This month has been particularly tough for those of us who want to believe the world isn’t going to shit. With the seemingly never-ending series of hopeless Brexit negotiations taking place here at home, our attentions are yet again turned to the hot mess that is the nation across the pond.
There was another mass shooting last week, this time at a local newspaper’s office in Annapolis, Maryland which left five people dead. Shootings of this nature in the United States are no longer as shocking as they once were but despite the terrifying normalcy that has started to envelop these events, it is still just as alarming and heart-breaking as more people and places become prey to gun violence.
Additionally, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court. Unlike in the UK, the retirement or departure of a justice on the US Supreme Court is a crucial moment and is particularly unsettling in this current political climate. Donald Trump has already been able to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court but with the departure of the moderate conservative and key swing vote Anthony Kennedy, the political demographic of the Supreme Court is sure to change.
One of the most significant issues under question in Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that gave women the right to choose an abortion. Donald Trump has said he will be looking for an anti-abortion candidate. On the campaign trail, he even said that there should be punishment for women who have and seek abortions.
It is very likely that the right to choose will be overturned. There is also the strong likelihood that the confirmation of Trump’s candidate will result in the paring back of voting rights and the placement of further restrictions on environmental and economic regulations. So, it’s not looking great.
It has become so easy to be bombarded with the seemingly relentless parade of bad news and become overwhelmed by it all. The past couple of weeks has been particularly difficult to not believe in the most pessimistic of outcomes and be frustrated by the stupidity of those in charge.
Instead of focusing on the hopelessness and frustration, this past week I chose to turn my attention to something a bit more uplifting. On 26thJune, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14thcongressional district, in a huge upset that saw the defeat of the incumbent and highly experienced Joseph Crawley. Ocasio-Cortez identifies as a democratic socialist, refused to take any corporate money to fund her campaign and if elected to Congress, at 28, will be the youngest to ever do so.
Such as after England’s defeat of Panama, it would be easy to get swept up in this victory and start making sweeping claims about the future. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is a signal that voters are more eager for fresh faces and new perspectives. She is a young woman who only last year was a bartender and waiting tables to help her family make ends meet. It’s an amazing story and one that is a little beacon of positivity in this current political mess.