Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was beat up by a baseball team yesterday, rhetorically. The team’s management wanted to show some right-wing propaganda and show some they did. Displaying a video prepared by others that included shifting images illustrating a Reagan speech, the team’s stadium screen showed pictures of AOC, Kim Jong-Un, and Fidel Castro while the Gipper’s voice said, “Enemies of freedom”. It would, of course, be bad enough if the three faces were all elected officials who belonged to the Democratic Party, but grouping AOC with Kim and Castro was particularly bad.
Particularly bad from my point of view, of course. For AOC, it’s just another day of the week that ends in “y”. But because that incident got some significant attention on social media she decided to speak about how how the relentless attacks affect her and her staff:
What people don’t (maybe do) realize is when orgs air these hateful messages, my life changes bc of the flood of death threats they inspire.
I‘ve had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me.
I don’t even get to see all of them. Just the ones that have been flagged as particularly troubling.
I’ve gotten death threats before. Quite a number actually, though many I laughed off and others were in the context of an ongoing abusive relationship, not the kind of threat that waxes and wanes with public attention. But one person was particularly detailed, explicit and credible in their threats, enough so that I stopped using my legal name online among other concessions to safety. That was 20 years ago now, but I have the faintest idea what this might be like. Just the faintest, but it’s impossible for me not to feel a tragic connection with her as a result of my small experience with something AOC encounters on a massive scale.
So of course I go to check her original tweets so that I can write about this, and I find even more terribleness as the top comment on her thread:
Brian from the Thing: This tweet is sexist.
It’s hard to explain just how awful this is. Clearly Brian from the Thing has no interest in actually opposing sexism. Rather, this is a tactic on his part to derail conversations that actually need to take place to make the world better. AOC reports actual data about the actual death threats in her actual life, and those data, those facts, are not sexist. If Brian from the Thing was actually interested in ending sexism, the appropriate next question is What causes this gender disparity?
There was pushback, of course. AOC has many good and thoughtful twitter followers. But Brian from the Thing is also not the only person to (dishonestly) raise this objection.
Once again, the right wing acts to counter any reasonable basis for belief that they’re interested in honest dialog. One of these days, even the New York Times might get the message.