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Opinion | Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is probably your only hope

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a mistake.

While talking about poverty in Alabama, Ocasio-Cortez said “ringworm” instead of “hookworm,” and whooo boy, hahaha, isn’t she dumb and stupid and a naive little girl? She should keep her mouth shut and never talk again.

Except … I’m betting the people of Lowndes County sure would appreciate her not shutting up.

Because that’s where the hookworm is living these days — a 19th-century disease making a comeback because the State of Alabama could not possibly care less about the health and welfare of the poor, black people in Lowndes. Those citizens have raw sewage flowing through their yards — a problem they’ve complained about to state and local officials for a decade or more now — and it never seems to get fixed.

Up until a few weeks ago, no one seemed to care at all, except Rep. Terri Sewell, who might as well be shouting into a tornado from her gerrymandered Black Belt district.

Now, thanks to Ocasio-Cortez, it’s all over the place. And maybe a few people have looked up the term “hookworm” and learned that it’s fairly unpleasant.

But the majority of the stories about the Lowndes issues, and about Ocasio-Cortez’s mention of them during a forum this week, did not focus on the disease and the shocking problem of raw sewage flowing in an American city in 2019. Instead, those stories and mentions mostly focused on Ocasio-Cortez’s “huge” error.

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Stories like the utter hack job performed Tuesday by, which carried the juvenile headline “Rep. Ocasio-Cortez cites Alabama ringworm, a common skin disease, as example of healthcare crisis.”

This is the largest news organization in Alabama skipping over an actual and real health care crisis in Alabama — one being discussed on a national level at this point — to write about a simple mistake made by someone who actually cares enough to discuss Alabama’s problems. (Fortunately, a different reporter for followed up on Wednesday with a thorough examination of the problems, and placed Ocasio-Cortez’s simple gaffe in the proper context.)

Mo Brooks isn’t talking about it. Gary Palmer isn’t talking about it. Martha Roby isn’t talking about it. Bradley Byrne isn’t talking about it. Mike Rogers isn’t talking about it.

It’s happening in their state.

But AOC is.

And she’s doing so in the context of explaining how America has its priorities out of whack — that too often the elected leaders from both sides are selling out the poor and middle class in exchange for checks from the wealthy and major corporations.

In fact, her full quote on the Lowndes issue was this: “I do think that a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong.”

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For the life of me, I can’t understand the disdain for Ocasio-Cortez from poor and middle-class voters. This is a person literally fighting your fight, standing up for your paycheck and your insurance and your worker’s rights and your family.

Oh, I know, she’s young and brown-skinned and lacks a penis, so she must be stupid and we must parse every sentence, looking desperately for the gaffe which we can focus on instead of her point.

Because these people are serious about having only well-spoken, knowledgeable public servants at the federal level. Which is why they’ve voted as president of the country a man who once said during an on-the-record AP interview: “I want to do the job, but not many more. This is an important story. I’ve done a lot. I’ve done more than any other president in the first 100 days and I think the first 100 days is an artificial barrier. And I’m scheduled … the foundations have been set to do some great things. With foreign countries. Look at, look at President Xi. I mean …(end of answer).”

Let me break some terrible news to you: If you’re not earning mid-six figures each year, your government is not working for you. Your wages have been stagnant or going in reverse. Your health care costs are rising, and the services are getting worse. You have been priced out of your courts, and your state’s infrastructure is mostly crumbling around you.

The babbling lunatic in the White House — the one you thought to be a real outsider who was going to “drain the swamp” — has instead stocked his cabinet with billionaires and the swampiest of swamp people and gave a tax break to major corporations and the wealthy at your expense. He’s tried desperately to take away your health care and he’s currently left 800,000 Americans working jobs without pay because he didn’t fully understand what it meant to shut down the government.

At this point, AOC is your only lifeline. She’s the only one who cares, and the only one apparently willing to speak up for the average worker with the same passion that is usually reserved for million-dollar donors and oil companies.

But pfft, so what. She said ringworm instead of hookworm.

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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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