AOC’s “Radical” Gown

W.J. Astore

AOC got a lot of attention wearing a gown to the Met Gala that read, “tax the rich.” Here’s a fetching image:

Of course, this is hardly a radical message. Firstly, the rich are already taxed. Secondly, something like 70% of Americans, and perhaps more, agree that the richest Americans should pay more taxes. Thirdly, attendees of the Met Gala are, though rich, generally supportive of liberal causes, if not of true leftist agendas, so her message was hardly offensive to most of the people there.

Many people have pointed out AOC’s hypocrisy, such as her lack of action on issues like health care for all or a $15 minimum wage. Her gown was basically an exercise in performative theater. It garnered “hits” and “likes” as well as fury, but in the end it signified nothing.

Actions speak louder than words, even on gowns, but I can imagine more powerful words for her to have worn, if she’d really wanted to send a subversive message. Examples that occur to me:

EAT THE RICH. Much more amusing and to the point.

END THE WARS. Why not focus on America’s forever wars that have (or will) cost us $8 trillion?

HELP THE POOR. Why not remind the rich at the gala that there is such a thing as poor people in America?

GREED IS BAD. The anti-Gordon Gekko message.

CLASS WAR: Why not go all Marxian on them?

NO MORE NUKES: Why not remind Americans that the Pentagon plans to spend as much as $1.7 trillion on new ICBMs, bombers, and nuclear submarines, when the “old” ones we have are already capable of ending most life on Earth?

OK: Wearing what amounts to a bumper sticker on a gown isn’t going to change the world. It’s a stunt to grab attention, with an element of narcissism to it. But if you’re going to pull a stunt like this, why not go big? Why not be radical?

One more thought: If you watched the Met Gala and all the celebrities showing off their gowns and outfits, and you’ve also read “The Hunger Games” or saw the movies, you couldn’t help but recall the scenes of the decadent few in The Capitol, thoroughly enjoying life as all the proles in the Districts suffer to serve their prodigal and hedonistic lifestyle.

Something tells me AOC is very much a Capitol creature. She’s no Katniss Everdeen, no matter what she puts on her gown.

Readers: What message would you dare to wear on your gown or suit to show your “betters” you mean business? Have some fun in the comments section, but let’s keep it rated “R,” not “X.” And short!

58 thoughts on “AOC’s “Radical” Gown

  1. I think the whole thing is nonsense, at best performative, narcissistic nonsense. BTW, I bet you meant to type 8 Trillion, not 8 Billion.

    re my dress slogan, “This space for rent” seems appropriate. Pretty much everything is.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Didn’t this little Soire’ go for 35,000 U.S. a Plate? Or, so I heard?? Hate to speak in Riddles see above, but if I was really for the “Working Classes” I wouldn’t even attend…

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Meanwhile the Working Classes/ Service Industries are getting murdered by the economic downturn layoffs, work force reductions of 50%. due to the Pandemic, but AOC is having her fun yeah! And they may never, or take years to Recover!

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I thought of another one: MAMA BEAR’S CUB

    To understand this, you have to recall that AOC called Nancy Pelosi the “mama bear” of the Democratic Party. And that AOC basically does as she’s told by her mama bear.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t agree that AOC hasn’t worked for all the progressive programs. Could you give an example of why you think she hasn’t worked hard enough for medicare or $15 an hour minimum wage? No she isn’t Katniss, risking her life, but then, neither is anyone else among the ultra progressives or any other group you can name – Black caucus, neo libs etc. So what’s your beef? Please let us in on the secret. I’ve heard other nasty cracks about AOC but they don’t tell us why.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sure. She campaigned on M4A (Medicare for All). She no longer works for that. Here’s a link on that:

      My critique of AOC on the $15 minimum wage extends to Joe Biden and the entire DNC. Biden campaigned on the promise of a $15 federal minimum wage. He’s failed to keep that promise. AOC and the Squad could force his hand by withholding their votes on key legislation; they’ve chosen not to use their power.

      AOC talks the talk, but she doesn’t walk the walk. But it’s not just her. Nearly all the so-called progressives in Congress fail to use their power to force Biden’s hand. In the House, their allegiance is to Mama Bear, otherwise known as Nancy Pelosi.

      AOC had so much promise, but she’s decided not to rock the boat. Look for her to become another career politician who talks about moderate steps and incremental change.

