Sheinkopf Speaks: AOC’s Gala Gown Meets the Working Class

Not one person waiting on the cement sidewalk outside that Queens hospital for the hours that turned into days on lines that never ended on the coldest days of that winter of death was wearing a white gown.

And not one white gown was seen with red dye or lipstick or crayon writing over the backsides and backs of any woman on those lines s they pleaded for medical help.

Nobody outside the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens was thinking about going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located on Fifth Avenue of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. There were no galas penciled in their calendars. 

Hank Sheinkopf

Last year’s winter of death, of COVID-19, a winter of refrigerated trucks holding what remained of the loved ones of the poor–some of whom might have been on those lines–there were no jokes, no laughs, no galas, no pranks.  

The congressional representative of the survivors of COVID in her district–among the hardest hit in the nation–found herself at the Met, playing a game, sharing a joke. On her backside was the message she wanted people to remember as she dined with the rich at tables where each seat required a $35,000 payment–more than most of those who died, and whose families think of eternity as a refrigerated truck posing as a morgue–might earn in a year, or maybe two or three years.

That congressional representative talks of her experience as a waitress. And that of her mother cleaning toilets. Those who share those experiences and worse might not understand the connection to the $35,000 a head Met gala. Who gave her the ticket? Did she pay a gift tax? Did she pay for the ticket herself? Where did she get the dough? 

On her backside were printed the words: Tax the Rich. We should. That congressional representative is reported to reside in a gentrified gated Washington, D.C. community. Not cheap. She has publicly talked about paying tens of thousands for bodyguards. The gown. The travel. Where does the dough come from? The millions she has raised and keeps raising online for non-New York City-based candidates she says are good for people like us–where does the dough come from?

Revolutionaries of not too distant generations would take to the streets. They would hold mock convention gatherings assailing the enemies of the good society as they defined it. They would disrupt. Not pontificate. You didn’t have to like the politics of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin of anti-Vietnam war Yuppie fame. They were creative and willing to pay the price. They fought to stop death in an unpopular war.

That congressional representative? She is fighting and winning the-get -into the headlines and on-tv-war. Tell that to the people whose sons, daughters, husbands, wives, were in those refrigerator trucks. When the winter of death began she was far from the Elmhurst Hospital sidewalk lines.

And now she’s really made the big time. Quite a star this one is. At the Met.

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