Identity politics isn’t just about race. It’s often about an invented identity.
Take Sandy from Westchester, the daughter of an architect turned Brooklyn hipster, who then reinvented herself as a minority leftist activist in no small part by mixing impassioned victimhood with cynical self-promotion. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is our millennial Munchausen who ‘centers’, in social justice jargon, herself in every narrative. So her response to the Capitol Riot was bound to involve upping the ante, claiming that she was about to be murdered, and mixing in a trendy #MeToo backstory, and declaring herself a survivor of Senator Ted Cruz’s reign of terror. Like everything else she says it’s gibbering nonsense mixed with outrage.
Conservatives might be tempted to dismiss it as an update of Hillary’s own Munchausenisms, landing at an airport under fire, or having Chelsea at the WTC, but where Hillary’s behavior seemed generationally unhinged leading the likes of William Safire to label her a congenital liar, AOC’s behavior is fairly normal.
It’s also why Hillary edged away from her crazy lies whereas Sandy from the Cannon Building will only double down on them. There were tunnels and pointing out her nonsense is mansplaining. This is always how survivors are treated. It’s gibbering nonsense, but it’s woke gibbering nonsense. And that part is important.
AOC is just another millennial social media troll who makes things up and then claims to be the victim, alternating between taunts and outrage.
Drama doesn’t stop her, it’s what gives her power. The only thing exposing the fact that she wasn’t actually there when the riot was happening will do is more closely associate her with it, and the attacks will only ‘center’ her narrative of being its biggest victim. It’s a commonplace social media phenomenon whose seemingly irrationally infuriates more rational, especially older people, who want to argue the facts only to bafflingly find that the facts don’t actually matter.
Traditional politicians can be taken down by exposing them, but social media politicians depend on emotional investment in their struggle and victimhood. Exposing them is worthwhile, but futile when it comes to their base. AOC’s base will just post more terrible Korean pop GIFs and congratulate themselves on their victory.
And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s claim that she was the victim of the riot will become a more outsized narrative than ever before.