The Joke Is On … ?

By QMC, USN (Ret.)

I started a joke which started the whole world crying
But I didn’t see that the joke was on me

The Bee Gees

Since the election of 2018, a few heretofore unknown people have risen to the status of household names, largely on the basis of their ability to run their mouths in a fashion guaranteed to generate controversy. Perhaps most prominent on this list is freshman New York representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, whose notoriety has risen to the point where she is almost universally known simply by the initials “AOC.” From her questions and rants at committee hearings, to her policy positions on healthcare, the border crisis, and the “Green New Deal,” to her name-calling feuds with the leadership establishment of her own party, she has managed to produce a rather constant stream of statements that, at least according to the pundits on the right, are just plain dumb. So dumb, in fact, that she has become the subject of more jokes and memes than anyone can keep track of. Seriously, what has the world come to when Nancy Pelosi is starting to sound like the voice of reason?

This situation raises a couple of obvious questions. First, how did this idiot ever get elected at all? And second, does she have any chance of being re-elected?

As for the first question, most conservatives seem to think that AOC was simply lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. In her district, “Democratic Socialism” has a nice ring to it, and the voters there, as in many other parts of the country, were just getting tired of the status quo. Progressives, after all, expect progress. And it wasn’t coming fast enough from the Democratic Party establishment. So, with financial backing from the proper quarters, a fresh young face was able to unseat a very powerful incumbent in the primary election. The outcome of the general election was never in any real doubt.

As to the second question, many of the conservatives that I know seem to take it as an article of faith that AOC, having exposed herself as being a total moron, will be relegated to the dustbin of history following the 2020 election. After all, even hardcore leftists have some sense of shame, and their current representative is a national embarrassment. Right?

Not so fast.

Simple Fact of Life #1: People tend to see what they want to see.

I disagree with Representative Ocasio-Cortez pretty much right down the line. Therefore, I tend to see her as something of a joke, because that’s what I want to see. But, understanding that those on the left also see what they want, I like to stick my head out of the echo chamber once in a while, just to get another view. And that view is vastly different from what conservatives observe. Us “normal people” listen to her rants about socialism and economics, and assume that she has no clue about the subject. But leftists point out that not only did she receive a degree in economics from a prestigious university, she graduated with honors. She must have learned something. And just to give you a feel for how she is seen by many on the left, I’ll share a few excerpts from Steven Nicolau, one of her many defenders on Quora:

The Right dislikes her because she is to the Left what Trump is to the Right: an audacious, outspoken, popular and galvanizing figure that “pisses off the right people”. The Right would prefer a monopoly on such disruptive leadership.

The Rich dislike her because she is giving Americans funny ideas inspired by Europe and Bernie Sanders that might awaken the middle and lower classes to expectations for a higher standard of living that the Rich would prefer most Americans think are impossible to achieve, while Europeans enjoy them every day.

Let’s have a look at a couple of her most contentious positions: Universal Healthcare and the Green New Deal.

Universal Healthcare

The Rich would like you to believe that this is either impossible, or a path to care rationed by federal bureaucrats whose ultimate purpose is to enslave the people in a Soviet-style Socialist state that will eat your children.

Green New Deal

The Green New Deal is a non-binding resolution, in response to a 2018 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…

If you take away one thing about the GND, it’s that it is a non-binding resolution. It is a platform. It is not a spending bill. There is no dollar amount attached to it. It serves the same purpose as JFK’s moon speech: to galvanize, motivate and focus government and industry to avert an otherwise inevitable climate catastrophe. How it’s done would be determined later. Like a motivational speech, it is intentionally vague.

That’s just a sample. There’s plenty more where that came from.

The point of all this is that considering the direction that the left, with massive amounts of help from the mainstream media, is trying to steer the country, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez might well not only be re-elected, she might rise to a position of real power. Underestimate her at your own, and the nation’s, peril. We may be laughing now, but should we wake up to Speaker Ocasio-Cortez, or, God forbid, President Ocasio-Cortez, the joke will be on us. Too unbelievable? Well, remember:

Simple Fact of Life #2: No matter how unlikely something might seem, stranger things have happened.

Don’t believe me? Need an example? How about this?

The warning that I have been trying to give to anyone that might listen is that conservatives are treating AOC exactly the same way that leftists treated Donald J.Trump. And how did that work out for the left?

Both DJT & AOC have said a lot of weird things. Things that their detractors took literally, but not seriously. When Trump said that Mexico would pay for the wall, Democrats assumed that he thought that the Mexican president would present him with a Publishers’ Clearinghouse style oversized check or something, and they laughed at him. And they didn’t take him seriously. Others of us figured out that he meant that he could pressure Mexico into taking steps that would reduce the flow of migrants across the border, as they are now doing. We took him seriously, but not literally. When AOC proposed the “Green New Deal,” many on the right thought that she actually wanted to tear down every building in America. They took her literally, and realizing that this could never be be considered to be a serious proposal, just laughed at her. But, as mentioned in the quote above, that’s not how the left sees it. They take her seriously, but not literally.

President Trump and AOC actually have a lot in common. Both have oversized personalities that suck the air out of whatever room they’re in. Both are masters of Twitter. And both have huge numbers of true-believing followers. Could the similarities continue onto the next step?

I’ll leave you with this wisdom from the eminent philosophers ABBA:

The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself

Consider yourself warned. Don’t let the joke be on America.

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