MTG unswayed by ‘national divorce’ criticism

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Georgia Republican  Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s informal call for the nation to divide itself into red and blue affinity sections, there is no denying she has the courage of her convictions. 

Friday, after days of being scorned by voices on the left and right, Greene showed she was in no way dissuaded from her initial position. 

“There is a failure for many to realize Americans are giving up because they are sick of the talking heads that just complain about all the problems and politicians that never fix anything, while the right just keeps taking the beatings and abuse from the left,” Greene tweeted in a lengthy post. 

She added,  “Reducing the power & size of the federal government and giving more to the states in order to protect ourselves and our kids from the abusive left is actually the bold action that needs to be taken in order for the left to be able to realize how insane and abusive they have become.”

Earlier in the week, Greene succeeded in sending primarily the left-leaning media into a tizzy after she recommended the nation adopt a state-centric approach to government. 

It was a thought experiment mixed with a pipe dream, an example of Greene being a button pusher and firebrand, and most political figures treated it as such. Even if Greene were wholly serious, the number of steps between her idea as a concept and reality are, in a practical sense, insurmountable. 

Liberal commentator Joy Reid, who can go toe-to-toe with anyone when it comes to saying half-thought-out ideas, accused Greene of advocating for the creation of apartheid, but the balance of reactions outside of the media were either measured or altogether indifferent. 

The Rev. Dr. William Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, both of the Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale, co-wrote a piece for MSNBC in which they argued Greene’s concept lacked merit because the country is not as divided as she claims. 

“[Far] too many Americans accept the premise that we are a country divided between red states and blue states,” Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove write. “This dichotomy is a myth. We are not a nation divided by political ideology. We are, instead, a people who have been pitted against one another by politicians who depend on the poorest among us not showing up to the polls.”

Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove’s piece is decidedly more sympathetic to Democrats than Republicans – indeed one of their primary calls is for Democrats to stay the course on policy positions – but the piece is encoded with a centrist message that Americans are more alike than media outlets portray it. 

As the days have drawn on, more public figures and media personalities have spoken out against a national divorce. 

Even Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Greene’s fellow Republican, did not support the concept. 

“America doesn’t need a national divorce,” Gaetz tweeted. “But maybe we wouldn’t even be talking about it if our leaders weren’t cheating on us with Ukraine.”

David Harsanyi, writing for conservative-leaning RealClearPolitics, called the national divorce idea “a reckless thing for someone who took a vow to defend the Constitution to advocate.” 

“You already have the freedom to move about the nation and find a place that suits your lifestyle and politics,” Harsanyi wrote. “That’s one of the reasons we’re a place that has room for a progressive vegan, the evangelical conservative farmer, the suburban moderate, and everyone in between.”

It appears that not even the aligning of far left, far right, middle left, and middle right voices is enough to shake Greene from her position, although she has softened her wording. 

“I’m glad to see all the debate about national divorce,” Greene tweeted Friday evening. “I think reducing the size and power of the federal government and giving more power to the states is good for all of us. Federalism is a good thing. The federal government has turned into a giant out-of-control monster that takes a different direction with each swing of the political pendulum.”

This latest tweet suggests two factors that the left and right might consider as they appraise this round of Marjorie Taylor Greene versus the World. 

First, Greene might have been intentional in her word choice. Second, and of greater importance, she is a product of the society in which she lives. 

By coming out of the gate spewing venom, she guaranteed herself that her idea, incomplete and far-fetched as it was, drew in the eyeballs. Friday, with the bulk of at least the media world watching, Greene delivered a message that is far less objectionable. 

If the Yale scholars’ pro-left article was encoded with a centrist message of unity, Greene’s hardline-right message is rooted less in a desire for actual mutual separation among states and more in a desire to shrink and defang the federal government. 

The notion is not universally endorsed, but it is a decades-old conservative talking point. Had Greene led with that, she would have likely drawn relatively few rebukes, but she’d also have likely never dominated the week’s news cycle to the degree she did by calling upon even older notions of a confederation of states.