Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shouldn't be Shamed for D.C. Rent Prices
Just days ago, 29-year-old Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was announced as the winner of the House race for New York's 14th Congressional District. This victory granted her the status of youngest person ever to be elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez will be assuming office on January 3.
"I have three months without a salary before I'm a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real."
She ran on a platform embracing her Puerto Rican heritage, tuition-free public college, affordable housing, and above all, her working-class upbringing. She spent just over $1.2 million on the total campaign (a very modest number compared to the wealthy millionaires running and funding campaigns themselves), and nearly all of it was raised by donors.
Is it such a big surprise that a working-class woman in her 20's (who was working as a bartender and waitress less than a year before) could struggle to pay rent in one of the most expensive cities in North America?
After admitting to The New York Times that she would be having some financial struggles during the three-month transitional period, a clip involving Fox News mocking Ocasio-Cortez went viral.
"I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real," she said to The Times. "We’re kind of just dealing with the logistics of it day by day, but I’ve really been just kind of squirrelling away and then hoping that gets me to January."
The clip shows Fox News hosts all laughing while agreeing that many people (especially those who are younger) are having issues finding an affordable housing.
What's so funny about that?
What's so hilarious about millennials struggling financially so much that they'll have to rent for their entire lives? Where's the joke in Americans postponing their retirement simply because they desperately need the money? What's funny about millennials being more in educational debt than any other generation, yet the least employed?
If there's a laugh here, honestly I'm missing it.
And Fox even admits that while Ocasio-Cortez might be the first congress-person to openly discuss her financial struggles during the transition, she likely isn't actually the first facing this problem. So why insult honesty?
It's very true that the cost of living in Washington D.C. is one of the highest in North America. MoverDB reports that living in Los Angeles is noticeably cheaper.
Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform proving that she represents the people who need to be represented most: hard-working Americans, those struggling to stay middle-class, immigrants and people of colour so eager to change their country for the better.
Mocking her for not being a millionaire with money from big corporations just shows that Fox News is out of touch with the true face of America: people struggling to live, people being blocked from engaging in political change because of economic disparity, people who actually experience everyday inequalities because of their heritage.
Cover photo is a screenshot via YouTube