Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the right kind of trouble.  Full stop. Whether or not you disagree with her methods or policies (we do), she’s stirring things up and expanding the bounds of political conversation.

She’s caught heat from the right for identifying as a socialist (that’s assuming the best faith) and from the left for being too radical for their political calculations.You already know who she is: the 29-year-old bartender turned US Congressperson. The Democratic-Socialist is a local hero in her home borough of the Bronx and, increasingly, worldwide for her unapologetic style and uncompromising politics.

At last night’s State of the Union  she spoke loudly and clearly without saying anything at all.  While Trump spoke during the SOTU, Ocasio-Cortez looked grossed out, disbelieving, unimpressed, disgusted, all the other unpleasant emotions her constituents feel towards the current President…all while maintaining her composure.  Though some are (patronizingly) castigating her for looking ‘sullen’ during the speech, She functioned as a perfect avatar for her constituents’ emotions.

Her ideas (the Green New Deal, ahem) are inspiring and her methods, harnessing the power of social media, are fresh.  Time will, of course, tell how she fits into the staid and powerful organism of DC politics, but her mere presence there gives us hope for Democracy.  

Context: A.O.C beat a 56-year-old Democratic incumbent, Joe Crowley, in their district primary last June. Crowley was an entrenched personality in the Queens political machine and an expected shoo-in for the position.  A.O.C, however, rallied the vote and secured the nomination over her opponent.  

She is, in short, a testament to the potential of democracy when it’s functioning at its best. Moreover, she embodied the sentiment of her constituents last night at the State of the Union.  A.O.C feels like a stand-in for all those threatened by the Trump Administration. Once voiceless, she gained a voice and is wielding it ferociously.

A.O.C is deep in a game designed by and for ancient white men.  But she’s not playing: she’s rewriting its rules, one tweet, one appearance, one defiant vote at a time.