AOC breaks silence on border to vent outrage at ... the word "surge"?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez then: Shame on us for putting children in overcrowded cages! AOC now: Shame on us for using the word “surge”! The House Democrat from Brooklyn broke a long silence on Joe Biden’s handling of the massive wave of immigrants being held in overcrowded cages last night. Instead of striking a crying pose in front of one of those facilities and applying the same standard she used on Donald Trump, Ocasio-Cortez instead scolded everyone else in this word salad involving “insurgents,” “white supremacy,” and militarism.

Hint: the word “surge” does not derive from “insurgency”:

She initially appeared outraged when asked during an Instagram Live ask-me-anything session why she was “not addressing the border crisis and the kids in cages like you used to” — asking after a pause, “Are you for real?”

“It’s not a border crisis. It’s an Imperialism crisis, it’s a climate crisis, it’s a trade crisis. And also it’s a carceral crisis,” she said, without directly addressing the kids-in-cages allegation itself.

“But people don’t want to have that conversation. They want to say, ‘But what about the surge?’” AOC said. “Well, first of all, just — gut check. Stop. Anyone who’s using the term ‘surge’ around you, consciously, is trying to invoke a militaristic frame,” she insisted. “And that’s a problem, because this is not a surge. These are children and they are not insurgents and we are not being invaded. Which, by the way, is a white supremacist philosophy. The idea that if another is coming in the population that this is an invasion of who we are,” the congresswoman continued.

“If you do want to zero in on the conditions of this moment,” she said –adding only a vague explanation of it reflecting problems with the US “carceral system” that “black and abolitionist organizers have already been talking about for a long time.”

It’s difficult to know where to start with this stream of idiocy. The “carceral system” — meaning, apparently, prisons and jails — means the judicial and law-enforcement systems that apply to American citizens and legal residents. Black and abolitionist organizers, meaning (I guess) the “abolish the police” movement, aren’t talking about border security in advancing that goal.

Working backwards through AOC’s word salad, the word “surge” isn’t related to “insurgency,” nor is it inherently militaristic. Its etymology has little to do with military matters. The Bush administration used “surge” as a euphemism for “escalation,” which had bad connotation from the Vietnam War, but as a label for its counter-insurgency strategy. A surge is a move en masse by any group of people, from crowds at concerts or street protests to, er, large groups of migrants rushing a border.

As for Ocasio-Cortez’ attempts to recast this as anything other than a border crisis, those are every bit as absurd, especially as an “imperialism crisis.” Non-imperial countries have borders too, usually well-defended ones to discourage more imperial nations from crossing them. Furthermore, the US isn’t sending its citizens and armies in waves into Mexico and Central America, so this looks a little like an imperialistic wave in the other direction.

Methinks the congresswoman doth protest too much as well as too incoherently. This all looks like chaff to obfuscate her hypocrisy in suddenly disappearing from the border crisis after making herself a leader on this during the Trump years. As my pal and colleague Julio Rosas points out, AOC is still AWOL at the border, two years after demanding accountability over “caged” kids “stolen” from their parents. My, what a difference a couple of years make.