• Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. (Time)Source: Time
She is less interested in the party’s ideology, but instead is focused on setting the agenda for the next generation.
By
Caitlin Chang

22 Mar 2019 - 10:35 AM  UPDATED 22 Mar 2019 - 10:35 AM

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has cemented her status as leader of the new generation of politicians, appearing on the cover of Time Magazine. Described by Time as “America’s lightning rod”, Ocasio-Cortez, 29, reflected on the cover in a post on Instagram.

“A year ago I was waitressing in a restaurant while organizing [sic] my community. In a time and place where we had been burned by so many politicians, and had grown deservedly cynical of a sad, familiar cycle of campaign promises and governance excuses, I was asking them, just once, to believe,” she writes, before adding, “All this attention gives me a lot of anxiety (my staff fought to get me to agree to this cover, as I was arguing against it), and still doesn’t feel quite real, which maybe is why I remain comfortable taking risks, which may be a good thing.”

The profile, written by journalist Charlotte Alter, gives an insight into the Bronx senator’s new life in Washington. A polarising figure in US politics, Ocasio-Cortez’s staff has been given extra security training due to the sheer number of death threats she has received, as Alter notes that she has “replaced Hillary Clinton as the preferred punching bag of Fox News pundits and Republican lawmakers.” Still finding her way in her new role, Ocasio-Cortez tells Alter, “I miss being able to go outside in sweats…I can’t go anywhere in public and just be a person without a lot of people watching everything I do.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s staff has been given extra security training due to the sheer number of death threats she has received.

A Democratic socialist, Ocasio-Cortez is focused more on pragmatic changes to politics rather than the number of seats the Democrats can secure before 2020. In her push for more progressive policies, it seems she is less interested in the party’s ideology, but instead is focused on setting the agenda for the next generation. “There’s always this talk about division within the Democratic Party,” she tells Alter. “But I actually think they’re generational differences. Because the America we grew up in is nothing like the America our parents and our grandparents grew up in.”

It’s a sentiment that resonates. Like many young people, Ocasio-Cortez has grown tired of waiting for policy makers to implement change. You only have to look at the work of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg, and her global climate strike movement, to see the next generation’s frustration at inaction around policy.

The freshman senator, who according to Time, spent most of her 20s living to pay cheque to pay cheque, paying off student debts and health insurance plans, embodies the frustration of younger generations coming of age at a time when the odds seem stacked against them. So, her political ideology is about the future. “By the time legislation actually gets through, it is five years from now,” she told Alter. “So everything we introduce needs to have 2025 or our kids in mind.”

Ocasio-Cortez reflected on her pragmatic approach to politics in her post on Instagram. “I believe in an America where all things are possible. Where a basic, dignified life isn’t a dream, but a norm,” she wrote. “That’s why I got up then, and it’s why I get up now. Because my story shouldn’t be a rare one. Because our collective potential as a nation can be unlocked when we’re not so consumed with worry about how we’re going to secure our most basic needs, like a doctor’s visit or an affordable place to live.”

Ocasio-Cortez is playing the long game and isn’t it refreshing?

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