Many have accused Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) of hypocrisy for living like the congresswoman she is instead of forgoing the usual modes of transportation and living space in favor of pretending to live in the future socialist nightmare for which she advocates.

She is not a hypocrite. She accepts the world in which she lives and works to transform it into a full-on socialist state. As she somewhat ineloquently put it, “I’m just living in the world.”

We conservatives, who are for the most part guided by principle, seem to be constantly wringing our hankies over whether or not our actions are, in every way, expressing those principles (we libertarians are the worst regarding this). We sometimes fail to pursue the reification of principles in favor of pursuing ego gratification — a much easier, though pointless, exercise.

Take, for example, the controversy among conservatives over participating in the Orwellian titled Clean Elections program. Established by a 1998 state referendum, the Clean Elections Commission doles out government money to political campaigns and, until it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, would actually increase the subsidy of participating candidates to match the level of donations given to non-participating candidates.

The Supreme court rightly determined that countering the non-participating candidate by giving a concomitant supply of money to the participating candidate was an attack on the speech of the non-participating candidate and his supporters.

You can imagine what conservatives thought of socialized elections with government money funding candidates’ campaigns.

And yes, many considered that participation in such a scam was impure, and even hypocritical, when in fact it was “just living in the world” as it is.

Fellow conservatives would condemn conservative participants as not standing on principle. The problem with that approach is that if you repeatedly step away from anything and everything that is contrary to Americanism in our society, pretty soon you will find yourself on the fringes of society, unable to affect it. Would the left not love that!

I asked Scott Stewart, twice former chair of Pima County Libertarian Party, manager and/or chair of some Libertarian campaigns and thrice elected to public office, where he stood on the issue.

He started out by noting that another problem with conservative participation is the opportunity it presents to those who would promote the idea that participation equals endorsement.

He summed up his perspective with an analogy, “If I found myself on a battlefield and my comrade fell wounded, would I forgo treating him because the medical kit I saw on the ground was issued by the government?”

The real issue here is priorities. Today we live in a mix of capitalism and socialism. AOC is trying to drag us toward full-on socialism while we conservatives are pulling the other way trying to restore full-on Americanism.

Meanwhile, AOC is not engaging in navel gazing or abstract primping. She’s “living in the world” and is using its assets to to achieve her goal. She does not worry that money, Twitter or television might be somehow associated with capitalism.

So, conservatives, as you plan your campaign for 2020, remember that it will be a tough contest.

If money from the state (Citizens Clean Elections) or the city (City of Tucson Campaign Finance Program) will enhance your campaign — take the money!

Live in the world as it is while you fight for a better one.

Jonathan Hoffman has lived and worked in Tucson for 40 years. Write to him at tucsonsammy@gmail.com