Knock down the house

"Knock Down the House" follows the journey of four women from different walks of life as they run for spots in Congress. 

No matter what one’s political beliefs are, no one can deny the powerful message behind the new Netflix film, "Knock Down the House." The film follows the stories of four American women running for Congress. All of them come from different areas and support different ideas, but they all have one thing in common: They’re fighting for their people. This film not only gives a great perspective of politics through common people, but shows how they can make a change.

All four women challenge the norm when they decide to run for Congress. Unlike the current congressmen, these women are not CEOs of huge companies. Instead, they are waitresses, nurses, mothers, middle class workers and everyday citizens. They represent the people who live in these areas and understand their issues.

The first woman to appear on screen is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez is running for New York’s 14th district, meaning she’d represent the Bronx, Queens and Riker’s Island. These areas have been represented by Joseph Crowley, who hasn’t had a primary challenger since 2004. Ocasio-Cortez had the courage to challenge someone who was experienced in the position while inspiring young women on her journey.

Paula Jean is running against Senator Joe Manchin in West Virginia. Senator Manchin made his wealth from coal companies– these same coal companies were producing toxic fumes, which were then inhaled by citizens. Jean took the camera crew for a drive down the road and pointed out each house that was occupied by a cancer patient. “This one over here, and someone in that house just got cancer”, she states as she points to the houses.

Running for Congress in Missouri’s 1st district is Cori Bush. Bush is a registered nurse, ordained pastor and mother of two teenagers. She’s running against Lacey Clay, who the other citizens fear doesn’t understand the help they need. While campaigning, she tells citizens, “It’s gotta be about us, caring about us.” She also argues that the problems they’re having are problems they can fix, yet no one is doing it.

The final female showed is Amy Vilela, who’s running for Congress in Nevada’s Fourth district. She was raised by a single mother and is a single mother herself. Yet, she was able to put herself through college and become an accountant. Sadly, her 22 year-old daughter Shalynne passed away. Shalynne suffered a knee injury and after hurting it years later while simply play fighting with her boyfriend, she ended up in the hospital. Although she told doctors and nurses her pain was intolerable and she needed help, they refused to help her because she couldn’t afford it. This inspired Vilela to make a change. She decided she’d run for office and help others just like her daughter.

Not only do they understand their issues, but they experience them. They know how it feels to hear that someone was diagnosed with cancer or that someone’s daughter was turned away at the hospital. They’re frustrated and willing to do something to prevent it from happening again. Even though Ocasio-Cortez was the only woman in the film to win her campaign, all the women were successful. All of them showed that common people can do extraordinary things. Currently, our nation is being run by one of the most powerful businessmen in America. Our nation has suffered losses and have passed laws that risk the health of women everywhere. We need someone who cares about the safety and rights of the everyday person. Someone who has not only heard about these situations but have lived them.

Megan Klepper is a junior, writing, rhetoric and technical communication major. Contact Megan at kleppemc@dukes.jmu.edu.