Is this call out culture or accountability culture? Maybe it’s just mansplaining? A couple of progressive protesters who are disappointed in AOC’s support for the war in Ukraine decided to start shouting at her during a townhall Q&A. It’s the anti-war left vs. the social left in a battle which I wish they could both lose. Here’s the clip.

It’s difficult to admit but I’m on AOC’s side here. To the degree she supports Ukraine against the invasion by Russia, I think she’s right. More to the point, I definitely do not support this dumb student protest stunt. I can give you five reasons why.

  1. Theirs is the only issue that matters. When leftists start screaming at someone during a public event on the grounds that their issue is the only issue that matters, they are always wrong. You hear this sort of thing a lot from climate change and social justice protesters. In this case, one of the guys actually says, “this is the only thing that matters.” Granted it’s an important issue but it’s not the only one that matters. That’s a rhetorical stunt designed to justify acting like a jerk and shouting at people.
  2. They are clearly there to shout not to have a dialogue. AOC is holding a Q&A to answer questions (note the screen behind her which says “Q&A”). These two doofuses could wait their turn and act like adults. She even asks them to get in line to ask their questions and one of them shouts “There is no line!” This is no different from the student protesters who try to shout down conservative speakers on campus. It’s just a way to silence everyone else by yelling over them. The only difference in this case is the target. Maybe there’s some benefit of giving AOC a taste of her own far-left medicine, but as satisfying as that is the screechy dudes are still acting like far-left protesters and I don’t support that.
  3. The outright panic and lack of nuance is pathetic. “You’ve voting to start a third world war with Russia and China,” one of them says. Really? Which bill is that exactly? It’s not a remotely fair view of the entire situation. Some people are voting to support Ukraine’s effort to defend themselves against an invasion by an autocrat. It’s fine to argue about that spending or the wisdom of supporting Ukraine but the inability to accept any nuance in the situation is a hallmark of the woke student protester. The threat of nuclear war, like any terrorist threat, is designed to stir panic and it’s clearly working on these guys.
  4. Any deviation from the approved view makes you a monster. This is another common tactic on the left. “You’re playing with out lives!” one of them shouts. Again, this is something you hear from eco-protesters and trans activists. If they don’t get their way, it must be because you want people to die. And if you want people to die then you’re a monster whose opinion doesn’t count. There are lives at stake in this conflict but neither of these guys have much to worry about.
  5. Their protest seems poorly thought out. What did these guys think was going to happen here? Even if AOC had suddenly had an epiphany and vowed to stop supporting funding for Ukraine…so what? She’s a congresswoman from New York. She’s not setting national policy and she only gets one vote. Shouting her down accomplishes nothing except maybe making them feel smugly righteous. They aren’t righteous.

Anyway, it’s not very often that I agree with AOC on anything but in this case she’s getting a taste of the call-out culture she seems to think is a good idea when conservatives are the target. It’s satisfying to watch for that reason but the tactics employed here are still wrong.

Update: Glenn Greenwald on AOC’s hypocrisy.

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