by Fergus Downie
Why Ocasio Cortez thought people like her aren’t supposed to run for Congress in the current febrile climate of DNC politics is one of the greatest mysteries of our time particularly when her mock resume of Latino victimhood gave her a pedestal no stale and pale Democrat incumbent could hope to match.
Like Nancy Pelosi, AOC's opponent Joe Crowley reeked of the mythic white privilege he projected onto blue collar Trump supporters and having whipped up their degenerate form of identity politics, they can hardly complain when they get edged out for the real thing. Cortez needless to say is not quite the real thing. Yorktown heights where she actually grew up is a galaxy removed from the Bronx which she would prefer to identify as her spiritual home, and you don’t in any case have to be that poor to find New York property prices a bit of a pinch. Needless to say, none of this slum tourism has harmed her. Even if she can play down her genteel poverty, she has more than enough millennial traits to shine in a party rapidly descending into student agitprop. Ms Cortez, like the senile relic of infantile leftism she hitched her star to, is a democratic socialist, a fairly anodyne term this side of the pond but one which in the USA is still considered pretty risqué, and whose appeal has been fired less by Hispanic bottle washers than by androgynous adolescents on Ivy League campuses. By the most sober estimates almost half of all millennials now have a favourable vision of socialism but the roots of its appeal are less the burning resentments of class hatred than the kudos of victimhood and the need of a generation brought up in a climate of cultivated vulnerability to embrace big brother.
As a political creed this is little more than adolescence erected into a system of government and nowhere is this more apparent than in the infantile language AOC plies her trade in. Americans of a certain age might remember when socialists were thought to be mysteriously clever, it is such an implausible ideology after all that it takes a lot of educating to believe in it: the current flag bearers by contrast can muster little more than irritable high pitched gestures, and when they veer into geopolitics the results are notably surreal. After being asked to comment on the peace process, Ms Cortez spoke haltingly in quintessential millennial fashion, prefaced her remarks with ‘I guess what I mean’ and drivelled on about an Israeli occupation of Palestine, with an eloquence matched only by Ilhan Omar in her digression on the ‘Iran – Contra’ scandal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZvtMyeUhNc. The finale shines a revealing light on the semi-literate psychic masturbation that passes for thought amongst the new breed of democrat activist.
“I am not the expert at geopolitics on this issue,” she said with a laugh. “I am a firm believer in finding a two-state solution on this issue, and I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both of these — for me, I just look at things through a human-rights lens, and I may not use the right words. I know this is a very intense issue.”
‘Not use the right words’ ? It’s a revealingly childlike remark and someone with her start in life should have been embarrassed to use it. Inarticulacy is a painful thing but the suffering is usually most severe amongst patrons of the welfare state trying to find a shred of dignity when speaking to someone with a tie, and this after all is where most people end up when they trade feelings for serious thinking. Ocasio can afford to be stupid and like many progressives seems to be wrestling with Isaiah Berlin’s eternal dilemma of how to recognise the relative validity of your beliefs but cling unflinchingly to them. She believes emphatically even, or perhaps especially, when she knows little and when all is catharsis who can blame her especially when even an invitation to debate (she has now passed up two generous financial offers to debate Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens) is a micro aggression.
The consequences of this flight from reason have been evident for a while. Full employment is caused by Americans working two jobs and if you raise the ‘tippy-top tax rates’ you spur stratospeheric economic growth. These would have been career ending moments not so long ago, in an age of sincerity and intersectionality they are almost endearing, and it takes someone entirely without white guilt like Candace Owens to state the obvious. AOC is sincere and this is the most worrying thing. Say what you like about the Clintons they had the redeeming quality of being devoid of principle - the current insanity comes with conviction, and God knows what it holds in store for America. In the era of twitter stardom bad ideas spread quick, particularly when feelings are currency and the attention spans are low. Trying to refute them is as easy as punching diarrhoea and about as profitable. Where we will end up as this sea tide of infantile leftism washes over the Democrats is anyone’s guess but perhaps, we might at least acknowledge this is a self-inflicted wound. The American taxpayer has subsidised a gilded and entitled illiteracy on countless campuses across the nation and the obnoxious beneficiaries are now finding their home in a Democratic political establishment which has no real concerns with the bread and butter issues of the working class. Ms Cortez, let it be remembered scored polled higher amongst intersectional college educated whites in Brooklyn than she did amongst the Hispanics who might have wanted the jobs offered up by Amazon’s corporate greed, and her priorities like theirs are invariably intimately personal or conveniently global. The temptation to laugh at Cortez and her child-like gaffes is understandable, but in an age when adult moral authority is declining and we can reasonably expect our political discourse to be dominated by these kind of adolescent spasms, the dangers are real and for all the high pitched feminist airs attached to the cult of AOC, it is worth reminding ourselves that only an entitled woman could get away with it.
G. Murphy Donovan
Now Fergus, AOC might be wearing her politics like a mud pack, a little like tucking you head into your azimuth and complaining about the view. "Semi-literate psychic masturbation," indeed. Describing politics on the American left these days makes one reach into unfathomed depths of hyperbole.
I don't believe she's at all sincere, I believe she's just dazzled by her own tall talk.
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