Considered: The Ocasio-Cortez Dance “Scandal”

Photo by Mark Dillman

If you didn’t catch the rather meteoric rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during the last election cycle, you were probably living under a rock – and indeed, you may have chosen to crawl under one rather than weather an actual increase in political fervor under the Trump Administration. It’s a vital time to participate, but you’ll find no judgments here. Either way, one of the rising stars of a new breed of progressive Democrat, Ocasio-Cortez trounced her opponent, incumbent Joe Crowley, by about 15 percentage points. A former community organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, at 29 she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and therefore also got a huge target painted on her back.

Just to be clear, I’m not a huge fan of hers. Watching her speak, I felt like I was being fed pipe dreams with very little plan to actually enact them. I happen to like all of those pipe dreams, but at 37, I’ve long-learned to be suspicious of anything that doesn’t come with built-in concessions for an opposition that will undoubtedly carve their piece out of any initiative that does manage to sneak into law. Then again, what the hell do I know, I’ve got almost a decade on her and I’m still trying to figure out how to dress myself.

But I’m not here to talk about her politics. Nope, that would make too much sense for a world as nuts as ours. I’m putting finger to key on this one over the pseudo-scandal that arose after someone posted a video on Twitter of Ocasio-Cortez dancing to Phoenix’s Lisztomania in an apparent homage to some 80s films. Personally, I’ve got no clue as to why so many people were doing this, but it was a big trend at the time. What can you do?

The caption on the original post went as follows:

“Here is America’s favorite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is…High School video of ‘Sandy’ Ocasio-Cortez”

Having come from an Anonymous account (@AnonymousQ1776), complete with a silly Guy Fawkes mask and past posts about conspiracy theories, there’s really not a lot to respond to here. This is clearly all about baiting people, and frankly I’d be surprised if the motivation even had anything to do with a political alignment. The media in general may not know what motivates Internet trolls, but I do. Hint: it’s not the joy of sharing your beliefs.

While some are criticizing this as a manufactured dust-up by the left due to the lack of involvement from high profile figures, I question why that matters. Ocasio-Cortez has been attacked from the first day she entered the public conversation, for dressing too nicely, for being poor, you name it. If I’m being honest, it looks a lot like what happens when someone wants to unleash their inner racist, but is smart enough to realize that it will illegitimize anything they say. Well, the joke is on them, because these kinds of comments sort of do that anyway…

“After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is forced out of office after one term she can go dance on a stage that has a pole.”

Worse yet, while doing a bit of a deep dive on this, I came across remixed copies of the video so disgusting that I walked away feeling embarrassed to be a part of the human race. One such example had been cut with audio from “I Love It” by Kanye West and Lil’ Pump, which… yeah, there’s more to the song than it’s raunchy lyrics, but I doubt this poster knew that, since it would’ve required more than two seconds to figure out. The YouTube comments were filled with unabashed sexism, treating the new Congresswoman like an object, many of them having found the video through, a sports-related (go figure) website from CBS.

This could go on forever, and you’re probably wondering why, at 650 words, I have yet to get to a point. This is primarily because there isn’t one. I’m just exasperated, and I’m willing to bet you and I have that in common. To paraphrase a bit of this week’s Oregon Backwash, why the hell are we even having this discussion?

I don’t know. Enough is enough is never really enough, and at this point, I just hope to see some sort of paradigm shift in the way we treat each other before I die. I’d even settle for people restricting their politics to politics, and not hiding behind masks of things that are frankly far worse.

By Johnny Beaver