      What I fear is that this incrementalism will only empower the Republicans and Trump in 2024.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Look deeper. You think that AOC will ‘empower’ republican/trumpers more than the republican crazies, McCarthy, Cruz, McConnell, et . al . will empower Independents, moderates, as well as the progressives get out for the Dem. candidates ? What do you want her to be , milk-toast Dem, like Klobuchar and others ?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not AOC alone. It’s the DNC, Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer I’m worried about. Their corrupt brand of incrementalism is setting the scene for Trump’s return.

          Meanwhile, the more AOC goes along with Mama Bear Pelosi & Co., the more she throws away her promise of meaningful substantive change. Name one big meaningful change that AOC has gotten for the working classes. She has to do more than talk and wear message gowns.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. My guess is that Mama Bear had a private chat with AOC wherein the facts of life were explained. As in, “Rock the boat too hard, and I’ll see you don’t serve another term after this one. Opt for working inside the boundaries I’ve set, or you’re through.”

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I find it notable that Dems who are ostensibly on the left of the DNC/DCCC etc. core when it comes to policy are always concerned about being frozen out and retaliated against if they dare try to pressure the party to take up the policies they say they support – but Dems to the right seem to have no hesitation whatsoever when they threaten to hold up passage of bills that they consider to be too far left… and indeed never suffer anything from the party when they do so. Almost as if the Democratic party is really a right wing party in fact if not in rhetoric…

        Liked by 3 people

  4. There’s One In Every Crowd Department: To talk about “Progressive Causes” is one thing, but to talk of “progressive members of Congress” has clearly become a joke. A rule of thumb from old-time Chicago politics: “People love reformers, but they don’t vote for them.”

    No one takes Bernie Sanders seriously. Once you remove him from the equation, “progressive” pretty much means “40 or younger.”
    As has been noted, they talk the talk but they sure don’t walk the walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can also see “M4A” on a gown (Medicare For All), if she truly wanted to highlight that issue.

    So many personal bankruptcies in America are due to health care costs. Also, M4A may have saved up to 200K people from dying of Covid (that’s a stat I’ve heard).

    Americans are afraid of going to the doctor and seeking medical care because of the cost. How crazy is that, in the richest country in the world?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what it means that AOC chose to protest (1% greed) rather than advocate (M4A). Perhaps it was a matter of timing; that is, the taxing of the wealthy and the big corporations has lately been taken up in Congress in relation to the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package. As DINOs like Manchin and Sinema are refusing to vote for the bill unless the outlay can be “paid for,” maybe the gown was AOC’s answer.


