The U.S. House of Representatives voted 230 to 199 on Feb. 4 to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her two House assignments, the Labor and the Budget and Education committees. The decision was made based on her recurring social media posts advertising dangerous conspiracy theories.
Greene isn’t the first politician to make these claims — and she certainly won’t be the last.
When I first learned of Greene, I thought to myself, how could such a radical and hateful woman be elected to a position of power? It’s hard to digest that someone can so nonchalantly claim that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged and endorse the conspiracy that 9/11 was an inside job. Unfortunately, these comments were made years before she decided to run for election and didn’t make it to voters’ news feeds. But how did she get elected with such popularity? The answer to the question can be answered in a few short words: The empowered Republican woman stereotype.
Let me explain.
Greene started her path toward the White House when she ran for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District last year. And she won by a landslide. How did she do it, you may ask? She campaigned, hard. She won over voters through her crystalized conservative views on gun rights, immigration laws and anti-communism rhetoric. She was the ideal southern, Republican woman who fit right into male-dominated politics with her fiery and relentless perspectives. So, naturally, she was heralded as a knight in shining armor by voters and politicians.
Georgia voters saw her as an asset, a tool for saving a troubled nation. But that was before they realized the upset she continues to cause. To name a few, she has suggested the execution of her colleagues, endorsed dangerous QAnon conspiracy theories, proposed political violence, harassed and undermined mass shooting survivors and made blatant anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic comments. The list goes on and on.
In the era of “fake news,” comments like these made by an upper-level politician are dangerous. Her nefarious actions and words aren’t anything new in the realm of American politics.
As we all painfully know, spreading misinformation to the public is about as dangerous as you can get, but Greene didn’t come up with it all by herself. There is Rep. Michele Bachmann, who claimed the HPV vaccine was connected to the development of “mental retardation” and openly called Democrats an “enemy” to the country. Sen. Marsha Blackburn signed a bill to require all presidential candidates to provide a birth certificate after the allegations of former President Barack Obama’s “forged” citizenship. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was removed from her Harvard Institute of Politics committee due to baseless claims of election fraud and spreading misinformation. Then there’s notorious serial liar Sarah Palin, who has lied too many times to count, but here’s some to reference.
The issue is that false information is a flame waiting to engulf everything we’ve built. It demolishes everything in its path, leaving nothing but the ashes of the inevitable truth: honesty is the best policy.
The Republican Party is going to need to do more than slap Greene on the wrist. In order to uphold the GOP’s already blundering reputation, she should be removed entirely. With the party already largely divided, they will need to universally band together to renounce any constituents that favor political violence by condemning Greene and her past remarks. However, House Minority Leader Keith McCarthy stated that her past doesn’t define who she is now. I am in full belief that a past doesn’t always define who you are now, but when she posts an image of her holding an assault rifle next to three women also working at Capitol Hill just this past September, I’m less agreeable.
The past is something that shouldn’t ever be forgotten or ignored. It is how we learn from our mistakes and move forward with more intentionality and education than before. So yes, the nation should never forget the actions and words of Marjorie Taylor Greene. Just like we will never forget the mistakes Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and even Richard Nixon have made.
It’s essential to recognize what has happened and what will happen. It’s how we proceed with candidates like Greene and the harm they bring to a country and its citizens.
One thing is certain: Greene will not be the last politician who speaks without thinking. Greene will not be the last radical elected to Capitol Hill. Greene will not be the last constituent to undermine what this country has built and fought for.
Greene will not be the last one, America. We should be on the watch for the next threat.
Kaelin Connor is a psychology junior and opinion writer for The Battalion.