Clothes Do Not Make the Woman

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by Mark Peterson

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran an impressive, insurgent campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She beat an incumbent whom one source described as the most powerful politician in Queens County and the fourth ranking member of the House Democratic leadership. Her parents are Puerto Rican. She was waiting tables in a taco restaurant not long before she started her run for the House. Hers is a very American story, in the best sense. She does not need the validation of any “white” person.

Running as she did in a reliably Democratic district — the neighborhood she lives in is in the Bronx and is mostly African American, Hispanic, and South Asian, not people whom the Republican Party has much to offer to — her Republican opponent was not a serious contender.

She is now the youngest woman ever to win election to the House of Representatives. Shortly after the election, when she was clearly the new representative from her district, she announced that she would not be able to afford to rent an apartment in Washington, D.C. until she started receiving her salary as a member of the House. Of course, Faux “News” tried to raise doubts about the veracity of her claim.

She is explicitly a Democratic Socialist and has U.S. “conservatives” in an uproar. The hysteria with which they keep ordinary people in the United States from recognizing their own best interests, dating back to the days when white plutocrats whipped out naked racism to stop the Populists (the real Populists) from organizing black farmers, has come out in full force to try to demonize Ocasio-Cortez and her socialist politics.

So she has now appeared in D.C. for orientation as a new member of the House of Representatives. A “conservative” reporter tweeted a photo of her walking down a hallway, commenting that her clothing looked too expensive for a woman who claims to be in financial straits.

To borrow a term, this is class warfare, the Congressional dress code version of sniping at the groceries people buy with their food stamps. It is entirely consistent with the typical Republican tactic since Nixon of persuading ordinary people that anti poverty programs only serve to transfer the incomes of hard working white people to lazy black and brown people, never mind that, necessarily, white people actually derive most of the benefits from all public welfare programs. Obfuscation in service of oligarchy plain and simple.

Ocasio-Cortez is an impressive young woman who has achieved something most people never will at a very early age. Sniping at her for what she’s wearing is sexist, classist, and stupid.

But it’s the best “conservatives” can come up with.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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