Rising to media prominence as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came out of left field for all of America. Her loudly progressive agenda and mighty social media presence have both contributed to her newfound political fame (or infamy, depending on which side of the political spectrum one lies). 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez ousted a powerful, ten-term Congressman from New York District 14 in the 2018 Midterm Elections. Even then, the Democratic Socialist has not only become a center of the public eye for her unexpected election, going from a bartender to a lawmaker; she has become a symbol and leader for the left, making waves wherever she goes.
However, just because one leads does not mean any should follow. To provide some background, some of Ocasio-Cortez’s platforms include pushing for Medicare for all, abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, establishing fully funded public universities (as well as cancelling all current student debt), implementing a 70 percent marginal tax rate, and, perhaps most infamously, fulfilling her proposed “Green New Deal.”
The Green New Deal stirred up the most controversy, as Ocasio-Cortez’s plans are clearly unachievable in the given time frame. She calls for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, meaning all greenhouse gases produced would have to be negated by all greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere. How exactly would this be achieved by 2030, one may ask? Oh, it’s quite simple, really. Just end all traditional forms of energy in the next ten years (while also banning nuclear energy “if possible”), building trains across oceans to end air travel, planting trees instead of investing in carbon storage technology, mandating all jobs be unionized, implementing a carbon tax, all without any insight to how this will all be paid for. But, as Ocasio-Cortez says, “the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.” Who knew it was so easy to end climate change?
A condensed flyer of her platforms from her office in Elmhurst, Queens. (Photo/Business Insider)
Aside from her extreme plans for change, Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly come under fire for the things she says. This started out with harmlessly inaccurate statements, such as calling “the Presidency, the Senate and the House…[the] three chambers of government.” While it is alarming that a Congress member does not know the simple branches of government she is a part of, that is not the end of the world. However, Ocasio-Cortez’s statements evolved from innocuous mistakes and the standard progressive agenda to scarily radical convictions.
While speaking at an Austin conference March 9, Ocasio-Cortez called upon Americans to embrace technology that is putting millions out of work since it will afford them “more time to pursue their creative passions.” “We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work. We should be excited by that,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die, and that is at its core, a problem.”
By taxing robots at 90 percent to make up for workers’ lost wages, she hopes to “distribute wealth created by automation” to free up “more time [to enjoy] the world we live in.” Unemployment should not be something any lawmaker advocates.
Regardless of everything Ocasio-Cortez says, ultimately, she is not the scariest part of this issue. What is scariest is that people actually voted her in and continue to support and praise her. As I scroll through my social media, I have begun to find my peers retweeting her tweets or posting laudatory comments on their Instagram stories to endorse her. Yet, all they see is the surface level.
They read that she wants to end climate change; she wants to give free university education; she wants to provide everyone with healthcare. Who wouldn’t want these things? However, we do not live in a perfect world, and her proposed methods for achieving these goals are unsustainable and generally ludicrous. Ocasio-Cortez’s election is setting a dangerous precedent for America. Just because she’s young, relatable and promising free stuff does not mean people should automatically accept her ideas at face value. This has become the new norm for the country, and her election proves that this new standard must change.