Scott Tibbs

Fake "death threats" and a need for professionalism

By Scott Tibbs, February 17, 2023

If someone threatened your life, would you be casually chatting with that person? Would you be casually sitting next to that person and smiling, instead of avoiding that dangerous person? If you are Congresswoman Alexandria "AOC" Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) you would ignore the "danger" to have that friendly chat. But could it be that the "threat" was never real, and you are dishonestly exploiting the alleged "threat" to gain sympathy and score political points?

Back in December 2021, Congressman Paul Gosar (R, AZ) had posted a childish anime video with his head pasted onto the hero's body, as the hero slayed two Kaiju monsters. The two monsters' heads had been replaced with the heads of AOC and President Biden. It was a typical meme video from the New Right, which values style and flash over actual policy. AOC claimed this was a "threat" against her life, and brought it up again last week when railing against Republicans taking away a committee assignment from Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

AOC clearly does not believe the video was a "threat" against her life, no matter how many speeches she gives on the House floor pretending to be a preacher at a charismatic church. If she did, she would not have been caught on camera casually chatting on the the colleague who publicly "threatened" to murder her.

The problem with this dishonesty is it minimizes the heinousness of real threats of violence. I am sure that AOC herself has gotten real threats of murder or serious bodily harm by deranged people and by perverts. Blowing the Gosar meme video out of proportion also minimizes the heinousness of real threats received by many other members of Congress and elected officials (and un-elected civil servants) all over the nation. The only one who should apologize here is Ocasio-Cortez.

This does not mean that Gosar is off the hook. Is it really too much to ask members of Congress conduct their duties with professionalism, instead of posting childish meme videos? Had Gosar taken his job seriously and decided to act like a statesman instead of a teenage edgelord, AOC would have absolutely nothing to complain about. Is this too much to expect for a position which comes with a $174,000 salary and generous government benefits including a health care plan and a lucrative government pension?

We are being represented poorly by people in Washington, and we need people in both parties to grow up and treat their position with the gravitas those positions deserve. We need leaders who respect the voters, the institution of Congress, and their colleagues. But that will never change until the voters themselves start taking governance seriously and use their votes to express the need for professionalism in the political class. Ultimately, we will get the government that we deserve.

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