When the 2019 U.S. Congress began, there were 89 freshpeople in the House of Representatives.
By that, I do not mean that they were rude, or that they were picked just as they got ripe. I mean that they were new to the House, and that I don’t know if I’m allowed to use the word “freshman” anymore.
Among the new folks in the HoR, there are plenty of lawyers, of course. (There are plenty of lawyers everywhere, unfortunately.) Businesspeople abound as well. The military is well-represented, as are folks who had served in elected positions on the state level. There are two former NFL football players and one guy from California whose major qualification seems to be that he won the lottery. There is also a pediatrician who, given the way these politicians sometimes act, might be called upon to treat her colleagues.
And in case some members of Congress haven’t had enough to drink, one of the new members of Congress used to be a bartender.
Chances are, no matter where you live, if you were able to name a neophyte representative at all, it was likely that very bartender. And it’s not because she has been seen serving mint juleps to Lindsey Graham (although he could probably use a few).
I’m referring, of course, to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youthful representative from New York’s 14th District, who has already made quite a name for herself. Well, she hasn’t made a name for herself, exactly; what she has done is make a monogram for herself. Because she’s the only member of Congress known mostly by her initials: AOC.
People are already talking about AOC running for president at some time in the future. She can’t run in 2020 since she’s young enough to be Joe Biden’s granddaughter and the Constitution won’t allow it. She wouldn’t want to run now anyway; there are so many Democrats already running that, if the candidates were candles, AOC would almost have enough for her next birthday cake, if she didn’t mind blowing out Beto O’Rourke’s hair.
While “President Ocasio-Cortez” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, it would be nice to have an initialized president again in the grand Democratic tradition of FDR, JFK and LBJ. Why do you think we don’t we refer to presidents that way anymore? Wouldn’t you feel better about a president named DJT rather than “asshole” or “lunatic?”
AOC can be genuine and endearing, as when she responded to Republican attempts to trivialize her by posting a video of her dancing in college. She quickly Instagrammed a response: an impromptu video of herself dancing in the halls of Congress. “I’m a regular person,” she seemed to be saying,“unlike my colleagues.”
She can also come across as being very serious, like when she wears her eyeglasses and tries to save the world with a New Green Deal. But she wears her glasses so inconsistently, a Republican might suppose she does so just to look serious. (A normal person, on the other hand, might assume she otherwise wears contacts.)
Republicans and the conservative media are ready to pounce on any mistake AOC might make. That’s a lot of pressure for a woman from a generation that mostly still does laundry at their parents’ house. Given that she is under such a microscope, she probably should abstain from doing things like weighing in on contestants who appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Even Americans who are accepting of all sexual orientations might think that people in Congress have better things to do than watch RuPaul’s Drag Race.
On the other hand, it might be better for the country if DJT watched more RuPaul and less Fox News.
Speaking of which, poor AOC has to wake up every morning to learn of the latest death threats against her, especially after her name gets mentioned on Fox News, which it is often, and almost never in a complimentary fashion. She even got threats after the Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team showed a Memorial Day tribute film which inexplicably and unforgivably inserted AOC’s picture between Kim Jong-Un’s and Fidel Castro’s while the audio was Ronald Reagan talking about “enemies of freedom.”*
When she heard about that, I bet the initials that came to AOC’s mind were “WTF!”
In conclusion, let me say that I hope AOC is able to get some stuff done before she gets disillusioned . . . or killed . . . or decides to return to her previous job as she did recently to call attention to the need for a higher minimum wage. I wouldn’t want her to flame out like a once-hot company that becomes irrelevant. It would be shame if AOC ended up like AOL
I welcome politicians with energy and optimism and fresh points of view, and who are not beholden to lobbyists, and who are young enough to actually care about the future. Maybe there’s hope for millennials after all. Although I sincerely hope they stop using emojis.
See you soon.