I’m a sexual assault survivor. I’m here to rape you. Please remove your clothing, it’s making me feel extremely unsafe.
“Sexual assault” is a deliberately nebulous term, and believing someone as obviously mercenary and opportunistic as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is highly counter-intuitive. It borders on the irremediable stupidity one tends to find among undergrad Daily Show revolutionaries. For one thing, there’s simply no risk to saying anything AOC says out loud in public—the media isn’t going to scrutinize her, and claiming entree to a sanctified victim class only enhances the teflon, as e.g.:
So I don’t actually mean to pick on AOC with this. We could be talking about any number of habitual personalities in American public life. Grifters nowadays are actually less believable when they have names and faces. What needs to be questioned isn’t the particular performer but the entire genre. AOC just happens to be its best contemporary exemplar.
Okay, so AOC claims to be a sexual assault survivor and likens the former experience to the latter one of being forced to hide in a bathroom from Capitol rioters. Some evidence may have recently come to light that she is lying about this:
I’m not sure how true this evidence is (UPDATE: it’s true ROFL); but at least for the sake of argument, I have no problem taking her claims entirely at face value. Nothing that a contender for power says is devoid of political calculation. So the point is not the authenticity of the person’s subjective impressions. “I was raped,” “I was disenprivilegized,” “I was abducted by aliens.” Fine. Whatever. I believe you. Qui bono? Let’s first understand exactly what AOC is calling for here, and (momentarily) what she isn’t, because those things are a lot more apropos than the verity or falsehood underlying her rationale.
The Capitol rioters committed trespass; they committed vandalism; and (if we’re to take AOC’s claims at face value) they assaulted (in the legal sense of making a threat) numerous members of Congress. Perhaps it’s too obvious to point out that when you thrust yourself into the public limelight by pursuing power over the lives of strangers, it isn’t far-fetched to conceive of this possibility. Exactly how reprehensible a prospect it is depends on the kind of power we’re talking about. A local school board voting on a measure to purchase a swing-set probably shouldn’t be obliged to hide in a water closet from marauders, no matter how toothless and pathetic they are. But congressmen…?
I’ll leave the answer to that question to your own private opinion; suffice it to say that for well-known reasons the U.S. Congress is not very popular. But the nature and extent of AOC’s (or any congressman’s) power can be gauged by the consequences meted out to the people who allegedly threatened her. Because when AOC likens the Capitol riot to rape, what she’s calling for—what she’s rationalizing in this particular case—is for trespass, vandalism, and assault to be charged in this particular case as the absolute most serious violent crimes that United States law recognizes (e.g., sedition and terrorism with hate crimes enhancements) and for those charged to be jailed potentially for the rest of their lives. She’s calling for justice with respect to persons.
And this shows what AOC is decidedly not calling for, which is the dismantling of the federal police state. Now, AOC is probably a lot better on so-called national security issues than many other members of Congress. It may all be cosmetic, but assuming it isn’t, what we can see now is that she does believe there is a category of Americans to whom the police state’s darkest, most unaccountable powers ought to apply.
So there’s that.
But there are things that the U.S. federal police state is not especially guilty of in the modern era, e.g., mass sexual enslavement secondary to genocide. If there was a government on the planet that was guilty of that, one would think it should concern the U.S. Congress, particularly those members who are “survivors of sexual assault” and especially those sex assault surviving congresspersons who are willing to speak out about their experiences as a way of rationalizing policy.
I don’t care what you think about China, or about Muslims, or about the moral pretensions of U.S. foreign policy. Opposition to genocide of the God-fearing by the godless is a cause that is dear to my heart. If it isn’t dear to yours, shame on you. Yes, Xinjiang is an old story; that life goes on in spite of it is the worst possible indictment of capitalism’s supposed democratizing tendencies.
As a member of Congress, AOC has public standing and arguably the obligation to place any number of concerns before the American public. As one of a relatively small number of congresspeople who has a household name, her capabilities and obligations in this regard are well above average. And of course, China is not a nation of marginal interest to America. It is our number one global adversary, the largest (or second largest, depending on how it’s measured) economy in the world, and our largest trading partner.
Genocide is also not a topic of marginal interest to Congress. America makes large and deeply moralistic claims for its imperatives beyond its borders, to the extent that the commission of genocide anywhere on the planet in some sense shames the United States. And the prevention or mitigation of genocide has been a key public rationale for numerous highly destructive U.S. military interventions abroad. The fact that in Xinjiang we find genocide with a generous helping of “sexual assault” (of the variety that is actual rape, in case anyone still wonders just what we’re referring to anymore when we say “sexual assault”) is par for the course.
If I had 1/1000th of AOC’s following I’d be banging on about Xinjiang day and night. But just what has AOC had to say about it? Well, nothing. Exactly zero racial justice warriors in Congress and the Fortune 100 have, because they’re profiting from it. The Trump administration waited until January 19th to call it what it is. The only sexual assault survivor in Congress who has done anything to position the U.S. opposite the horrors being inflicted by Beijing is Marco Rubio. His colleagues’ eventual pronouncements were as DOA (and immediately forgotten) as Pompeo’s were, because it’s highly uncomfortable for the beneficiaries of misplaced power to oppose the misplaced power of others. These types much prefer to coexist with one another, as China does with America. When war must be waged, the rationale is always the same: these people aren’t like us.
Unlike Chinese prison camp guards.