by Leo Thuman
Last Friday, an activist interrupted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) town hall event, provoking mixed feelings of amusement and horror across the internet. Channeling the Bronx congresswoman’s penchant for generating controversy with eccentric claims about climate change — such as her suggestions that prehistoric viruses will inundate the face of the earth as glaciers melt and that Miami will soon become a latter-day Atlantis — the disruptor proclaimed that Americans need to begin eating human infants to prevent a climate catastrophe.
Lately, climate-frenzied youths have formed a movement they call “#NoFutureNoChildren.” Spurred on by overpopulation conspiracies and raging pubescent eco-nihilism, Generation Z-ers are voluntarily threatening to adopt lifelong barrenness — unless the government adopts a radical ‘climate’ policy like Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal.” Thus, it goes without saying: Friday’s interruptor had a virtual treasure-trove of material to build upon.
For the most part, she did it justice. The protest came across as a dark-comedy satire of a Culture of Death which pervades today’s sack-cloth environmentalism. Yet the most disturbing aspect of this episode was that Ocasio-Cortez seemingly couldn’t put her foot down and say that cannibalizing infants is wrong. Instead, the answer she gave was so hauntingly noncommittal that even the most public critics of her socialist “Squad” likely had to hold their jaws (lest they hit the floor). It was a response akin to an answer a constituent asking about obscure land-usage or energy policy might get: focusing in vague detail about how there are several alternatives. Unsurprisingly, there wasn’t a “yes” to eating babies, but horrifyingly, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t explicitly reject the idea either.
Yet, even that could have been forgiven as an ill-conceived response. However, Ocasio-Cortez further compounded the issue by afterwards taking to Twitter and suggesting that her interlocutor was mentally ill. The congresswoman then placed herself on a pedestal as a hero, demanding people who were criticizing her response to “not mock or make a spectacle.” And that triangulation wasn’t enough for Ocasio-Cortez: she was compelled to spin the incident even more, suggesting that it demanded her socialist “Medicare-For-All” plan come to fruition.
The disingenuity didn’t end there. After her saccharine attempt to pass off an activist who was wearing a “save the planet, eat the children” shirt (which was clearly professionally printed) as a mentally disturbed individual, the fringe Lyndon LaRouche PAC proudly took responsibility on Twitter. Shortly thereafter, left-wing news outlets like the Young Turks and Buzzfeed circulated news stories implying that the LaRouche PAC is Trump affiliated. However, this is plainly not the case — the Lyndon LaRouche crowd is an idiosyncratic political group that long predates the President’s involvement in organized politics. Nor does it have any relationship with the Trump campaign. Yet, in a last-ditch attempt to save face, Ocasio-Cortez picked up the “Trump-troll” interpretation and ran with it.
Too much shouldn’t be made of this, except by right-of-center entertainers who will find it to be high-quality comedic fodder. However, it is unfathomably problematic that a United States congresswoman would engage in countless rhetorical flips and contortions rather than simply saying “it is bad to eat babies.” As heavily as that might bear on parts of the conservative mind, it may lighten the load on others. After all, she’s currently the ideological leader of the resurgent Left. If the progressive ideology can bravely crusade against bovine flatulence but becomes a shrinking violet when confronted with the morality of cannibalism, it seems likely the Right will continue to find favor with the moral majority of Americans.
Photo credit: Ståle Grut / NRKbeta via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0