Today, here’s how I’m remembering a moment at the end of the documentary, “Knock Down the House.” It’s election night and Alexandria  Ocasio-Cortez arrives at a Bronx or Queens function hall—or maybe it was a restaurant?—to join hundreds of her supporters and campaign workers as they all await the election results. But the security guy at the front door won’t let her in.

“No, no, I’m—” she argues. And the way I remember that filmed moment, the future congresswoman points to her shoulders, to herself; to her body. Because that’s who she is. She’s not an ID. She’s not her driver’s license or her signature on the rental agreement to book that space. She is not her own face on a campaign poster. She’s The Incomparable AOC; she identifies as a woman.

Today, reading her painful account of what happened when an angry mob occupied the Capitol on January 6th, I learned that like millions of others, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is a survivor of sexual abuse. How she cinematically describes her horrifying, triggering experience that afternoon; how, although she’s received multiple death threats and misogynist slurs and knowing she’ll receive ugly blowback she nevertheless bravely declares: #Metoo; how she speaks her vulnerable truth to power in the halls of Congress? How she connects the forceful voices in Congress urging, “Let’s get over that Capitol attack. Let’s move on”  to what survivors of sexual abuse are told over and over? I am so moved. And so grateful.

Another she-ro of mine, Joanna Macy, the great eco-philosopher and visionary, speaks of “The Great Turning”: a shift from the Industrial Growth Society to a life-sustaining civilization. May AOC’s illuminating account contribute to that great, paradigm-shifting turning!




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  1. Patricia, At E.C.Glass H.S. did you perhaps know any of my first cousins while there. All my Lynchburg cousins went there. Their last name was Sydnor Cynthia, Mary Raine, Betty, Vivian, Kendall, Starke, Malcolm, Charles, Grace(GG), Judith, Ashby, etc.
    I graduated from a Cincinnati school 1963 but I had older and younger Sydnor cousins who attended Glass.
    Sue Landis Sadler, Danville, VA

  2. Yes! I briefly dated Starke, a lovely and sweet guy. We may have seen “Porgy and Bess” together, sitting in the Jim Crow balcony because the first floor, Whites Only section was full. Unfortunately/tragically Starke died recently so cannot verify who my date that evening had been. I gave Starke’s last name to a sweet and lovely character in a novel I recently finished; a private tribute!

    And our family dentist was a Doctor Syndnor. Are you related to him?

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