Who's the Real 'Bad**s' in Congres?
You may have noticed this popular social media meme: Whenever a male over the age of 50 appears out of touch on a video, a post or article, the piece of "content" will be mocked with a screenshot showing a cartoon newspaper.
In the newspaper, Grandpa Abraham Simpson shakes his fist under the headline: "Old Man Yells at Cloud."
Indeed, my aging generation is reminded constantly by word and deed — via new technologies, edgy advertising, and Photoshop memes — how increasingly clueless and growingly irrelevant we rickety dinosaurs are.
But before we shuffle our way into that gentle night, permit me to vent — not at a cloud, but against the sheer chutzpah of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., commonly known as AOC.
The 29-year-old is the inspiration behind and acknowledged leader of the Squad.
In a new Instagram livestream, she opined that Millennials (born between 1980 to 1995) and the subsequent Generation Z are "bad**s" more "informed," and more "willing to go to the streets" than the older generations.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t know or doesn’t care about "older people" who helped support their families during the depression, stormed the beaches, "ducked and covered" in school, marched for civil rights, protested the Vietnam war, saw friends and family members suffer and die from AIDS, and built the digital infrastructure making social media possible.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez added that her own generation "actually take[s] time to read and understand our history, the history of the labor movement, history of civil rights, history of economics, history of the United States, history of colonialism, and they're not afraid to have those conversations."
It’s hardly surprising that she left out the Holocaust, given the widespread reaction after she compared immigrant detention centers with Nazi concentration camps.
Her naiveté on the Holocaust is alarming not only because we should expect more from members of Congress, but also because it reflects her generation of Smartphone samurais.
A study commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, released on the most recent Holocaust Remembrance Day, found that two-thirds of American Millennials surveyed did not know what Auschwitz is, and that 23% either haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure if they’ve heard of it — this is twice the percentage of older adults who were unaware of the Holocaust.
And yet, Millennials and Generation Z’ers will make up an estimated 37 percent of the U.S. electorate in 2020.
ABC News recently told the story of 21-year-old Andy Vila, whose parents fled Castro and risked their lives in so doing. Despite the tyranny under which his parents grew up, Vila thinks that America’s makeover to socialism, which has left nothing but disaster, "would be a good thing."
According to ABC, 58 percent of all Americans 18 to 34 agree, including Havana-born Miamian Ernesto Medina, 31, who says he doesn't care "what the old people think anymore."
Did Medina never learn about Cubans who died fleeing Castro’s socialist paradise or the human rights campaigners still languishing in Cuban prisons?
It’s often painful, but the best cure for ignorance — and the contempt that young people often hold for older people and our views — has always been real life experience.
This was true even for the Greatest Generation, many of whom, as teenagers, were attracted to the isolationist "America First," founded in 1940.
Soon, Pearl Harbor and the horrors of World War II taught them a bitter lesson.
Their real-time heroism and sacrifice fighting the German/Japanese Axis provided life-changing lessons that carried over after World War II into their wholesale rejection of the anti-democratic McCarthy movement at home along with their perseverance in ultimately defeating of Soviet communism abroad.
The Greatest Generation understood that they could oppose communism with every fiber of their being, but that it was equally patriotic to reject the Red Scare and its assault on our civil liberties.
Through their hardships, they developed a nuanced worldview that is anathema to the intellectually lazy and binary intersectionalism, which is a hallmark of today’s progressivism. If you really care about social justice, you must check off the correct box on every issue. If you fail the purity test, the progressive establishment, which promotes tolerance, has no use for you. You can "go to the streets" to support LGBTQ rights, but you must leave your rainbow Israeli flag at home.
Yes, older generations have made mistakes.
The Greatest Generation did not unify with the silent generation (born between 1925 and 1945) and baby boomers to stop the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Boomers and Gen Xers have not insisted on immigration policies that are at once humane and effective in controlling illegal passage across our borders.
But all generations make mistakes. And we learn from them as we seek to understand other perspectives and ultimately leave the world better than we found it.
I have one suggestion for Ms. AOC and her social media followers.
Before you take a victory lap on the basis of your supposedly unprecedented social activism, google Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga.
As a young African-American, he "went into the streets" oppposing the Vietnam War.
He organized young people for civil rights when he was younger than Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and got bashed in the head at Pettis Bridge — just weeks before he walked beside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the 1963 March on Washington.
Rep. Lewis has been at the forefront of virtually every human rights crusade, including the movement to liberate Soviet Jews. Does Ms. AOC consider herself more "bad**s" than Congressman Lewis?
It's been said that to quote author Mokokoma Mokhonoana, "ignorance has its own advantages."
Today all Americans, from the cloud-shouters to Millennials and Generation Z, have a front row seat as Rep. AOC and her minions seek to deconstruct memory and "courageously" replace it with their "bad**s" global view — conveyed of course with the depth and reliability of a snarky tweet or a meme.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean, Director Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization. Abraham Cooper has been a longtime activist for Jewish and human rights causes. His extensive involvement in Soviet Jewry included visiting refuseniks, helping to open Moscow’s first Jewish Cultural Center, and lecturing at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Sakharov Foundation. In 1977, he came to L.A. to help Rabbi Marvin Hier found the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and for three decades Rabbi Cooper has overseen the Wiesenthal Center’s international social action agenda including worldwide antisemitism and extremist groups, Nazi crimes, Interfaith Relations, the struggle to thwart the anti-Israel Divestment campaign, and worldwide promotion of tolerance education. Widely recognized as an international authority on issues related to digital hate and the Internet, Rabbi Cooper was listed in 2017 by Newsweek among the top most influential Rabbis in the United States. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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