Why conservatives call Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez “stupid”

It’s a popular meme on the right — calling AOC “stupid” and making fun of her for that. Seriously, do a search and you’ll find a bunch.

Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won a science fair in high school of the kind that usually gets won by people who go on to win Nobel prizes. The competition is the largest pre-college scientific research event in the world.


Then she went to Boston University where she graduated cum laude with degrees in economics and international relations.

So how can they call her “stupid”?

Well, first, let’s remember that facts are meaningless to these people. These are the same people who deny evolution, claim climate change isn’t real, argue that trickle-down economics works, and think Trump is completely innocent. They deny reality all the time when it contradicts their already-held world view.

But mostly, they say that about anyone who believes in democratic socialism. They point to Venezuela (ignoring the fact that Venezuela’s problems are not because of socialism but because of corruption and a near-dictatorship) while they ignore basically every other advanced civilized democratic country in the world that has socialism (most of Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, etc.).

In other words, they are seriously arguing that a person who graduated with honors in economics and international relations — the two things that would undoubtedly qualify anyone as an expert in democratic socialism — is “stupid.”

Which is about as stupid as they can be.

Bernie Sanders Deserves a Beach House

by Guest Blogger Mark Mensch

So there’s a large outcry about how Bernie Sanders, Democratic Socialist, wanting equality throughout the US for everyone, has just bought a beach house in Vermont for $600,000.

And true to internet and shock media, that has been the extent of their fact checking. From there they have begun to speculate that he used all of his campaign donations to buy it, that he’s not a true socialist for buying it, that he’s just another member of the 1% club and so on. In other words, let’s just slam him and not give a crap about the facts.bernie

Well let’s check the facts.

Yes, Bernie Sanders bought a beach home in Vermont for $600,000. Prior to this purchase, owned two homes – a joint rental property in Burlington and a condo in Washington, D.C. However according to the Seven Days Vermont news service, Bernie’s wife inherited a family vacation home in Maine recently and decided to sell that house and use it to put down a down payment on the Vermont Beach house (I had found somewhere on the internet that the house sold for something just over $500K but cannot find that information now – sorry).

Bernie did not use campaign funds to buy it. In fact, any left over campaign funds they can donate the funds to charities or political parties; it can contribute $2,000 per election to other candidates; and it can save the money in case the candidate chooses to run again. That’s it. They can’t use them to buy a house.

Next, Bernie Sanders’ net worth, according last week to MoneyNation, is $528,014. But how can that be with now three houses and everything else? Well there is this thing called debt and Bernie Sanders has it – anywhere from $25K-$65K. Putting that all aside, he is far from the 1% club – whose actual net worth requirements vary from place to place but according to the New York Times, the top 1% has a household income of $380,000 annually (over half of Bernie’s overall net worth) and a net worth of nearly $8.4 million.

Yes, he’s pretty well off compared to the average American – as are all senators, congressmen and other people in those elected offices. And even some of our most outspoken and loved ‘socialist’ presidents (such as Kennedy and Roosevelt) were millionaires. But Bernie Sanders is no 1%.

But the strangest argument is that he is turning on his democratic socialistic principles. A democratic socialist is not against people having nice things. They don’t expect everyone to have the same house, with the same car, with the same dog and the same job. What they do expect is that those who make more due to the advantages given within our country give back more. They don’t find loopholes to hide money or enact legislation to make sure they continue to make a profit while hurting other people. And that’s what Bernie Sanders is all about: Having corporations and the rich pay their share, and maybe a little more, back into the country instead of finding new ways to protect their assets while other hard working individuals wind up having to foot the bill.

Bernie Sanders spent the last 50 years of his life fighting for equal rights for everyone. He had worked hard and long and paid his fair share back to the society that helped him arrive there. And if he managed to afford a beach house not through lobbyist gifts or kickbacks and paid his property taxes for it, then I say he’s earned a beach house for his golden years.


Mark Mensch is an avid gamer and very active within the Live Action Role Playing community here in the US and abroad. He has had several short stories published and also runs a small etsy store for live action props and masks at www.etsy.com/shop/LARPGear. He lives with his 14 year old rabbit Maryann and tends to have opinions about everything – quite often on both sides of the issue.

What IS “Democratic Socialism” anyway?

Many people are criticizing Bernie Sanders for being a “democratic socialist” without having the slightest idea what that term means.


cartoon by Matt Weurker

Let’s try to simplify things.

There are two sets of terms to know:  economic and political. A government has both.


Capitalism. This is where the market decides and government stays out of it. No minimum wage, no health inspections, no laws against discrimination, no regulations on business at all. This doesn’t work, because you end up with the powerful running everything, destroying the economy, and keeping people in poverty.

Communism. This is where the government runs business. The idea is that we should all live together in peace and harmony and share everything, and the President earns the same amount as the guy who sweeps the street. This also doesn’t work, because it completely destroys initiative and any reason to try to improve yourself.

Socialism. This is where most countries are, somewhere between the two extremes. Here, the government regulates business to prevent the abuses capitalism can bring, and provides many services (libraries, hospitals, parks, fire departments, social security, unemployment, etc.) that pure capitalism would have private businesses provide (if they felt like it; pure capitalism would never require a business to provide something it doesn’t want).

This is the tough balance to meet. You don’t want to go too far in either direction, and most of the debate in the US is over how far to go — but honestly, even the most conservative politician agrees with some socialism (they’ll never admit that, though).


Democracy.  This is where the people decide, usually through representative democracy or republicanism.

Totalitarianism.  This is a dictatorship, whether individually controlled (North Korea) or committee controlled (China). Once more, there are degrees here as well as various types (monarchy, fascism, oligarchy). But the key thing they all have in common is that the decision-making power is not with the people.

What usually happens is that people confuse the economic with the political. The Soviet Union was a communist country but was also a totalitarian country, and people started associating the two. This is wrong. You could have a democratic communist country. And despite what the Soviet Union would have had you believe with their propaganda, Karl Marx supported democracy.

It’s even more confusing when countries lie about themselves. Just because you call yourself “the Democratic Republic of Vietnam” doesn’t mean you are a democratic republic, any more than China is the “people’s republic.” The Soviet Union was indeed a communist country, but it was a corrupt one because you know perfectly well that not everyone shared equally in that society.

So when Bernie Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist” he is making it clear that politically, he agrees with democracy (the people decide) and economically, he agrees with socialism (government works for the people).

Disclaimer:  This is a really quick and simple explanation and is meant to be a guideline and a start for conversation. And it’s also mostly from an old post I did about two years ago, so if you have a long memory, it may be familiar.