It’s one of those days in which I waited too late to pick out a writing topic. Therefore, I invite you to read this. It’s a good summation of the AOC phenomenon, if a pessimistic one.
The true moment when the game was up and Ocasio-Cortez was reduced to a footnote in history came silently. Ironically, the woman didn’t have to utter a word.
The fatal blow came during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union, a moment that has proved a make-or-break outing for many politicians. Specifically, it occurred when President Trump, in one of the more unifying rhetorical moments of the night, called for Washington to “embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.” Even Pelosi had to stand up and clap, albeit half sarcastically.
But when the cameras cut to AOC, it was like watching a sped-up timelapse of a rose withering. I do not say that AOC withered before our eyes because she failed to smile or present herself as a nice, non-threatening girl. The vapid smile of a frightened young thing trying to placate her boss would have been equally pathetic. But smiles are not always flashed to show acquiescence: sometimes they are an excuse to bare one’s teeth.
It is not just that AOC did not smile prettily. Neither did she sneer, or smirk—both of which would’ve been even more aggressive reactions. The problem was that she gave no evidence of the unruffled defiance that had characterized her persona up to that point. All the sassy, irrepressible, happy warrior routine of the previous few months had dissipated. In their place crouched the persona of a sullen, hostile, and flustered teenager—made all the more absurd by the none-too-subtle Superhero-style cape that she had worn for the occasion. Before our eyes, Supergirl transformed into a low budget Supergirl cosplayer still trying, absurdly, to glare daggers at Lex Luthor.
There’s a lot more, including a dispatching of Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. And from that topic comes the pessimism.
The poisonous utopian dream (…) will be expressed by voices more successful because more careful and skillful than AOC’s. It will come from people much harder to confound and goad into incoherence.
Sadly, the writer is correct. Our job: to keep watch and to push back.
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