Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman U.S. Representative, also known as “AOC” continues to be a lightning rod in Washington D.C. – and beyond. She has been hailed by her generation for providing what they feel is a true and authentic representation of their views. In other words, she’s not afraid to call BS on the Washington bureaucracy – left or right.
Yet, her outspoken nature and fearlessness with regard to criticism has made her a target. The “establishment” both left and right, have sought to undermine her at every turn. Critiques range from items such as her wardrobe to how she pronounces her name. Love her or hate her, what is undeniable is she is impactful. Can you recall a congressional representative who was able to squash an Amazon deal, make campaign finance go viral and taxation on the uber-rich a part of the cultural zeitgeist? And to do it all within a year? If you need confirmation, Time Magazine, most recently featured her on its cover and has simply labeled Ocasio-Cortez “the phenom”.
In this short period of time AOC has made a number of colorful quotes. Some of which are worth noting. Hopefully, these quotes will motivate and give you the courage to fight for your dreams and goals; regardless of who or where you are.
“Leveraging those who belittle my capacity is exactly how I defeated a multi-generation, multi-million-dollar political machine. GOP is even weaker because their bias has no self-control…Dark hates light – that’s why you tune it out.” – AOC Twitter Feed.
The Lesson. Whenever you seek to make meaningful change or accomplish something that has not been done before you will face critics. Perhaps the greatest takeaway from this quote – utilize the arrogance to your advantage. Being underestimated can often be strategically beneficial.
“Courage begets courage. So, the first person who stands up has to encounter the most amount of fear and discomfort, but once that one person stands up, it becomes immensely easier for the second person and the third.” – AOC at SXSW Panel.
The Lesson. In the dictionary courage is defined as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”. The message that AOC seems to convey is that it really takes just one person to muster that courage in an attempt to make change. If skeptical of this notion, simply look back at American history. Rosa Parks had the courage to refuse to sit at the back of the bus. Muhammed Ali refused to go to fight a war he did not believe in. In modern times, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem to protest police brutality…and the list goes on.
“Moderate is not a stance. It’s just an attitude towards life of, like, ‘meh’… We’ve become so cynical, that we view ‘meh,’ or ‘eh’—we view cynicism as an intellectually superior attitude, and we view ambition as youthful naivete when we think about the greatest things we have ever accomplished as a society have been ambitious acts of visions…” – AOC at AOC at SXSW Panel.
The Lesson. It pretty easy to stay on the side lines in life. Analyzing, critiquing the ambitions and actions of others from afar. Yet, what good, what change has ever come about from being an arm-chair quarterback? Don’t be stymied by critics. It’s easy to be like everyone else, but it’s those that dare to be different and do different that effect change.
On Power Structures…
“Stop trying to navigate systems of power and start building your own power…There are so many subconscious forces that make us try to act like somebody else … but when you’re a woman of color, there are so many things about you that is non-conforming” – AOC at SXSW Panel.
The Lesson. Ocasio-Cortez comment was in response to an audience member asking about how to break into politics. Yet, it carries over into many areas of life. There will often be an intricate system designed to slow you down or stagnate your growth. What you can take away from her statement is that building your own methods and networks rather than relying on someone to grant it you is where true change comes about.