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Insincere protest is worse than no protest at all

Photo designed by Kyle St. John

On Monday, news broke that Aurora James, the designer behind congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” Met Gala dress, had been served 15 warrants for criminal tax evasion totaling over $130,000. In addition to tax evasion, James’ company, The Cultural Brokerage Agency, has faced multiple lawsuits for withholding payment on workers’ benefits.

Even prior to this news, Cortez’s choice in Met Gala fashion was a slap in the face to her working-class constituents.

How could Cortez, in good conscience, attend an event predicated on the privatization of history and knowledge — an event so exclusive that celebrities aren’t allowed to take photos inside?

While Cortez romped around in her designer dress, Black Lives Matter protestors were being arrested outside the venue. If she wanted to make real change, she would have ditched the gala and joined the protest where people were trying to make real change.

Now, I am not in the camp of people who think AOC is a hypocrite for wearing the dress itself. Cortez is not within the hyper-wealthy group that I am concerned about taxing. Prior to her congressional run, she was a regular working-class citizen.

What concerns me is Cortez’s ability to distance herself from the concerns of her former working class compatriots.

Attending the Met Gala in that dress was incredibly tone deaf, she clearly didn’t do her research into the underhanded business dealings of her designer, which aren’t that hard to find.

Similarly, Cortez’s ICE detention camp photoshoot has also come under fire. Why was her anti-Trump rally cry to “close ICE dentention centers” if most of the worst facilities are still in operation under the Biden administration?

Nothing has changed, and young Democrats can smell the hypocrisy. With Joe Biden polling at an all-time low in Iowa, the party needs to put its money where its mouth is, lest it lose big time in the next election.

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