Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has not had an easy time acclimating to her new place in the U.S. House of Representatives. As an unabashed Democratic socialist, a woman, and a Puerto Rican, she has faced opponents and enemies on both sides of the divide.
As odd as this may sound, this puts Ocasio-Cortez in the same political position, at least as far as the public and the media is concerned, as President Donald Trump. Recently though, Ocasio-Cortez made her differentiation from the President very clear, when she made certain allusions during a meeting…
Perhaps before we discuss the 29-year-old politician’s most recent controversial statements, we should discuss the lady herself. Ocasio-Cortez was born in The Bronx, New York City to parents Blanca Ocasio-Cortez and Sergio Ocasio, a Bronx-born architect. When she was five, the Catholic family moved from the Bronx to a family home in Yorktown Heights.
Learning the Ropes
Ocasio-Cortez excelled academically all throughout high school and into college. She even managed to get herself a college internship in the immigration office. As the only native Spanish speaker, the then 20-year-old became the lifeline for folks who called worrying about their loved ones being picked up by ICE. The experience would have a profound effect on her going forward…
Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive policy support and thinking have made her a sort of “fan-favorite” amongst the younger, more politically-minded members of the Millennial generation. She believes in things like single-payer Medicare for All, tuition-free public college, 100% renewable energy, guaranteed family leave, abolishing U.S. Immigration, enacting gun-control policies, and much more.
As a self-described democratic socialist, Ocasio-Cortez believes that capitalism will gradually be replaced; though this is a highly simplified notion of her mentality. It’s important to note that she thinks economic change is not likely to experience upheaval but gradual change. Nevertheless, it is because of this simplified explanation that many have lobbed criticism at the young politician…
Based on the types of policies that she supports, it’s easy to see why Ocasio-Cortez would come before a committee of “finance watchdogs” to speak on a topic that many, even the most politically-minded, don’t fully understand. One that would ultimately expose the vast conflicts of interest which shape American politics.
In a mere three minutes, Ocasio-Cortez spells out the nature of the system we live in. She manages to lay bare the shocking absence of rules regarding lawmakers and the payoffs available to them by wealthy corporations seeking to influence laws that might retard their own business prospects…
Step One: The Bad Guy
The New York representative leads off with a hypothetical situation in which she is the “bad guy.” She then jokes that half the room would agree with that sentiment already, then surges forward. In this comic book-esque scenario, Ocasio-Cortez’s bad guy wants to get away with as many bad things as she possibly can.
She begins by describing the hypothetical bad guy’s main desire and that is to advance their own interests, financial or otherwise, even if that means putting their interests over the welfare of the American people. She then points to the other politicians in the room and appoints them as her “co-conspirators”…
Ocasio-Cortez’s bad guy wants to enlist the help of these experts in order to ensure that she will get away with everything, no matter how selfish or amoral, in a completely legal way. She first asks Mrs. Hobert-Flynn if there is any current law that legally prevents her from running a campaign that is entirely funded by corporate political action committees.
The panel of experts replies with a terse, matter-of-fact, No. She continues, reiterating that there is nothing that prevents her campaign from being entirely funded by corporate entities like the fossil fuel industries, the healthcare industry, Big Pharma, etc. Which means her bad guy is now entirely funded by corporate lobbyists; presumably with their own agendas…
Skeletons a’ Plenty
She then continues by saying that her bad guy has some skeletons in her closet, some bad stuff that they need to cover up in order to get elected. She then references politicians “making payments to women” (wonder who she might be talking about here) and brings up an opinion piece by Bradley Smith about such payments being unseemly, but not fundamentally illegal.
Ocasio-Cortez concludes then that her bad guy has a “green light for hush money” and that they can do all sorts of bad things because paying to keep them quiet is perfectly legal. That money is considered, in legal terms “speech.” At this point, her hypothetical candidate is using their special interest dark money to pay off the folks they need to pay off and all is above board…
Despite the special interests and pay-offs, Ocasio-Cortez’s bad guy is elected. “I now have the power to draft, lobby and shape the laws that govern the United States of America…” she says. Then she poses another question, does this newly elected official have any hard limit on the laws that they are allowed to touch?
She continues, asking if there is any limit on her influencing any of the legislation regarding any of the special interest groups of private sector corporations who helped to fund her election. Again, the representatives reaffirm the truth; there are no such limits currently. After that, Ocasio-Cortez reveals another dark scenario…
More Dark Scenarios
Essentially, a corrupt legislator could come into office, write laws that refer to something like big pharma and there’s nothing to stop them from doing so. The ramifications of such action would be far-reaching and would mean that the people who fund such a person could quite easily call in favors regarding governmental regulation.
Wealth and Power
She then discusses the real reason this alleged bad person has gotten themselves elected. They want to get rich with as little effort as possible. She directly mentions how an elected bad guy could even potentially buy stocks in a company, then write laws deregulating that industry, which would cause the share price to soar, thereby accruing a pretty hefty profit…
Ocasio-Cortez closes out by asking if any part of the story she has been discussing could potentially apply to the way the U.S. government currently operates? The committee members don’t waste any breath in telling her that yes, this is exactly how the current system is just as she had described; albeit secretly. It’s a sobering thought.
“We have a system with right now which is fundamentally broken,” she concluded. The 29-year-old representative also mentioned that if this is the case, then she and the gathered committee members are all a part of it and are therefore all influenced by the same potentially corrupt scenarios already within our own government…
Ocasio-Cortez compares the laws that govern their current assembly as compared to someone with even more power, say, someone in the Executive branch of the government. “It’s already super legal as we have seen for me to be a pretty bad guy. So it’s even easier for the president to be one,” she alleges.
Food for Thought
Walter Shaub, a senior ethics advisor, basically tells her that there are almost no laws at all that apply to the president. This is an ethical conundrum to be sure and one that will have most people wondering what someone of less moral standards might do if they were elected president. You can see the speech summarized in the video below…