A typical morning routine might include planning out the day ahead, watching or reading the news and working out. The typical American does not spend their morning reviewing the people who want to murder them.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), in this, is not a typical American.
“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,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez.
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. https://t.co/hiYbPghad7
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 28, 2019
This came in response to a “moving” Memorial Day tribute at a baseball game that listed Ocasio-Cortez alongside Kim Jung-un and Fidel Castro on a list “enemies of freedom.” Antifa protesters were also included on the list of America’s enemies. The baseball team apologized.
“I don’t even get to see all of them,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “Just the ones that have been flagged as particularly troubling. It happens whenever Fox gets particularly aggressive + hateful, too. Young interns have to constantly hear hateful messages (far beyond disagreement) from ppl we don’t even rep.”
Since her whirlwind nomination and election in 2018, Ocasio-Cortez has been the outspoken leader of the young progressive movement. This has garnered her a dedicated following, but has also made her a punching bag for both conservatives and centrist Democrats.
This has led to forms of attack and humiliation that other members of Congress rarely endure. Ocasio-Cortez has been referred to as “little girl” by colleagues, harassed by fake journalists hoping to get a viral video of a slip-up, and even targeted by the right-wing Daily Caller, which was criticized for publishing fake nude photos of the Congresswoman.
She was on the list of targets for assassination by the white nationalist Coast Guard officer who was preparing a series of targeted killings against perceived left-wing symbols early this year. As the trend of right-wing extremism rises, so to does the likelihood of threats against progressives — Ocasio-Cortez chief among them.
“This puts me in danger every time,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote following the Ohio College Republicans labeling her a domestic terrorist. “Almost every time this uncalled for rhetoric gets blasted by conserv. grps, we get a spike in death threats to refer to Capitol Police. Multiple ppl have been arrested trying to harm me, Ilhan, & others. @GOP, what’s it going to take to stop?”
Ocasio-Cortez and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) both regularly receive threats, and both make up part of a wave of progressive women of color elected to Congress in 2018.
“All of this is to say that words matter, and can have consequences for safety,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.