One of the brightest lights to appear recently on the stage of American politics is the absolutely delightful Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Bright, charming, compassionate and—I have to say it—gorgeous, the Democratic Representative from New York brings a touch of polish to a tarnished democracy.

And then there is her polar opposite on the Republican side, the hard right-wing Trump-supporting senator from Texas, Ted Cruz.

We saw the two of them in action during the recent weather crisis of arctic proportions in Texas. Cruz, having no intention of chilling his southern bones, headed for Mexico. Ocasio-Cortez, horrified by the suffering and death, headed for Texas.

Ocasio-Cortez initiated a fund-raising effort to help local organizations provide Texans with food assistance, homelessness relief and elder care. By the end of last week, the fund had raised almost five million dollars.

Cruz’s ill-timed escape drew an angry backlash which caused the senator to cut his trip short and return with his tail between his legs. In an attempt to boost his image, he shared photos of himself handing out bottled water to residents, an effort dismissed by many Texans as a photo op.

Of course, the contrast between the two compares only two politicians, not the two parties. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is on the left of her party and may not therefore be considered a typical Democrat. Cruz, on the other hand, is now unfortunately quite representative of the hard right-wing party, teetering on the edge of fascism, that the Republicans have become.

Not a perfect comparison perhaps, but it nonetheless illustrates the stark choice that faces Americans and the future of their country.

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