AOC Takes Aaron Sorkin's Advice, Shoves It
Over the weekend, Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing -- a show I have no interest in ever watching, I'm sorry -- was asked by CNN's Fareed Zakaria who his current favorite politicians were. He answered that he liked Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, and said that he liked "the new crop" of young politicians entering Congress, but he sure wishes they would be a tad less whipersnappery.
They now need to stop acting like young people, OK? It's time to do that. I think that there's a great opportunity here, now more than ever, for Democrats to be the non-stupid party. To point out the difference, that it's not just about transgender bathrooms. That's a Republican talking point they're trying to distract you with. That we haven't forgotten the economic anxiety of the middle class, but we're going to be smart about this. We're not going to be mean about it."
Oh gosh, who could he be talking about? I wonder!
The big irony is that politicians like Ocasio-Cortez are the ones pushing loudest for policy-based change. AOC is hardly traipsing around like some Miss Teen South Carolina, promising world peace through maps, promising that she's going to stop people from being racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic, and then having a platform that in no way veers from the status quo. Her policies absolutely do address economic anxiety -- the real kind, not the "actually I am just racist" kind. Which is exactly what annoys a lot of people about her.
Guys and Dolls 1955 Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat youtu.be
She's certainly not mean, either. In fact, she comes across as joyous and kind and excited to change things for the better. She's sharp though, and if someone comes for her, she will not hesitate to go for them.
Now, I do see where Sorkin is coming from. He thinks that people are gonna go, "Well, all the Democrats are going to do is make it so trans people can use the bathroom, and how does that help me?" He thinks that there are bigots out there thinking, "Gee, you know, I'd vote for the Democrats, but not if they're going to let trans people pee!"
Allow me be the first to assure Mr. Sorkin that this is not an issue. First of all, people can walk and chew gum at the same time. It is entirely possible to advocate for trans people to use public bathrooms and also advocate for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the rich that will help the middle class. In fact, one can believe that bigotry is bad and also that people shouldn't go into lifelong debt because they got sick.
Second, if the people Sorkin is imagineering actually exist ... they are absolutely full of shit and they'd vote Republican regardless of who pees where, or how young politicians act. They just want Democrats to stop pushing for things like that because they don't want it to be an issue at all. Because they know that in a decade or so it's going to be so embarrassing that anyone was ever on team "No, it would be better if people just peed their pants in public" and they don't want it to just be Republicans who have to deal with that baggage. They want to be able to do the "Look at these Democrats 10 years ago saying that civil unions were better and marriage is between a man and a woman!" thing.
In the spirit of not giving a shit about how Aaron Sorkin thinks she should be, Ocasio-Cortez unpacked his bullshit and then proceeded to continue being a "young person" about things by joining a charity Twitch stream in order to advocate for trans rights.
Here are some clips from her appearance -- the whole thing was pretty adorable.
AOC continued chewing gum and walking as she explained the intersection of social and economic issues.
"[Discrimination] makes these issues much more acute in their crises... it's important that we talk about these issues in an economic frame, but not let go of the fact that discrimination is a core reason for economic hardship."
Whoa! It's almost as if social justice and economic justice are the same damn thing and if you ignore one of them you are ignoring the other.
Ocasio-Cortez has gotten pretty damned far ignoring the traditional wisdom on how a Democratic congresswoman is supposed to behave, on what it is "safe" to advocate for, etc. It is clearly in her best interest -- and ours -- that she keeps doing that.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse