You may have heard about the two Congressional Representatives from New York who were violently attacked last week. Well, let’s rephrase that: You may have heard of one New York Congressional Representative who was violently attacked and another who claimed to have been violently attacked. Representative Lee Zeldin was attacked on stage while campaigning for New York governor by a man wearing what appeared to be sharpened brass knuckles, while Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was attacked by what appeared to be a sharpened tongue.
Okay, fine. It wasn’t a sharpened tongue. The insults being hurled at AOC were pretty standard cat-calling and were not very sharp. In fact, they were some of the most obnoxious and reprehensible ways to publically treat someone. But they were not violent. However, this did not stop Ocasio-Cortez from taking to social media - not once, but twice - to try to spin this as an act of aggression.
“I think the thing that was so crazy about that incident,” AOC stated in an Instagram video, “is not even that it happened, but that it happened right on the Capitol steps right in front of a Capitol police officer…and he was engaged in very clearly [bad word] threatening aggressive behavior…and he wasn’t even asked to take a step back.”
You can go and watch the video. The harasser had his cell phone on selfie mode, and his back to the Congresswoman. In no way was he ever acting in a way that would indicate that his behavior was threatening or aggressive. In fact, after one of the more disgraceful heckles, it is Ocasio-Cortez who makes an aggressive movement towards the low-life. Furthermore, AOC later told the press that her staff warned her that it wasn’t worth a citation to confront the guy, whom she claimed to have been “about to deck.” It seems as though the only one exhibiting any threatening or aggressive behavior was the Representative from New York’s 14th District.
But it’s also important to note in which political direction Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chose to take this. She didn’t use it to highlight the mistreatment of women in society, or the specific ways in which this dolt chose to go after a Latina woman in particular. Nope; her preferred political tact was to go after the Capitol police officer for standing there doing nothing while a creep committed no actual crime and presented no actual danger. And remember, this statement came hours after the incident. That means that AOC sat down and decided that the best course of action was to use this to attack a police officer.
Now contrast this with the actual physical assault on Representative Lee Zeldin. Zeldin did not behave aggressively towards his would-be attacker despite having good reason to do so. He stood his ground, and was eventually taken down by the man who grabbed a hold of him and would not let go, as aides and law enforcement came to get the man off of him. Zeldin even came back out on stage to finish his speech.
Later, Zeldin would praise those around him: “There were a lot of people who reacted very smartly and I’m very proud of that response in what was a really difficult moment.” He did not really have much to say about the attacker. However, later that same day, when the attacker was released on no bail, Zeldin used that as an opportunity to rail against bail reform, a key area of his platform. And that made sense because this man was clearly a menace to society and let out of jail to potentially do it again. The attacker was later arrested by the FBI on the federal charge of assaulting a federal lawmaker. But, as Zeldin pointed out, had this man attacked anyone else, that charge wouldn’t apply.
The differences in reactions between Zeldin and Ocasio-Cortez highlights the difference between Democrat and Republican mindsets. The Democratic Party, and in particular its far-left wing, will try to force the incident to fit the narrative. They will analyze, mend, and strain to have their point be proven - even when the point is not there.
Republicans wait for the narrative to be proven on its own. Zeldin had hours to release a statement on the attack, and could have used the stage to highlight the importance of mental health, or to highlight how one may not need a gun to cause severe damage. But he didn’t. He finished his speech, and only when his narrative was proven by the facts on the ground did he choose to comment. And that is how we should all react to news stories: Take a moment or two before reacting, and do not try to force a story into a narrative. It rarely fits.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.