Politics, Moderate

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Politics

Despite her haters, youth is not wasted on Ocasio-Cortez

Esther J. Cepeda on

CHICAGO -- It must be true that the widest cultural gulfs have always been due to age.

This is the only charitable way to explain the simultaneous reactions of fanatical adoration and pearl-clutching disgust over a tweeted video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing in college.

Not dirty dancing, mind you. Not suggestive or scantily clad or in any way undignified dancing. All the newly sworn-in Bronx congresswoman did in this 8-year-old video is some goofy (borderline geeky), happy, joyful, youthful twirling and hopping that would be perfectly appropriate for church.

But for all its innocence and charm, the outcry by Ocasio-Cortez's detractors was typically sexist, puerile and telling.

She was called a know-it-all, a clueless nitwit, a hag; one Twitter post suggested she stick to pole dancing. Meanwhile, her fans responded with overwhelmingly fawning declarations of support.

In coffee shops, hospital waiting rooms and bus stops, debates over the leaked video pitted people who had the tone of scolding, close-minded parents that think they're keeping the nation from getting itself into trouble against younger people who see a legitimately relatable politician.

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Put it into perspective: Ocasio-Cortez graduated high school in 2007. The 2007 Mindset List, an annual compilation of facts about incoming college freshmen, designed to help professors understand the world view of their new students, had this to say about Ocasio-Cortez's cohort:

-- For them, "Ctrl + Alt + Del" is as basic as "ABC."

-- They have never gotten excited over a telegram, a long-distance call or a fax.

-- Bert and Ernie are old enough to be their parents.

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