Last night, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked, "Should I open my DMs for the first time since the Zuckerberg hearing for the Dodo codes??" The New York congresswoman and noted gamer spent the rest of the evening politely visiting her Twitter followers in Animal Crossing last night. She said that opening her direct messages to fans granted her "faith in humanity."
More and more it feels like everyone in the entire world is turning to Animal Crossing while they're stuck inside. The game has been a smash hit for Nintendo, and is by far the most popular in what used to be a niche series. Apparently, Ocasio-Cortez got into the game recently, and last night decided to go visit islands from her Twitter followers. According to The Washington Post, the first people she visited were a family of three that are her former constituents.
If you follow Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter or have ever clicked on one of her tweets, you can tell that the New York Representative's experience of Twitter must honestly be tense and exhausting. It's annoying enough to have random people repeating your joke back to you. On every tweet that AOC makes, someone accuses her of being a traitor to the nation. While AOC is beloved, she's also become a symbol of the cultural divide between the right and the left, and also the divide between liberals and leftists. Living your life as a symbol can be exhausting, especially when the internet allows the people who hate you the most to tell you directly.
Watching Ocasio-Cortex be able to have a nice time in Animal Crossing made me smile, if only because she also got to experience the positive side of living so publicly: the ways that you touch people and change their lives.
Ocasio-Cortez is probably the most savvy member of the United States government when it comes to using social media. That she recognizes that Animal Crossing, a nice game about making friends with animals, has become a central meeting place for people in the US currently sheltering in place is not a surprise. You never stop campaigning as a politician, only now you have to do it with Dodo codes.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.