March 06, 2019
The Democratic Representative believes her opponents are trying to use misogyny as a political weapon against her progressive policies to try to dismiss her as no more than a social media phenomenon.
But the 29-year-old Bronx native is more than willing to fight back. She always knew that her mission as a Congresswoman wasn’t going to be an easy one, as she told the New Yorker in an exclusive interview.
Ocasio-Cortez has only been in office for two months, but her incendiary use of social media and her political ideas, deemed too “radical” by her critics, have turned her into the right’s favorite target.
The young politician is aware that she is upsetting the system not only with her left-leaning proposals but also because of her humble origins, her ethnicity and for being a strong and independent woman.
“I’ve got a full-time job in Congress and then I moonlight as America’s greatest villain, or as the new hope. And it’s pretty tiring. I’m just a normal person. I knew that I was not going to be liked. I’m a Democrat. I’m a woman. I’m a young woman. A Latina. And I’m a liberal, a D.S.A. member.”
-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, The New York Times, March 3, 2019.
As Ashley Reese wrote for Jezebel, “in politics, women are often either characterized as hideous harpies like Hillary Clinton or pretty idiots whose ‘craziness’ is bound up with their sex appeal… To her critics, Ocasio-Cortez is firmly in the pretty idiot category.”
According to Ocasio-Cortez, this reduction of female politicians to negative stereotypes is a strategy to try to undermine their influence and discourse while lacking arguments against them. It is something they do out of fear.
“The idea that a woman can be as powerful as a man is something that our society can’t deal with. But I am as powerful as a man and it drives them crazy,” is her response to this.
“I believe health care is a right and people should be paid enough to live. Those are offensive values to them. But this ravenous hysteria—it’s really getting to a level that is kind of out of control,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
What is considered by many the right’s “obsession” with Ocasio-Cortez has reached the highest ranks of the Republican Party and the Trump Administration, with members of the Trump family attacking her in the media.
Currently, the most visible project Ocasio-Cortez is pushing for is her Green New Deal proposal, which calls for an ambitious ten-year program to face the urgent challenges brought about by climate change and inequality.
Her detractors have caricatured the proposal as silly or something coming out of a dream by Stalin, with both Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump questioning the proposal with sarcasm and strong words.
Back in December, Donald Trump Jr. used a picture of Ocasio-Cortez to make fun of her so-called “socialism” by stating, “Americans want to walk their dogs, not eat them.”
More recently, Ivanka Trump addressed the Green New Deal in a televised interview, claiming that most Americans are not up for a “guaranteed minimum” wage.
In response to this, Ocasio-Cortez cited her own experience as someone who “actually worked” for “hourly wages” during her life, as opposed to Ivanka, to defend a living wage as a right, not as a gift.
“The idea that a woman can be as powerful as a man is something that our society can’t deal with. But I am as powerful as a man and it drives them crazy.”
During the Conservative Political Action Conference, President Trump himself referred to the Green New Deal as something ludicrous, in tune with his belief that climate change is just a hoax.
“New Green Deal or whatever the hell they call it… I encourage it. I think it’s really something Democrats should promote… No planes! No energy! When the wind stops blowing, that’s the end of your electric,” he was quoted with saying.
Ocasio-Cortez, as expected, was not having any of the President’s mockery, and she says she understands why he fears and despises everything she represents.
“I can see Trump being enormously upset that a twenty-nine-year-old Latina, who is the daughter of a domestic worker, is helping to build the case to get his financial records. I think that adds insult to injury to him,” she said.