Before rocketing to political-cultural fame, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a bartender. She routinely uses her past profession as part of her “I’m just like you” persona, an alcohol-delivering “Alex From The Bronx.” Ocasio-Cortez’s rapid career progression from Boston University graduate (with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and international relations) to bartender to Congresswoman is often a subject of derision on the right, with Ocasio-Cortez only using this to continue to fuel her claim of “working class victimhood.”
In addition, Ocasio-Cortez also has a habit of referencing her “bartending” history as a source of authority for her radical political positions. Most recently, she took to Twitter to make two arguments. The first was that Republicans who “like to make fun” of her couldn’t handle her former work roles, and the second was that she has had the experience of a “physically difficult working-class job without good healthcare,” and that she brings that “work ethic” to Congress and her community.
Republicans like to make fun of the fact that I used to be a waitress, but we all know if they ever had to do a double they’d be the ones found crying in the walk-in fridge halfway through their first shift bc someone yelled at them for bringing seltzer when they wanted sparkling
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 4, 2020
The thing that these conservative Senators don’t seem to understand is that I’ve actually had a physically difficult working-class job without good healthcare most of my adult life.
I bring that work ethic to Congress & to my community. They sit around on leather chairs all day.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 3, 2020
There are three major problems with these specific tweets, and the unsurprisingly flawed logic on which they are built.
The first is the assumption that Republicans make fun of Ocasio-Cortez because of a deep and inherent disrespect for the working class. This is simply not true, and not just because Ocasio-Cortez never provides any substantive evidence of her assertions. The fact that Ocasio-Cortez rose rapidly in American society is, for her, a wonderful achievement, and indicative of the unique opportunities available to anyone in the United States. The issue is not her rise, but the unjustified arrogance with which she lectures those with infinitely more knowledge or experience, and the absurd authority handed to an inexperienced member of Congress who has been fast-tracked as a central figure in the Democratic party.
It was the Left who decided that “AOC” was one of their flag bearers. That makes her open to criticism, including her experience (or lack thereof). After all, this is the same person who happily condemned the “occupation of Palestine,” and then claimed ignorance when questioned, saying “I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.” Among one of the countless things that Ocasio-Cortez fails to understand is that you cannot claim ignorance on a subject when your ignorance is highlighted and maintain your authority on the matter.
Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacks Israel, calls them the occupiers of Palestine.
When pressed on what she meant she struggled to give an answer and then admitted she does not know what she is talking about. pic.twitter.com/e3Uq1eupD3
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 16, 2018
The second is the patently ridiculous claim that those on the Left are the only ones who have any understanding or knowledge of “hard work” or what it is like to be “working class.” Even the briefest analysis of the Republican members of Congress shows her viewpoint to be offensively inaccurate. For example, Reps. Dan Crenshaw, Brian Mast, and Jim Baird “all lost limbs” while serving their country. How could they possibly handle the pressure of a busy bar shift?
One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make in the mountains of Afghanistan: still or sparkling? That was the moment I knew true hardship.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) December 5, 2020
The third and final issue is far broader, and points to the shallow and limited understanding Ocasio-Cortez holds when it comes to the definition of “hard work,” “responsibility,” and “pressure.” Of course, working as a waitress or bartender is very hard work, and those working in these industries are often underestimated and disrespected. However, while Ocasio-Cortez may have held what she viewed as a “physically difficult working-class job,” that doesn’t mean that she alone is blessed with an understanding of America’s working and middle classes.
The same sort of conservatives she mocks as doing nothing other than sitting “around in leather chairs all day” are the ones who have worked harder and burdened more responsibility than the 31 year-old Ocasio-Cortez could ever imagine. She has never created a job, or been directly responsible — sacrificing her money and her time — for others. Instead, she sees the occasional flashes of manual labor throughout her life of relative privilege as her “certificate of admittance” as one of America’s “downtrodden.”
She’s not mocked because she was a bartender. She’s mocked because she has no idea what hard work actually is, what responsibility is, and what being “downtrodden” feels like.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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