Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was right when she said the metaphor “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” — popular in conservative circles — is a physical impossibility. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for people to elevate themselves out of poverty, though.
Lyndsey Fifield, social media director for The Heritage Foundation, used Ocasio-Cortez’s speech, which she gave in defense of her Recognizing Poverty Act, to point out that people have, in fact, escaped poverty with hard work and determination.
Here’s Fifield’s story:
Fifield said it’s important to share stories like her grandfather’s, because people need to know Ocasio-Cortez is wrong to suggest it’s impossible to escape poverty.
Of course, Ocasio-Cortez herself should know this. Her story — parts of which are heartrending — is proof of the successes one can find in this country. At 18 years old, Ocasio-Cortez lost her father to stage-four lung cancer, plummeting her family into a tragic new normal. Her mother was a domestic worker, and as a young adult, Ocasio-Cortez was a bartender. Now, at 30 years old, she’s a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a political celebrity.
Ocasio-Cortez has achieved a lot of success in her young life, and much if it is the result of her parents’ hard work, her own hard work, and the access she has had in American culture.
“Let’s be mad at people who spread the lie that you can’t do or become anything you want in this country,” Fifield concluded. “Imagine how many children hear that today and believe it.”