the capitol stairs. In the video, Stein yells out about AOC being his favorite big booty Latina although she likes to kill babies. As one spectator put it, the appropriate response would be throwing up the peace sign and laughing it off, as she did. Then maybe realizing she could capitalize on the situation, she proceeded to make several Instagram videos ranting about how the Capitol police officers did not do enough to protect her.
In AOC’s latest stunt, she and several other democratic members of congress protested in front of the Supreme Court over the court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade. One of Ilhan Omar’s spokespeople, Jeremy Slevin, tweeted about her and the other congress members “participating in civil disobedience,” approximately 30 minutes before news of their arrests made headlines. However, multiple images and videos that made news headlines made the incident seem more dramatic than it was. AOC and Omar both walked away with their hands behind their backs as if they were handcuffed during the arrest. Other details from that day show that they were simply escorted away from the main area of the protest and issued a $50 fine.
AOC even admitted that the point of going to the protest was to get arrested, but she insisted it wasn’t a publicity stunt, the Washington Examiner reported.
Understandably, she comes from an activist background. But AOC acts more like a political influencer than a politician. Her demonstrations are hollow. It’s all publicity, no substantial policy. We are past the age of “protesting” to just draw attention to issues. It is time for leaders to step up and enact real change.
Although she is very popular, she has been declared one of the least effective members of congress by a 2021 study conducted by the Center for Effective Lawmaking. According to the organization, which uses computer code and information from Congress.gov, none of her bills ever gained floor votes, committee consideration, or were ever signed into law. It’s as if the dramatics are just for show.
While I’m sure I could apply this framing to other politicians, AOC has a special way of victimizing herself and making things all about her during crises. Further, her antics would not be so nauseating if they didn’t fly in the face of everything she portrays herself to be about. Her crying about being heckled on the capitol steps by Stein after making fun of Justice Brett Kavanaugh fleeing protesters is a sign of disconnect. Her being dramatic and crying as a victim of January 6th, after she herself protested outside Nancy Pelosi’s office with protestors in 2018, is beyond parody. She needs to quit the dramatics and stunts and grow up.
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