Let me start off by saying that I don’t want to talk about this. The Democratic primary is heating up, President Trump launched his reelection campaign, and oh, the US is potentially on the brink of war with Iran. But apparently, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a statement that has the entire Jewish population talking. AOC stated outright that the United States is operating concentration camps at the US-Mexico border. She also invoked the “never again” slogan associated with the Holocaust. This caused a massive debate in the media, as well as on social media, as to whether or not this is an apt comparison. But to tell you the truth, AOC’s comments shouldn’t have caused any firestorm whatsoever.
For years now, Democrats have been talking about policies in an innovative way. They just make comments, don’t offer any solutions, and allow the public discourse to revolve around it. Mayor de Blasio did the same thing two weeks ago with his “anti-Semitism is a construct of the right” comment. Ilhan Omar did it repeatedly with her anti-Semitic comments poorly masked as condemnation of Israel. Every single Democratic presidential candidate who has discussed reparations has done it. There are no policy prescriptions. There is no actual plan for how to deal with anti-Semitism, Middle East politics, nor reparations. Every comment is “Yeah, we should definitely have that conversation.” Nobody ever follows up with “Okay, what do you propose?” It’s always just left hanging, and it is up to the public to fill in the blanks. (To be clear, there are a few Democrats who have policy prescriptions for many areas, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang, and Bernie Sanders are chief among them. But Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg seem to want to have conversations without offering any substantive policy.)
In this comment, AOC is no different. She has been saying that there is a problem at the border for the past several months. But never once did she, nor any Democrat, offer any policy to fix it. After a while, the border issue dies down. AOC doesn’t like that. So she says that people are being held in state-run concentration camps and internment camps (that was mentioned later on in the video).
And now, the public has fallen into two camps. Those who oppose AOC are trying to use this as a club. Many, including noted black-face wearer Dov Hikind, are even accusing AOC of downplaying the Holocaust. Even if the conditions at the border are nowhere near as bad as the conditions Jews faced in Nazi Germany (they’re not), there is no evidence to support the idea that AOC is downplaying the Holocaust. On the other side, those who agree with AOC somehow can’t even agree how to defend her. Some are claiming that this is a fully warranted comparison, while others are trying to say that she wasn’t comparing it to the Holocaust at all (despite using the phrase “never again”). I think the defense should at the very least get its story straight.
Republicans have been crying out for the past two years about Trump Derangement Syndrome that afflicts many on the left today. Those on the right have the similar condition of Ocasio-Cortez Derangement Syndrome. I, myself, am recovering from ODS. But I only recently have arrived at the conclusion that nothing that she says in an Instagram video actually matters. The ones who follow her already agree with her. She’s not offering any solutions; she’s just talking.
In fact, none of the fallout from AOC’s comments actually matter. Why not? Because just like reparations, there is no policy on the table. AOC has never offered a policy on what to do to ease the situation at the border. I urge you to watch the full Instagram video that started this whole whirlwind. At no point in the video does she offer her opinion on how to fix the issue. Yet somehow, it’s her comments that matter because we as a society are so anxious to jump down the throats of our political adversaries that as soon as someone of note says anything, we must go all-out in defending or opposing it. And yes, I include myself in that statement as well.
Now, if you want to have a discussion about why the border is the way it is, we could do that. We could look at the statement made by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. “In March alone, [Customs and Border Patrol] apprehended and encountered over 103,000 migrants crossing without legal status, the most in one month for over a decade…the system is full and we are well beyond our capacity…we don’t have room to hold them. We don’t have the authority to remove them fairly and expeditiously.”
Do you know what would help a lot to relieve the burden on CBP offices at the border? Right. Funding. Funding for staff. Funding for increased security. For housing. Food. Water. Healthcare. Any guesses as to who is in charge of those funds? Correct again! Congress. And can you name someone who has been so upset about this whole situation who currently sits in Congress? You’re on a roll! Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Last question. Can you guess which representative from New York sits on the House Committee on Appropriations, the committee that basically decides which money goes where? Well no, you’re wrong there. It’s actually Grace Meng, the representative of New York’s 6th District, where the majority of the Queens Jewish Link’s distribution lies. So if you are so inclined, I recommend you contact her offices in Washington and on Queens Boulevard, and ask her to support funding for the border.
Until this point, House Democrats have refused to issue funding for the border. They are clearly doing so to make President Trump look like a monster who doesn’t care about immigrants fleeing bad situations in their home country. But Democrats who use these people as political pawns are equally as culpable. It’s time to stop “having a conversation” and time to start taking action. No more finger-pointing. No more name calling. No more invocation of the Holocaust. None of that matters. Action is the only answer. Perhaps the absolute failure of the Green New Deal made AOC gun-shy about proposing actual legislation, but the fact that AOC continually makes claims without offering solutions speaks volumes.
By Izzo Zwiren
Izzo Zwiren works in healthcare administration, constantly concerning himself with the state of healthcare politics. The topic of healthcare has led Izzo to become passionate about a variety of political issues affecting our country today. Aside from politics, Izzo is a fan of trivia, stand-up comedy, and the New York Giants. Izzo lives on Long Island with his wife and two adorable, hilarious daughters.