For the past four years, it seems that every day, Donald Trump has been utterly determined to be more inflammatory than the day before.
This has served to create a schism within the US, and reinforce existing cleavages, which threatened to destroy common decency and liberal democratic values in the name of Making America Great Again. Racial tensions were (and still are) at an all-time high and anti-immigrant rhetoric became a daily occurrence. Things seemed dire, but little did we know that such a disruptive presidency would fuel a fire so great, it would produce four political powerhouses.
The 2018 House of Representatives elections were inevitably going to garner attention; in light of Trump’s shocking electoral win, anything was deemed possible, and tensions were running high.
Determined not to let this election put the country in a more precarious position, those on the left campaigned and canvassed with aplomb in an attempt to even the score, politically speaking. And even the score they did; four remarkable women of colour were elected to the house, and they very quickly proved themselves forces to be reckoned with, so much so that Republican commentary centred on them ‘going home’ and assigning the group the moniker of the ‘four horsewomen of the Apocalypse’.
This merely fuelled their fires further, and on November 12th, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib were photographed at an interview, with Ocasio-Cortez captioning the shot “Squad”. It was official- the Squad were ready, willing and able to dismantle systemic oppression, inequality of access and opportunity, racial discrimination, and Trump himself. This was the beginning of something truly beautiful.
So, who are they? They are the answer to our prayers, representing all the good that is left in the country. Some would argue (including myself) that they are the country’s last hope. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (known fondly as AOC) is the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress. Ilhan Omar is the first woman to wear a hijab on the House floor.
Ayanna Pressley is the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib is the first Congresswoman of Pakistani descent. Their political interests centre around equality, particularly women, immigrants and working-class families, all things that have gone ignored for the duration of the Trump administration, but which the Squad will never let fall by the wayside.
Their unique experiences of growing up as women, women of colour, and women from immigrant and/or minority communities will shape their policies, their actions and is most likely why they are as determined and unashamed as they are. Well used to bullies, Trump is no match for this crew.
So popular is the Squad that everyone is vying for a spot; the 2020 elections saw the addition of Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman, both Congressional newcomers, with ideals as revolutionary as the founding four.
Between Trump’s electoral loss (and the loss of the majority of his support from the GOP) and the burgeoning prowess of The Squad, 2021 is the year of political upheaval- and this time, it will benefit everyone. As Ms. Pressley herself stated, “we are more than four people... Our squad includes any person committed to creating a more equitable and just world." And doesn’t that kust tell you everything you need to know??