Posted Monday morning, July 30, 2018.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, soon to be representing New York’s 14th Congressional district in Washington, already representing a future in which Trump voters can’t imagine having a place for themselves. Image courtesy of CNN.
Ana Navarro, the conservative commentator, Republican strategist, and vehemently anti-Trumper, tweeted the other day her bafflement at what she’s noticed is a new obsession of Right Wingers:
Why so much crazy against A. Ocasio-Cortez & “Democratic Socialism”, whatever the hell that is? I don’t get the Right’s [eerie] obsession w/her. She worked awful hard. She beat a guy who took his eye off the ball, took reelection for granted. She represents only 1 of 435 districts.
A Ocasio-Cortez is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the underdog challenger to longtime New York City Congressman Joe Crowley who defeated Crowley in the Democratic primary last month, which means, given she’s a Democrat and it’s New York, she’s very likely going to be representing her district in the House come January 1, 2019.
I’m not sure which Right Wingers Navarro means by the Right, conservative members of the political media---journalists, pundits, commentators, on-air and online and in print---or loons showing up in her Twitter feed, or Trump voters in general making their crazy known through the various platforms and outlets Navarro’s keyed into, or all of the above. Probably all of the above and I’ll bet there’s an awful lot of them and for every one of them there’s a few thousand of equally crazy and obsessed Right Wingers out there. But, like I said, I’m not sure whom she means. I am fairly certain Navarro meant her tweet as rhetorical and she knows the answer lies partly in the pronoun “she” and the phrase “beat a guy” and in Ocasio-Cortez’s last name.
Dollars will get you donuts, the hyphen especially drives them crazy.
But I’d add to the answer that her gender and ethnic background taken with her age---Ocasio-Cortez is only twenty-nine---drives them crazy because it makes her representative of a future in which they see themselves as having no place. A near future. One they’ll live to see. Feel themselves already living in, in fact.
But their inability to see themselves as having a place in her future makes sense when you consider that they came of age not seeing someone like her having a place in their present.
Probably because they didn’t have to and still don’t have to see people like her walking around and taking part in “their” present.
Little while back, Vox’s Matthew Yglesias tweeted his own rhetorical bafflement at Right Wing Republicans terror at the thought of non-English speaking brown-skinned people wanting to live in the United States:
For all the talk of liberal bubbles, it can’t be said enough that the anti-immigrant panic is being led by people who have little personal experience living alongside immigrants and immigrant communities.
Yeah. About that bubble. The great but hardly silent majority of Trump voters, which is to say, the great majority of Republicans live in places where just about everybody is white and just about everybody is Christian and just about all those Christians are Protestants. By immigrants they mean Mexicans and by Mexicans they mean any brown-skinned foreign type who speaks Spanish---except for Cubans whom they almost certainly can’t tell from Nicaraguans like Navarro and Puerto Ricans like Ocasio-Cortez’s mother---and by the way it would hardly be surprising if they think Ocasio-Cortez is an immigrant herself. She’s not. She was born in the Bronx. Neither was her father. Neither is her mother who was born in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican is part of the United States. You have to point that out because a lot of people here on the mainland don’t seem to know it, including the 2010 Republican candidate for Governor of New York State, the state that has the largest population of people with a Puerto Rican background. You’d think a would-be governor of the state would make it his business to know that fact.
At any rate, the immigrant “invasion” has caused an existential crisis they weren’t prepared for by their religion, education, or personal experience. It didn’t figure in their talks around the family dinner table or in conversations at the local diner where, according to elite political journalists reporting back from one of their regular explorations of that exotic place known as the Heartland to inform those of us trapped in our liberal bubbles back home in the blue states that---surprise!---partisan voters are still planning to vote partisanly, real Americans spend the entire of every workday morning.
Nobody told them that in the world outside their hometowns, the 20th Century progressed past 1955 and then gave way to the 21st which while clocking off nearly two decades paid little regard to their existence. The news has come to them as a complete shock and surprise.. The stealth arrival of millions of supposed “Americans” like Ocasio-Cortez---non-white, non-Protestant, highly educated---Ocasio-Cortez graduated fourth in her class from Boston University a degree in economics and international relations---and so already a member of the meritocracy that will be running the country for the next fifty years despite their being non-male---has shattered the flattering mirror all human beings make of the world outside their heads and struck them as forcibly as a physical invasion.
There’s something worse and more terrifying happening than Those People, Those Others invading their schools, their neighborhoods, and their workplaces. It’s getting inside their heads and getting in the way of their continuing to think life in the United States is all about them and only for them.