Embrace the AOC Revolution

Tivas Gupta, Op-Ed Editor

It’s worth starting off this opinion piece by noting that I agree with almost none of the policies that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has aligned herself with in her freshman term in Congress. It may appear odd, then, that I chose to defend her in this segment. However, while I may not appreciate what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has done in office, I certainly do appreciate how she has done it. Far from defending her politics, I believe that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an important type of politician in Washington today: honest, transparent, and unbound by the political constraints which seem to shackle our entire government. When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was nominated in her upset victory, her platform was broadcast across the entire nation. Ideas like Medicare for All, progressive taxation, and (infamously) the Green New Deal suddenly went from a socialist’s pipe dream to the forefront of the public discourse. When I read her platform, I quickly dismissed it and assumed that the young congresswomen would be shut down by the more entrenched, “realistic” politicians in Washington. To her credit, the opposite occurred. She pressured several Democrats to support her Green New Deal, and is currently today fighting tooth and nail for her ideas. While I believe the policy solutions in this legislation are laughable, I respect the commitment to push them in Washington and not settle for meaningless posturing. The congresswoman has made it impossible for anyone in DC to ignore her voice, and for that she has my respect. The platitudes surrounding Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez don’t end there. She has 3.4 million followers on Twitter, more than Nancy Pelosi and many other significant political figures. More importantly, she uses this social media to share her opinion on every issue and give us an inside look into her role as a congresswoman, showing what greater transparency in politics can look like. Furthermore, in a deeply blue district, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t need to waste time with fundraising or worry about every word she says. She can be an honest politician, focused on politics. Now, despite her accomplishments, many have found valid and invalid ways to challenge the trailblazer congresswomen. Those on the right have had their expected complaints, but more surprisingly, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has seen criticism with her behavior from Democrats as well. Many argue that she needs to learn the ropes before taking charge. She has faced accusations of risking blue seats in more moderate districts by her extreme ideas. But here is the truth: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez owes the Democrats nothing. Her brand of democratic socialism is only tangentially tied to the party anyway. The criticism of her behavior and actions in Congress stems from the same attitude that has led to such entrenchment, inefficiency, and corruption in our government today. I honestly hope Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez never becomes president. I would probably be happy if she never passed a bill. But I want a future where our politicians can be anyone, where our citizens can be encouraged run for office and create real change. Right now, that future is embodied by a 29 year old woman from New York. For that, the AOC revolution is one worth embracing.