The Curious Case of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The Curious Case of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Hate her or love her, she's redefining what it means to be a politician, and this year is her year.

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The last midterm election, held on November 6, 2018, was historic and heart breaking in many ways. Popular favorites like Beto lost their election, but it was an overall victory for Democrats who flipped the House, elected a record-breaking 117 women to office, and regained traction for their inspection of the Trump campaign. Among the many who took to their positions this new year, is 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who overtook Joe Crowley in a historic upset. The youngest woman to be elected to Congress in the history of the United States, she is in touch with the younger demographic, while also unrepentant in her views and discussion about the state of our government.

With over 1.87 million Twitter followers, she speaks out about climate change, abortion laws, women's rights, education for all, universal healthcare, and other social and political issues. These topics align with many Democrats and the younger crowd, but because we can't have nice things, Alexandria is often a popular topic of attempted slander and 'scandals' by an outspoken, under-educated conservative crowd.

Most recently, a video surfaced of the congresswoman dancing and having fun as a college student. A cute and now very popular video which has spawned countless light-hearted memes (and even a response from Alexandria herself, in the form of another dance), was originally posted by an anonymous account, "AnonymousQ1776" with the caption, "Here is America's favorite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is……High School video of "Sandy" Ocasio-Cortez". First of all, the disrespect? No matter your political or social views, by posting something so baseless like this, it shows that there is absolutely no regard for her achievement and agency. Plus, shouldn't these right-wing individuals turn their attention towards individuals that actually have scandals? *cough* Kavanaugh *cough* Trump *cough*.

This incident really brings to light what is wrong with the political atmosphere in America- rather focusing on campaign messages and taking the time to formulate concise and fact-based arguments and defense, it's turned into a mud-slinging, character attacking sh*t show that many kinder-gardeners would be ashamed of.

2019 has already been called Trump's worst year, when all of his lies, deception, and inability to lead will finally be examined and put on trial. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well has as her peers and colleagues will be the ones to spearhead this movement.

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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Our Leaders Need A 'Time-Out'

We all learned a few essential rules as children.

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As I look watch the news, I can't help but wonder if the lessons we learned as children might not serve our leaders well. They seem to have forgotten these basic lessons. I am reminded of the book by Robert Fulghum "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

Watch out, hold hands, and stick together.

I think this could be useful in a couple of different contexts. First, the current divisiveness in the country doesn't serve us well. We are first and foremost, a part of the family of humankind. Differences in politics, religion, and so on come in far behind that one important attribute. What happened to the notion of agreeing to disagree?

Second, when leaders get off a plane in another country, they should remember who they came with and who they represent - "watch out, hold hands, and stick together."

Clean up your own mess.

Trump seems to take great pleasure in blaming everyone else for their "mess." The government shutdown was someone else's fault – any Democrat. When the stock market went up, he happily took credit, but when it went down, he quickly shifted gears and placed the blame on the Federal Reserve Chairman. Daily and hourly tweets out of the White House place blame on someone else for his "mess." Sadly, he still likes to blame Obama and Hillary for his mess.

Don't lie.

Politicians have always had a bad reputation when it comes to honesty. Still, the number of lies that we hear from Trump (and members of his staff) is unprecedented even for a politician.

We all learned these lessons when we were little more than five years old. Now more than any time in history I think our leaders need a " time out" to re-learn these lessons.

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