Political Focus: Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez targeted just a week after inauguration

In a stunning turn of events, two rising stars in the newly inaugurated House of Representatives have recently faced both political and personal attacks.

Rashida Tlaib (D) of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District faced scrutiny when she stated she wanted to “impeach the motherfucker,” speaking about President Trump. At almost the same time, New York’s 14th Congressional District Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) faced scrutiny after a video of her dancing surfaced, along with nudes that were later debunked as being someone else’s.

Tlaib’s comments about the impeachment of the president were called unprofessional by many Republicans, which is unsurprising. The president’s own relationship with crass language should mean Republicans would be equally harsh on both parties for unprofessionalism. As you might expect, there was far more backlash against the use of “motherfucker” than “shithole countries” by the GOP.

Flash forward a week, and Ocasio-Cortez becomes the topic of concern for many strange reasons. First was the resurfacing of an old video of her dancing to “Lisztomania” when she was a college student. The video was meant to be some kind of attack on her person, like dancing during college to a popular indie song is a sign that she is not qualified to serve in Congress. Then, as if that wasn’t enough to demoralize her, a leaked nude photo of a woman in a bathtub with only her feet showing were posted, claiming it to be of Ocasio-Cortez.

The photo was meant to be a crude way of devastating her career before it even started. It was quickly debunked by, of all things, a foot fetish database that proved the feet in the bathtub were not hers. This led Ocasio-Cortez to quickly strike back against the original website to post the photo, the Daily Caller, claiming — correctly — that they were completely out of line for reposting the fake pictures and not indicating they were so.

This may not be news to many people, but these stories are perfect examples of how women, especially women of color, are targeted in politics personally instead of on the basis of policy. The fact that these two congresswomen are much more progressive than their institutionalist Democratic counterparts was never a topic discussed in any of these events. Most of the targetings have been meant to devalue these two women as people rather than on the basis of their political stances.

And to say these two women are the only targets does not do the justice of completely revealing the racism and sexism still imbedded in the politics of the United States. A cursory glance at your news feed these past few weeks would prove that, with most of Washington and political media caught up in the deadlocked debate of whether or not we should spend $5 billion on a wall of metal sticks on the southern border.

Not exactly a stamp of approval in terms of inclusivity.

In the weeks to come, be on the lookout for more of these occurrences, and make a conscious effort to disagree with politicians on the basis of their policies, and not their person. Because there will be more stories, you can count on that.