How Progressive Theatrics Benefit the Elites | Opinion

Celebrity Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is back in the spotlight. After a video showing her getting killed by Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar in a truly detestable anime clip posted to his Twitter account, AOC led an effort to have the Republican removed from his committees and censured by the House.

It should go without saying that sitting congresspeople should not hint at committing violent acts towards their fellow representatives in any capacity. Especially in a moment of extreme national tension over the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, anyone on the Right or Left who incites violence could be costing people their lives.

And yet, it is also the case that the outrage and extensive media coverage surrounding this episode has been wildly disproportionate, distracting from more pressing issues. Censuring Rep. Gosar might have been the right move, but it will have zero effect on the lives of anyone who lives outside of Washington, and it's hard not to compare the swift, self-righteous and effective denunciation of Gosar to the inaction, lack of outrage, and incompetence when it comes to our elected officials addressing the escalating crises facing average Americans.

And they are legion. Important economic issues like inflation of even the most basic goods are hammering the pocketbooks of working-class Americans. A supply chain crisis is causing shortages that will hit home for America during this holiday season. Opioid deaths have increased dramatically as fentanyl trafficking soars and the great American middle is ravaged by deaths of despair. And in the midst of all this, Congress is planning on giving wealthy blue state Democrats a massive tax cut as part of Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" bill.

These pressing challenges are being met with a big shrug by the government, perhaps because they are either completely ignored by the mainstream media or commentators are serving up lies to the American people about the challenges they face. MSNBC has repeatedly platformed pundits willing to say inflation is a good thing, or that it is simply the latest scheme of the online "disinformation" machine. And they are hardly alone.

The truth is, it greatly helps the media's effort to divide and distract the population from the misdeeds of the ruling class when progressives make a big show out of opposing the antics of the Right, even as they quietly bend the knee to the Democratic establishment on the policy questions at the heart of Biden's budget.

The playbook was there in AOC's own speech from the House floor. "It is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party in the United States of America cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of congress is wrong, and instead decides to venture off into a tangent about gas prices and inflation," Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez said, contrasting kitchen-table issues with those more pressing to members of Congress.

The charismatic congresswoman's impassioned speech was the perfect distraction for news networks like CNN to focus on while continuing to ignore the economic issues facing ordinary Americans as part of the perpetual culture war tearing this country apart. After all, if polarizing race politics and tribal fissures can fill a 24-hour news cycle, there is no incentive for journalists or politicians to ever focus on the living conditions of the American public.

But the media has a willing partner in progressive politicians, who over and over use their cultural clout on social media and their flair for the dramatic to join forces with the Democratic establishment on issues that have proven vital for keeping entrenched elites in positions of power.

That's what is sure to happen with the vote to censure Gosar: AOC's theatrics will give renewed legitimacy to the claim that Big Tech must be pushed to censor even more content online, given that Gosar's Twitter account was suspended after posting the now deleted cartoon. And it's not her first time doing something like this. AOC's melodramatics following the January 6th Capitol riot have been vital to the Democrats' use of those events to justify increasing the size of the national security state.

aoc on gosar

Similarly, progressive climate change policy has served as the latest cudgel to defend the deferential relationship our elites have with China, whose regime will gladly continue reaping the benefits of cheap outsourced labor from American corporations. Big business is also served well by progressive immigration policy in favor of opening borders and expanding amnesty to foreigners, who can then provide cheap labor in grueling workplaces.

On issue after issue, progressives have established a pattern of taking cultural stances and staging media-made performances that ultimately strengthen the wealth and power of the ruling class, without much accountability from most Left-wing forces; the opposite: The socialist publication Jacobin generated nothing but outrage after releasing a comprehensive study outlining how working class swing voters are more receptive to economic populists than woke progressives like AOC.

If the Left wants to be a powerful and credible opposition to the ruling class, its members need to start holding their politicians accountable for bending the knee to elites and undermining the fight for widespread economic redistribution that animates many Leftists. In the event that the Left remains complacent, the Right will have an even greater opportunity to build the working class coalition needed to recapture electoral majorities and build a conservative coalition against the elites.

James Lynch is a producer at Breaking Points.

The views in this article are the writer's own.