Yobo Yoho
LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph Gonzales (The Freeman) - July 26, 2020 - 12:00am

Did you catch that spectacular takedown by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) of a fellow US Congressman Ted Yoho?

Yoho, just like any other yobo, accosted AOC on the steps of Congress and berated her for her views on homelessness and criminality. AOC found him “rude” and said so, and called her a “f*ck*ng bitch”.

That exchange was overheard by a reporter for The Hill (it’s good to refer to the published account of that encounter before it gets muddied up. Which, yobo Yoho has started to do, as subsequent to that encounter, he first evaded the truth by offering a non-apology in Congress as part of a speech, and in a later interview on Fox News, he’s now lying about what he did or didn’t say.

But it was right after the Congressional non-apology that AOC came in with guns blazing.

AOC is on fire, and her performance sent shivers down the spines of many old white men. Her speech was simple, direct, and heartfelt. She didn’t attempt to load it with a vocabulary beyond most people’s comprehension. Instead, she spoke to the heart, drawing comparisons between Yoho as a father and herself as having a father, and Yoho’s daughters and herself as also being the daughter of someone else.

Yet while calling him out and describing exactly what happened on the steps of Congress, no mincing around, evasion, or window-dressing, AOC didn’t become spiteful or vindictive.

Sure, she mentioned being in situations where she was a waitress and having to toss men out of bars for being abusive or being harassed in a subway (and just the allusion to the sordid, cheap surroundings effectively dragged Yoho to the depths where his behavior normally occurs.)

But she didn’t call for retribution or punishment. She didn’t ask for an apology, as she clearly recognized that Yoho didn’t want to apologize. (As in fact, he has lied about the incident to cover it up). Instead, she called out his behavior, asked everyone to recognize it for what it was, and then entreated her audience to be mindful of how women are treated. It became a call to arms about respecting women, and treating people with decency.

There was a point where I think AOC made a mistake. AOC characterized the ongoing culture of old white dinosaurs in Congress as a culture of “lack of impunity”. Perhaps she meant a culture of impunity, or a culture of lack of accountability - but everyone understood her just fine.

I wonder how the yobo feels. Just reading the headlines would make one hide for the rest of, well, one’s political career. (Although Bloomberg describes him as an “ineffective tea Party howler scheduled for retirement”, a description that doesn't exactly hold promise for much more of a career.)

Los Angeles Times describes AOC’s assault on him as a “tear down”. CBS said he was blasted, the NY Times says he was "upbraided", and MSNBC witnessed him as being “slammed” and being given a "blistering rebuke". Deadline.com called it an “evisceration”, thecut.com headlined it as an excoriation, while the Daily Beast saw it as being "ripped to shreds". Ouch!

On the other hand, the press loved AOC. Slate.com described her speech as “political gold”, the Washington Post called it “a comeback for the ages” and Bloomberg-Quint called it "historic". Everywhere, there was glowing praise showered on her.

AOC is effectively using the platform afforded by a plum political post in America, and trading on her tremendous speaking capability and charisma, to reach out to more than a domestic audience. That speech just amplified her stature and broadcasted it to the international arena. It isn’t just New York now where she is idolized, but throughout the world.

Oh, to have a person with the right heart, political skills, and charisma in Philippine politics. How far along could we have gone along the road to enlightenment and progress? We need an AOC, all right.

TED YOHO
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