Why I'm Still Optimistic

Credit Corey Torpie-05062018-BengaliCommunityOutreach-6.jpg

My thoughts for this week can be summed up in three words: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Hopefully by now you've heard her name, because this 28-year-old Latina just pulled off one of the biggest upsets in political history. She beat Joseph Crowley, who had been a U.S. Representative for nearly two decades, in a near landslide. The next day, the New York Times ran a headline that announced, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Emerges as a Political Star." I chuckled. Cleary Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had already been a supernova—the world was just now noticing. She took no corporate money and was outspent by her opponent ten times over. Her secret strategy? Know who you are and meet the people where they are.

Any American who cares deeply about the advancement of social justice was dealt multiple blows this week: the Muslim ban being upheld by the Supreme Court, their backing of anti-abortion pregnancy centers, the lack of a plan to reunite children taken from their parents at our southern border, the Capital Gazette shooting and Justice Kennedy stepping down, just to name a few. But we were also gifted a ray of hope: a young woman from the Bronx. She's the most poignant reminder that in a democracy the government is the people, and that when we exercise our responsibility to choose our leaders we can do so loud and clear. Sometimes our choices are devastating. Sometimes our choices are euphoric. Either way, who is leading us is still our choice.

 

Photo: Corey Torpie