The congresswoman feels the pressure of her new position, but she powers forward regardless.
It’s been less than a month since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was sworn in as the youngest congresswoman in American history.
Since then, she has protested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stance on climate change, proposed a 70% tax raise for the rich in order to fund her Green New Deal, called President Donald Trump a “racist”, gave an emotional speech at the Women’s March, raised more than $300,000 for trans rights charity Mermaids through a Twitch livestream and dealt with the relentless onslaught of vile conservative trolls clogging up her social media.
Right now, she’s on her way to the mountains of Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival, where she will be featured in a documentary called Knock Down The House about the record-breaking number of female politicians currently serving in American politics.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the documentary, Ocasio-Cortez admitted that she feels immense pressure about her very public position of responsibility, but that she deals with the anxiety in the most inspiring way.
“I feel like I’m at the edge of a diving board,” she said. “And I’m just sitting there looking down. And I’m bouncing on that diving board and I kind of just ask myself the core question. And it usually is like, if we don’t do this no-one will. And so I jump, but I’m scared all the time.”
Ocasio-Cortez has always faced the fear and done it anyway. Speaking after her interview with Sixty Minutes’ Anderson Cooper, in which she was attacked online for calling Trump “racist”, the politician shared on social media that any mistakes or slip-ups during her conversation with the journalist were a result of all the nerves from appearing in a taped interview of that magnitude for the first time.
On the rare occasion that Ocasio-Cortez does make a mistake or gets her facts mixed up, the conservative media immediately jumps on it. Speaking to Cooper, Ocasio-Cortez said: “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually and semantically correct than being morally right. And whenever I make a mistake, I say, ‘OK, this was clumsy.’ And then I restate what my point was. But it’s, it’s not the same thing as, as the President lying about immigrants. It’s not the same thing at all.”
As Ocasio-Cortez put it to The Hollywood Reporter, the reason she has become such a focus point for all conservative ire is deeply rooted in misogyny.
“I always expected to be treated differently or less,” she said. “The extent and the degree to it is actually pretty mind-boggling to me. When it comes to these alt-right dude bros, I think it’s hysteria. It’s the fear of, ‘We may not be in charge much longer,’ in terms of just blanket homogenous representation. Like, oh my God, what happens if white dudes aren’t in control of Congress?”
Since she was elected to the House of Representatives last year, Trump has steered fairly clear of attacking Ocasio-Cortez. This from the man who insists on calling Senator Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ and won’t refer to Hillary Clinton as anything other than ‘Crooked Hillary’.
But on the subject of Ocasio-Cortez Trump has remained tight-lipped on Twitter. When asked specifically about her by a journalist, Trump fired back: “Who cares?”
For Ocasio-Cortez, this comment smacks of fear. “I think as nuts as this guy is, one thing he does have an expertise in is media and branding and marketing,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I think, I don’t know, maybe he thinks that he’s met his match.”
She might not be old enough to qualify to run for presidency against Trump in 2020. But we’re excited to see Ocasio-Cortez continue to take him on over the next few years.