  6. Thee are SO many SERIOUS issues facing the USA…. gun control, incarceration, healthcare, homelessness, student debt, surveillance, hunger, poverty, racism…I guess, she had to choose one….
    Wonder if the designer could have made a dress with a collage of them all!! AND if anyone would have noticed!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. From what I read, it was an invitation and a free ticket and it was good message for other attendees who are millionaires and probably not paying their fair share!!
      Some will argue, she could have said no. Considering the amount of attention and conversation it has generated, it may wake some millionaires conscience!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree, RS. In her NY Times column today, Maureen Dowd went into locked-and-loaded snark mode about AOC’s dress, and I can understand some of the critical points. OTOH, following the media maxim of, above all, considering the audience, AOC’s tactic is admirable. She took the fight to the fat cats and shoved it in their faces. Her audience was not the general public, which supports the sentiment displayed on her dress. Joe and Jane Average didn’t attend the gala (in other words, she wasn’t preaching to the choir); rather, the people who can easily afford $30K a plate, and who generally oppose fair taxation, and who mostly were NOT legislators, are the ones at whom the dress was aimed. They were the ones who were confronted with those words all night. M4A is a worthy, even a critical, sentiment, but not really relevant to the gala attendees. Instead, AOC hit them where they live. I admire that.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Leadership of this country has refused to look in the mirror and take stock of the lack of quality that they peer at for far too many an administration. The vast majority of ideas and imaginative purpose have been directed towards a very limited segment of our population. Their slogans of hope and goodwill, health and prosperity, security and comfort, blessings and peace for all, have been doubted, stalled, subverted, and blocked. But, only because the folks we send to Washington are ignorant of the how to put aside their differences of opinion and work together from their heart of hearts and manifest the possibilities of love. They lack the courage to do the right thing and perform the simple tasks of representing the will of the people; always afraid to disrupt the negative influences of their donors. The wealthy have an appearance of a wonderful life; but there is a hollow nature to that perception that they carry around with themselves; and often they cannot seem to shake the debilitating nature of it’s weight. They have a sense that dividing the good things they possess will also destroy and rob them of their perceived comfort and joy. Thus they seek to rig the game in their favor for predictable outcomes and have become the people among our citizenry that preach a doctrine of division, lack and limitation. These dark ideas are never the truth of the matter, just selfish perceptions that flow from damaged personalities that seek to display their pain throughout their neighbors lives. This causes Washington to operate from the very same emotional foundation that infects their private donors. To not want your neighbor to be living a life that is as well cared for as your own comes from the sickness of fear. Consequently Washington is always attending to life’s negative forces. They are very good at bringing to fruition all that their negative thoughts and imaginations contain, seeding them into the public consciousness so that our daily focus remains captured by their dark characterization. When we hold onto these thoughts and ponder them throughout our waking moments, we begin to manifest them through our emotional energy that fuels and drives the images of our reality. It is the quality of our emotions that shapes the manifestation of our creation. Politicians are the manipulators and dream twisters who have selfishly denied the very creative forces of life an opportunity to produce positive outcomes. But, they will allow these magnificent creative energies to be applied to the appalling conditions that citizens are being forced to endure. Every one of the issues each person has pointed out in this thread are not unattainable. They could all be achieved through the implementation of our collective force as one people committed to these benevolent purposes. Washington is filled with an emotional extreme that is averse to loving thy neighbor; thus they display to us the elements of an opposite extreme; call it fear and it is injected into our lives, poisoning the whole process of dream realization. They are busy interrupting the free flow of creative energy; spending their time condensing and lodging this mentality of fear and hatred into this tissues of our collective body. It’s such a simple truth, but it is so often misunderstood and brushed aside; but, A Nation Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ute
      Great post!
      The world is mired in polycrisis that will probably bring the collapse of industrial civilization. Being a self-adpative complex system it is beyond Man’s ability to control or predict. So we react from one crisis to another without any reflection or search for root causes.
      I once made a list of predicaments and problems forming mortal threats to civilization and even humanities existence. It is lengthy, and since each intertwined with the others it presents us with a Gordanian Knot (if my memory of the knot name is correct).
      One of the problems I listed was Spiritual Emptiness. This makes any talk of “love for each other” to be immediately dismissed or ridiculed by the serious people. An Indian named Owl Listening (Shawnee if memory serves) said , roughly, ” there are no political solutions to spiritual problems”.
      As the years pass I believe it a truth of Human endeavor. Your post stated this well. Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. You wrote, as Denise also quoted: “the folks we send to Washington are ignorant of the how to put aside their differences of opinion and work together from their heart of hearts and manifest the possibilities of love. They lack the courage to do the right thing and perform the simple tasks of representing the will of the people; always afraid to disrupt the negative influences of their donors.”

      My feeling is that a job in Congress has become very difficult if one takes it on as should be done. The issues are complex, the amount of data to handle is astronomical and always at the door are a crowd of lobbyists whispering, “We can make the issues clear and understandable, ease your burden, write legislation, be at your side whenever needed. Let us help you!” And that’s true. Lobbyists make it their business to master the issues for those who hire them, are well paid and do an excellent job with full support in every way from unlimited funding to staffing.

      It’s no surprise that the great majority of those who go to DC are eventually, if not immediately, overloaded to the point of desperation…and of course there is the big deal of campaign funding, to be had from lobbies if one votes the correct way, the way this or that lobby has made clear is the best way for so many reasons they’ve provided.

      My point is we’ve created an almost unbearable load for anyone to bear and then expect some person, regardless of ability or background, to step into the office of Representative and get things done as we would like them done.

      A very intelligent man who founded The Economist magazine in the 19th century, Walter Bagehot (BADGE-ott), wrote a book championing the British parliamentary system over the American system pointing out that one needs people in office who are on top of the issues, have established themselves beforehand as capable for the work to be done and aren’t forced into campaigns on a rigid schedule regardless of what they do in office.

      In addition, and this is to the point at this moment, once a British parliamentary government is formed, the ruling party gets to do what it wants not hamstrung by the opposition and continues to have its way until that government fails a vote of confidence. What we have presently in “can-do” America is paralysis.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What an eloquent, elegant summary, Utejack!

    My only quibble is with the phrase, “….the folks we send to Washington are ignorant of how to put aside their differences…” I think you’re being much too charitable—they won’t put aside differences because they see no personal monetary profit in doing so, imho.


  9. I just read that the dress designer, Aurora James, owes taxes in several states for several years and doesn’t pay her rent on time. Six federal liens on her business for failure to pay taxes due.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How about that Philip Astore guy?
    Joking aside, are you and Philip brothers?
    None of my business, but idly curious.


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