A picture is worth a thousand words — maybe even 300,000, which was the dollar cost for a table at the Met Gala this year. And there’s no denying just how powerful the imagery of that evening was. This year’s Met Gala theme was “In America,” the irony of which was not lost on most of the nation: Our elected officials are increasingly more concerned about acting like celebrities than addressing the problems hurting their constituents.
The spectacle of the elites was on full display, with celebrities and politicians glammed up to excess, sans masks, making statements about “taxing the rich” without a hint of irony — all as the working class served them, notably while wearing masks . Rules for thee, but not for me.
Marie Antoinette would have been proud. But while progressive leaders focus on drinking champagne with the pop culture figures of the day, their constituents are reaching a breaking point.
Children are stuck in failing school districts. Business owners are struggling to keep afloat due to the high taxes, expensive regulations, and pandemic-era mandates that destroyed their ability to keep workers on their payroll and pay their bills. Millions nationwide are getting paid more to stay home than to work, leading to a nationwide crisis, the social and economic impact of which will likely be felt for the next decade.
The icing on the proverbial cake? This hardship is playing out to the self-laudatory soundtrack of elite progressives trying to “save us” from ourselves.
The truth is, many of our elected officials are too busy engaging in performative “woke” activism to solve problems in their own districts.
That’s why Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would rather sleep on the steps of the U.S. Capitol than tackle the root causes of homelessness. She’d rather put on a “tax the rich” dress and retweet the president than write legislation putting ideas into action, which is likely why not a single bill from AOC has gotten a floor vote.
The more progressives waste time chasing the attention of celebrities, the further out of touch they become with the day-to-day experiences of their own constituents. Consider AOC’s home state. In nearly every way, life is getting harder for the people of New York.
Violent crime is on the rise, a trend that progressives refuse to acknowledge nationwide. Thousands of businesses have shut their doors for good. One-third of small businesses across the city may never reopen, a dire statistic when you consider that small businesses provide jobs to half the workforce in the city.
Of every 10 students in New York City, two will not graduate high school. Enrollment in charter schools increased by 7% last year, yet more than 48,000 children are still wait-listed for a desk at a charter school.
Instead of dressing up like a graffiti wall, maybe AOC should have worn a dress shaped like a Powerball lottery machine. Because that’s what parents living in her own district rely on to get their children out of failing schools and into a decent school — a lottery.
And yet, while a national school choice program that lets federal dollars follow the child to whatever school best suits him or her would actually level the playing field for minority and low-income families in her district, AOC continues to beat the drum of the progressive education agenda — more funding, more bloated bureaucracy, and less power in the hands of parents.
The level of cognitive dissonance required to hold this position is impressive given that AOC personally experienced the negative outcome of zip-code-determined schools as a young girl and would have benefited from school choice.
But performative activism isn’t about making sense or making change — it’s about making noise. Virtue signaling is easy; governing is hard. It’s past time our elected officials stop taking the easy route and start representing the voices within their own districts.