So Donald Trump says he wants to “make America great again.” As part of this program, he wants to build a wall at the border with Mexico. He also already has issued an executive order prohibiting admission to the country of persons travelling from several Muslim majority countries (although not those that he does business with, of course.)

The clear implication of these ideas is that only white Christians make America great. Comes now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a new, insurgent, Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Brooklyn, New York. She is 28 years old, barely old enough to serve (the Constitution requires members of the House of Representatives to be at least 25 years old), and knocked off a long serving incumbent in the Democratic primary to win a reliably Democratic seat. She is a democratic socialist, having campaigned for Bernie Sanders, the man who made “democratic socialist” a household term by running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

NPR described her as a “woman of color,” but she could pass for white, albeit Hispanic white, which is an official category in the United States, after all. Her parents are both Puerto Rican, although her father grew up in the Bronx. In a campaign ad, she said of herself that she is not the sort of person who is supposed to run for office. She pointed to her modest family background and said that she is from a place where zip code determines destiny. But she won by running in a heavily immigrant district on a decidedly leftist program — calling for medicare and higher education for all, and for the abolition of ICE, and emphasizing direct contact with her future constituents. She criticizes the Democratic Party for taking voters like those in her district for granted and offered them a more attentive alternative.

Now she is in Washington, D.C., starting her career as a member of the House of Representatives and is already making waves. She has tweeted that her health insurance as a House member costs less than what she was paying before she won election.

She has criticized the orientation she is getting as a new member of the House.

She has had to push back repeatedly against ridiculous “conservative” fear mongering about her.

b

Trump and his ilk will never admit it, but Ocasio-Cortez is a very American figure, the new Alexander Hamilton, and she is doing more to make America great than any fat, white, Republican man ever thought about.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store