Opinion: Hey old Republicans, stop fixating on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

I wake up around 5:30 most mornings and like most people I have a well-defined routine. I smack my snooze button on my old-school Sanyo alarm clock, then crawl out of bed. I practically sleepwalk into my living room, turn on the lights, grab a glass of water, plop on my couch. Once my brain begins to turn on, I flip on my TV, radio, and computer and begin consuming news and browsing news aggregators from overnight.

As I scroll through news sites, I can’t help but stumble upon trends and the latest has been the daily headlines from outlets that often rag on newly elected Democratic Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York’s 14th district.

Not sure who she is? Ocasio-Cortez made history this year by becoming the youngest elected female member to the U.S. House of Representatives and is a self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist.

She’s 29 years old and what’s amazing about her story is that she has not spent a single day in office. In fact, her first official day will be January 3rd, 2019. And yet, she is already creating a stir in Washington.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a few headlines from this morning:

  • 'Ridiculous' it's unconstitutional for Ocasio-Cortez to run for president - Vox
  • Ocasio-Cortez on call to run for president: 'How about … no' – The Hill
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn't in office yet and she's already revealing inner workings of Congress – Yahoo Finance
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's new favorite pastime appears to be trolling conservative critics – Washington Post

I’m 29 years-old too and couldn’t imagine being in her position at this age. Regardless, we need to address this news phenomenon for what it is.

She’s very active on social media and right-wing news sources are obsessed with her. Political readers from both sides of the aisle hang on to every tweet and can’t believe that she’s preaching the ideals of a Democratic-socialist. My right-wing friends are secretly terrified of her and want to silence her. They paint her as a moron.

To my friends on the right, she’s one representative in a House of 435. Sure, she’s annoying on Twitter and I’m sure that you and I disagree with her on many philosophies, but in this new age of American politics, there are many politicians that are annoying on Twitter…

And to my friends on the left, this is not a piece where I’m trying to stand up and rescue the damsel in distress. I’m also not a misogynist. I’m genuinely happy for her and the energy she’s created in Washington. I have zero political affiliation. I try my best to be objective and call things as I see them and there’s no doubt that her primary victory over mainstay Democrat Joe Crowley was historical.

However, I disagree with most of Ocasio-Cortez’s political philosophies. In her young political career, she appears to have a poor grasp of basic economics. She, like many, think that the government has endless funding and her views on climate change are extreme. All topics are fodder for another piece.

The difference between this piece and the stories I read every morning is that I believe that Ocasio-Cortez should have a place to express her viewpoints. She was elected fairly and has a right to be noisy like other politicians, but people shouldn’t obsess over her.

Ocasio-Cortez represents something bigger for American politics and one that the Republican Party should strive for… youth.

I cannot count how many times I’ve seen prominent Republican figures targeting her on their TV hits with, “Can you believe that 29-year old Ocasio-Cortez said,” or, “Clearly Ocasio-Cortez is not ready for prime-time.” This needs to stop.

These people need to get over it. She’s going to be around for at least two years and yes, she is going to say dumb things, but so do the other 434 members of House of Representatives.

I don’t understand why Republicans have such a problem recruiting young-budding politicians. Their youngest representative is Elise Stefanik, who represents New York’s 21st district. She’s been in office since 2014, but when’s the last time you heard something about her? She’s 34 now and admittingly I had to look her up for this piece.

In her three years in office, why hasn’t she made a name for herself or strove to promote youth in the Republican party?

Republicans need to find a way to channel young voices. In some of the right-wing pieces I’ve read it almost feels like there’s a problem with America’s youth which is not a strategy for party longevity.

So, let’s all relax and stop the keyboard war for a day about Ocasio-Cortez. Let’s wait until she spends a meaningful day in the 116th United States Congress and hopefully in the next two years we can make a meaningful judgement of her.

Jared Yamamoto is a Doctrinaire and Producer of The Von Haessler Doctrine radio show heard daily from 9-Noon on News 95.5 and AM 750 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Email jared.yamamoto@coxinc.com 

Twitter: @jaredyamamoto 

Instagram: @jaredyamamoto

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