We Need Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is EXACTLY The Leadership We Need In Congress Right Now

She's fierce, she's transparent, and she's in tune with the needs of millennials — because she is one.

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On election night, when I read for the first time about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman in history to be elected to serve in Congress, I was immediately drawn to her personality and the ferocity with which she fights for justice and the things she believes in.

Ocasio-Cortez grew up in the Bronx, and it's the district she'll represent in Congress. She ran her campaign on the platform of fighting for economic, social, and racial justice. She's a strong supporter of the LGBT community, gun control, Medicare for all, and immigration reform.

Many people were quick to oppose her candidacy and beliefs, partly because she ran as a Democratic Socialist. The word socialist scares a lot of people, and it makes a lot of people quick to dismiss any ideas surrounding the concept or the people pushing them. But she didn't care, she knew that attaching that to her campaign would bring backlash and a lack of support, but she did it anyway because it accurately represented who she is and what she stands for.

And it paid off. She defeated a 10-term incumbent for her seat in the House of Representatives.

You might not agree with her ideas or her platform, but Ocasio-Cortez has shown herself to be intolerant of inequality and bigotry and is unafraid to speak out against injustice and perceived corruption in our government. An attitude like hers is exactly what our Congress needs in this Donald Trump, hatred-filled era.

She also handles attacks from Democrats and Republicans alike on a daily basis. Some call her radical, inexperienced, and naive. She's even been called out quite a few times by our nation's president, but she handles it with the grace and dignity we could only ever hope to see from the likes of the Trump administration.

The reason her and her ideas are consistently bashed by her fellow (male) Congressional leaders is, I believe, because she's a powerful woman with proven support who is challenging the status quo. She's got the numbers and the power now that she's been elected, and that power is threatening to the men in Congress who are used to getting their way.

She's asking the tough questions, questions a lot of politicians are afraid to ask. She's challenging the decades-old ideas being used to justify inequality in this country and she's encouraging others to do the same. She's everything that Trump, and those who support him, fear. And the country is starting to notice.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is humble, but she's also not afraid to make her achievements known when she needs to. She's gracious, but she fights with fire for the rights she believes New Yorkers, and Americans, deserve.

She's not sitting in the pocket of large corporations, taking their money and pushing their agendas. She's here to fight for the unheard and underrepresented.

One of the best things about Ocasio-Cortez is that she's focused on looking out for millennials. For preparing our economy, our education systems, and our justice systems to be taken over by the next generation.

She knows what millennials are going through, what our struggles are, and what we need in a governing body because she's one herself.

She's active on social media because she knows that's where young people today are putting their complaints out into the world. She's engaged and she's listening, and she does so on a level we haven't seen from Congressional leaders lately.

She embodies the fresh-faced — but clearly capable —young, new ideas that America desperately needs.

She's zeroed in on climate change, racial justice, and many other issues that we've let slip through the cracks for so many years. Despite every obstacle or opposition she's been faced with, she's proven that she's not here to represent from the bench.

Day after day she's out in her community, and communities all across the country, listening to what people need and sharing her ideas on how to get them there.

You may be thinking that I'm too naive to have such high hopes in one politician, and maybe you're right. But maybe, just maybe, she'll be successful in her plans for the Bronx and for our country and finally be able to create real change. I think she'll have the continued support of the next generations and, who knows, may even break the status quo in the way Congress operates.

She may not be my representative, but with the work she's doing and the attitude she's doing it with, she's making so many districts outside her own proud.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proactive, bold, and fiercely fighting for the next generation. She's calling attention to ignored issues and doing so with grace and optimism. She's exactly the type of leader that we need, and that we deserve.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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