New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found herself steeped in controversy again today after comparing the situation at America’s southern border to “concentration camps.” It was another of her super-casual Instagram monologues, in which she sat barefoot on a couch that may or may not be one of the pieces of Ikea furniture she built during another recent video in which she told conservatives their children would be ashamed of them.
The analogy to concentration camps is an absolute absurdity that diminishes the Holocaust and demonizes those who disagree with her “let anybody into the country, no questions asked,” immigration stance. But that didn’t stop a few woke men on the left from leaping to their lady’s defense. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes had this to say:
If you spend a few minutes learning some actual history, you will find out that concentration camps are different from death camps and have a history that both predates and extends far past the Nazis. https://t.co/Bccy3SaXW0
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 18, 2019
CNN senior editor Andrew Kaczynski added this nuanced take:
Aushwitz was a mixture of work and extermination camps.
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) June 18, 2019
But of course, The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel was not going to get out-Dave Weigeled,
Not going any deeper into Concentration Camp Twitter today, but the term originated to describe British tactics in the Boer War, and was later applied to Nazi tactics.
Problem with saying “internment camp” instead is that you remind people that Americans had them before.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) June 18, 2019
The Twitter response from the right as predictably swift and harsh. Here’s a sampling.
Aushwitz Concentration Camp also included administration buildings. We do not refer to it is an office park.
— Molly Prince (@mollyfprince) June 18, 2019
the libs coming to the defense of AOC to say “aCtUaLlY cOnCeNtRaTiOn cAmPs wErEn’T tHaT bAD” is the twist I did not see coming https://t.co/29AB6f5MEh
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) June 18, 2019
Try explaining AOC's use of "Never Again," you partisan hack. https://t.co/xqD4yN72oy
— Just Karl (@justkarl) June 18, 2019
AKSHULLY Auschwitz wasn't all bad. pic.twitter.com/fZ9sX5vhhr
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) June 18, 2019
What is genuinely shocking about those defending AOC’s comparison is how dishonestly they are doing it. It is as clear as the summer’s sun that she was referring to the Nazi concentration camps, not the Boer War. Nobody says “Never Again” about the Boer War. (That is not, of course, to say that another Boer War would be a good thing, but that the phrase is well-understood to relate to the Holocaust.)
What is less clear is the extent to which these prominent progressive voices actually agree with the sentiment Ocasio-Cortez is very obviously expressing, namely, that the facilities for refugees on our southern borders are comparable to Nazi death camps. These are places where foreign citizens who are caught breaking our laws and trying to defraud the United States are given medical care, protection from drug cartels and other baddies, food, water, and shelter, all paid for by the very country they’re transgressing against. The comparison is moronic.
Do they think that the United States is acting as badly as the Nazis did? Do they we are acting almost as badly? Or is this some principled to effort to make sure that all concentration camps don’t get smeared with the Nazi label?
There may also be an element of soft sexism at work here. AOC’s actual point, the one she blatantly and clearly made, is much stronger and even braver than the milquetoast, “that’s not what she meant” excuses these gents made for the little lady. In fact, many progressives like Ocasio-Cortez do feel that conservatives are essentially Nazis, and unlike these media hacks they have the guts to admit it.
Whoever thinks these impromptu chat sessions on Instagram are a good idea for Ocasio-Cortez are doing conservatives a considerable favor. Her inability to censor herself, or often to make anything that approaches sense, is a goldmine for those who oppose her radical socialist views. While she may sit safely in a district bluer than the deep blue sea, not all of the Democrats in Congress do. Those who don’t can expect clips like this to be hung around their necks like the albatrosses that they are.