Recently I made an impassioned plea to kick Lauren "I'm just a gurl who cain't say no to automatic weapons" Boebert out of Congress before she's there long enough to leave a permanent stink. Today I'm happy to present Chapter Two of a little campaign I like to call:
Meet Marjorie Taylor Greene.
She's a QAnon believer, proponent and contributor. She's a freshman Congressman from an exclusively Republican district in Georgia that was home to Nathan Bedford Forrest. Those who saw the 1994 Academy Award winning movie know Nathan was Forrest Gump's family namesake and founder of the Ku Klux Klan.
That's not the only Gump reference that applies here. You could also say, "Stupid is as stupid does," and it would fit the hopefully brief political career arc of MTG just fine.
Marjorie is an anti-Semite (she must be really happy about Georgia's new US Senator, Jon Ossoff); a racist (ditto Rev. Raphael Warnock, the other new US Senator from the great state of Georgia); and a literal lock for reelection in 2022 since she comes from a district that's three shades whiter than Sweden but more politically aligned with Germany, circa early 1940s.
Not long after her arrival in the Capitol, MTG had her committee assignments stripped from her in a 230-199 vote. This followed her fiery rhetoric in support of "Stop the Steal" ideology and the activists who stormed the Capitol on January 6, as well as historic support, predating her election to the House, for such popular tropes as:
- The Parkland, FL school shooting was a false flag operation, conducted to - what? - make gun nuts look bad, I guess.
- The Capitol insurrection was similarly the work of Antifa and BLM activists. (Absolutely, just look at the footage!)
- Anyone not kneeling in worship of Donald Trump needs to be eliminated, including by death if necessary. This includes everyone from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to FBI agents trying to do their jobs to liberal judges hiding in plain sight to ensure radical Democrats can commit crime with impunity.
So yeah, Marjorie is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. But she's not stupid. While her crazy-pants rhetoric is slowly (too slowly) eroding support among her mainstream Republican colleagues, it plays just fine at home. It plays like a goddamn home baked peach pie cooling on the windowsill on a sunny October day at home. As long as we have a democracy that empowers each one of us to elect our representatives based on whatever criteria we individually choose, her political career will continue. Assuming, of course, that one or more of the following things does not happen:
- She commits a crime and is expelled from Congress.
- She runs for statewide or other office, representing areas that have educated people and/or people of color who can, and do, vote. Or,
- Someone kills her.
That last one won't happen, because all the really dangerous people are MTG supporters, not her detractors.
You can debate crazy all day long, and twice as long tomorrow. You can invoke the First Amendment and get pretty far. But, to quote my sainted mother, you can't fix stupid.
Recently Marjorie spoke at the CPAC convention in opposition to sending foreign aid around the globe when the money is needed here domestically instead. This is a talking point that actually has some tread left on it. In a vacuum, without any embellishment, plenty of people support this agenda. Especially now, 13 months into the pandemic, when millions of people are in dire financial straits. It's human nature to value those close to you more than those far away.
There are two problems with Marjorie's argument. Said in her native vernacular, two reasons that dawg won't hunt:
Number one, Marjorie continues to oppose federal stimulus programs to assist Americans and American businesses. Since she couldn't keep the recent American Rescue Plan from passing, she and her GOP co-conspirators used a procedural loophole, multiple times, to adjourn the House - just to slow down the proceedings. As if the bill's sponsors and supporters - the majority of Congress - would get tired and just say, "oh well, forget it."
And number two, more important than simply being intellectually dishonest, she's an idiot. In her CPAC address, Marjorie was quoted as saying, "I'm a regular, normal person.... We love our country. We believe our hard-earned tax dollars should just go for America – not for what, China, Russia, the Middle East, Guam – whatever, wherever."
Ouch. First of all, Russia was clearly Saint Donald's biggest election supporter, and they would be hurt to hear you talk this way. Second and far more important, Guam has been a protectorate of the United States since 1899, and its 170,000 adult residents have been tax-paying United States citizens since 1950.
Read a book, Marjorie, you're in the big show now.
OK, OK. Let he who has not said something stupid cast the first stone. I say stupid stuff all the time. I'm not in government, I'm not elected to represent other people, but hey, politicians aren't perfect and shouldn't be called upon to be. Let's say this was an innocent slip of the tongue, and MTG misspoke. She's a passionate woman; it was a faux pas. She should just be able to mea culpa that shit and we can move on to more important things.
She had the perfect opportunity to do so when Guam's delegate to Congress, Michael San Nicholas, showed up to her Congressional office with 2 dozen National Guard members - men and women who are stationed in DC, far away from their families, protecting legislators from Marjorie's more passionate constituents. Michael brought a plate of cookies, as a peace offering. You know: We're your neighbors, welcome to the building. We wanted to make a personal, face to face connection. Nice to meet you.
A crack addict could have played this to his advantage; Marjorie could have literally done absolutely nothing. Zero. And everything would have been fine, water under the bridge.
But instead Marjorie flipped out, writing the Pentagon to ask that the Guam National Guard attachment (along with all National Guard members) be sent home after they, "ambush(ed) my office unannounced and subsequently video record(ed) my staff without solicitation or consent."
Bring me cookies, guys. I promise I won't slam the door in your face. Cookies are my jam.
To be fair, Marjorie is using this as an opportunity to pretend she cares about these armed services volunteers, which is why she wants them sent home; but that's a huge lie. She says there was never a danger to the men and women serving in Congress (that whole "fleeing to locked safe rooms" thing was overblown); and that President Biden and Nancy Pelosi have constructed this wall around the Capitol to keep law abiding Americans out. But this is more crazy talk. Just ask the hundreds of Trump supporters and QAnon faithful who have been arrested for trespassing, destruction of property and theft in the wake of January 6.
Just ask the families of the two Capitol police officers who died, either on that day or since the riots.
Everything this woman does and says casts a shadow over every possible group with which she is affiliated. She manages to make women look bad, conservatives look bad, Southerners look bad, blondes look bad. Think about that! Not since Courtney Love have blondes looked bad, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say Courtney rehabbed her reputation since then.
There's no indication she will moderate her approach to her new job, despite colleagues beginning to chafe at her antics. Because her colleagues didn't vote to send her to Washington. And they will not be the ones voting to send her back next year.
Which leaves the nagging question we find on the table in 2021 that wasn't there five years ago, or 100 years ago: What do you do when shady, self-promoting, sleazy politicians shrug off the bare minimum of pretense - come out from under the Cloak of Social Acceptability - and present to the world as a completely unvarnished version of themselves? What happens when it's no longer considered gauche to say anything, do anything, be anyone you choose to be at the expense of others - and, literally, everyone else be damned?
And then what happens when you keep getting elected anyway? When millions of people have shifted their priorities and/or altered their perspective to make this kind of behavior okay?
I don't have an answer. But I am a pragmatist and I know, sure as the sun is up in the sky, that we need to make finding a remedy the highest of priorities. The success of outliers like Marjorie, while they remain outliers, endangers us all, and puts at risk the institutions that keep us safe.
I strongly suspect we are jaded, and tired - bone tired. The negativity, the vitriol, the severe damage to our social and economic fabric in the wake of a modern day pandemic, and generations of closeted practices that were left unexamined and unchallenged for far too long. I get it. I can see how we got here.
We need to get back. We need to find our commonality again. What's at stake is everything we are, everything we grew up aspiring to be.
Everything that makes us Americans.