Knock Down The House
Knock Down The House, the documentary film following the primary campaigns of progressive Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin, was released on Netflix on May 1st, 2019. A few weeks prior I watched the trailer on Facebook and was honestly very excited for its release. I had heard about AOC mainly through social media and I instantly became a fan because of her tweets denouncing serious social and economic problems. For many, this might seem completely normal. I mean, what’s not to love about a film that shows how women are able to break boundaries and strive to make a change? The thing is, I started to realize that I had been actively consuming stories regarding U.S. politics for quite some time now while not even being an American.
I am a 21-year-old Mexican woman that has lived her whole life in Monterrey, Mexico. Monterrey is about two hours and a half away from Texas, so throughout my life, many of my family vacations were to cities such as San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. The influence of U.S. politics on Mexico’s own politics is undeniable so when I ask myself the question as to why am I so invested in U.S. politics as a foreigner the short answer is that, well, it’s the U.S. Although many of us foreigners wish that it wasn’t so, the United States is a powerful country and their decisions affect many beyond their borders. This idea, of course, was created through imperialism and many countries, especially those in Latin American, have come to believe that what happens in the United States is somehow more relevant than what happens elsewhere. Especially living in Mexico, I know this to be true. We, as in Mexican and other foreigners, are entranced with U.S. politics because we were told to believe their narrative of power. This narrative is perfectly represented through all kinds of media, movies and so on.
However, I also believe that there is more to this addiction than actual politics. The fact that these grand stories around their presidents and any kind of government worker are even created in the first place talks a lot about how much of what is related to politics is seen as some sort of T.V. show. Of course, many of these stories are definitely worth telling and worth seeing.
What first drew me to watch Knock Down The House was that I felt inspired after watching the trailer. Watching women accomplish their goals and stand up to a corrupt system makes me excited for the future. It makes me hopeful to see women who are not afraid to fight against injustice, who are not afraid to stand up for themselves, for their communities and women that are strong. This is not to say that women in Mexico are not fighting back. We all saw a change over the last elections. In 2018, the number of women that participated was historical. However, they don’t get a show and at times, they don’t even get media coverage through their electoral campaigns. I’ve never had a role model in politics, I have never even thought of politicians as figures to look up to.
Focusing specifically in the case of AOC, another extremely relevant factor as to why us foreigners, specifically focusing on Mexicans, are truly excited about her story is that her campaign was also done in Spanish. In a way, that provides validation for many of our immigrant friends and Mexican - American friends that live in the U.S. because it shows that Spanish is an important language that politics should also take into consideration.
Knock Down The House is an eye-opening documentary that shows hard-working women who are decided to make a change in their community. Although my own community has its problems and although I know I should be paying closer attention to what is going in my own country, these stories of promise and change still captivate me. The United States has created a show out of their politics and while at times it seems silly, stupid or even worrying, there are stories that are worth watching, despite your country of origin. Learning about women who are committed to making a change will always be motivating, regardless of your nationality.