These past few weeks, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has cemented herself as the hero the American people need, but perhaps, not the one we deserve. (Forgive me for the Batman quote, but I feel it's apt here.)
Recently, she posted an Instagram video where she criticized the United States Government of running concentration camps along the Southern Border.
When Republican Representatives fired back on Twitter, including Liz Cheney, the daughter of Former Vice President Dick Cheney, Ocasio Cortez stuck to her guns and insisted not only that her wording of the situation was in fact, correct, and was supported by members of the Jewish community, like Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg.
Representative Ocasio Cortez has since visited the border camps and detailed the horrors within, while repeating that they are in fact, concentration camps. She alleged that they have been told by CBP officers to drink out of the toilet, among other horrors like lack of basic hygiene.
Many have resisted against this, saying that the border camps do not fit the definition of concentration camps, and distracting the argument to be about open borders instead of basic human rights.
The more we insist that these atrocities fit into a certain definition, the more we distract from them, and the more our language is controlled therefore, giving us less words to describe what is happening. This is why I hesitate to use a dictionary reference in this article, but given the "controversy" I feel it is important here.
Concentration camps, according to Merriam Webster: " a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard"
Not every single concentration camp is an extermination camp. Or a labor camp. That is certainly true for the camps that Adolf Hitler created in WW2 Take a look at the list of German concentration camps and their functions to see what I mean.
When you remember that the USA is not the only country to do this, (Germany during WW2 and China in the present day) remember that this is not the first time the USA has done this either. When Japanese - Americans were first placed in "Internment" Camps, they were called assembly centers. And while they were not labor or extermination camps, people died from lack of basic healthcare and sanitation in the same way that we are seeing now.
Alexandira Ocasio Cortez is the hero we need because she has stood up to the government with nerves of steel. She is not the one we deserve because we, the American people, continue to deny, or be indifferent to, these massive violations of human rights within our own borders.
I aspire to be more like her today and I hope you do the same. Contact your representative. Speak out.