Being a Woman In Politics

Dear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Welcome To Being A Woman In Politics

Another round of misogyny for a rising star in the Democratic Party.

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With the government being shut down, Washington D.C. is in utter turmoil. At the time of this writing, Democratic congressional leadership and President Trump both refuse to back down over the five billion dollars that would go to fund the building of the wall.

With all of this chaos, you would think that would be all the media has time to focus on. Yet oddly enough, the government shutdown is sharing the spotlight with something else going on in politics.

Someone else, actually.

The youngest woman ever elected to Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been partly the focus of the media since her surprising primary victory against a powerful Democrat who was a potential candidate for Speaker of the House.

Now, being the youngest woman elected to Congress would normally get you a few puff pieces from center-left publications. However, the media will not stop talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (often referred to by her initials, AOC).

After winning her general election, Cortez proved that she would continue her anti-establishment streak and would not fall in line or go away. She proved this by participating in a protest outside of Nancy Pelosi's office advocating for the Green New Deal.

Ocasio-Cortez is a huge advocate for the Green New Deal, which would create thousands of jobs, switch America to using renewable resources, and end our dependence on fossil fuels.

Her ambitious agenda includes single-payer healthcare, public housing, free public college, and abolishing ICE. She suggested taxing people making over 10 million dollars up to 70% of their income to pay for these policy proposals.

Rather than try to argue about why these policies are wrong, right-wing pundits have resorted to finding old videos of Ocasio-Cortez dancing in college. They also found the house she grew up in and shared pictures of her wearing nice clothes in an attempt to smear her working-class background. Classy, right?

Now it is true that these are common tactics that the GOP has been using for decades, but there is something that seems different this time.

The 2018 midterms showed us a lot of people from different backgrounds stepping up to challenge the status quo. They decided that America cannot continue down this path in the Age of Trump, and wanted to do something about it. Most of those people were women.

Women all across America have become fed up with the misogyny of the president, and want to see real change brought to this country.

It is important to note that most of the high-profile women are women of color. Congress has often been associated with white men in their 70s and 80s but now it looks like Congress will begin to more accurately represent the citizens of the country.

It is also important to remember that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a woman, young, and Puerto Rican. It is important to notice this so you can understand the criticisms often weighed against her.

I've already mentioned her politics, but if you type her name into Google the suggestion box, instead of suggesting "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez… healthcare reform" it will suggest "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez... bikini."

If you make the mistake of watching Fox News, you will see panels of mostly men talk about her clothes and refer to her as "the little girl" and call into question her intelligence.

I don't think I need to explain the differences in how differently Ocasio-Cortez would be treated if she was a senile 80-year-old man that could trace his lineage back to Jamestown.

Unfortunately, most women do not need me, a man, to write an article about what they face in all industries. However, women who put themselves in the public eye, and choose to challenge men on political issues are faced with serious attacks. One need only look at the disgusting remarks made about high profile women in politics like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

This type of hatred is directed towards conservative women as well. There are large numbers of people that allege that Sarah Palin was only picked to be the Vice Presidential nominee because she's perceived as attractive to middle-aged suburban men. During the Republican primary, President Trump stated that Carly Fiorina was unfit to be president because she was not attractive enough to him.

However, I personally believe there is hope. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez uses her youth to her advantage on Twitter. Her refusal to back down from the institutions of power shows a resilience that continues to attract people hopeful for a better future. And ultimately, she is stronger than her opponents because she is fighting for a cause rather than just trying to quell opposition. People admire her optimism in a time where cynicism seems to be the only logical emotion to feel. These new threats to the status quo could finally be a change for all Americans.

In these difficult times it's important to pay close attention to figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so you can be reminded to be proud to be an American.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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