There is nothing quite like the fresh hell of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter account, wondering on a daily basis what the most erratic far-right member of congress will scream out into the void. And on Presidents’ Day, she tweeted this:
We need a national divorce.
We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government.
Everyone I talk to says this.
From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s [sic] traitorous America Last policies, we are done.
There’s a lot going on in this lone tweet—“national divorce,” a call for secession and the collapse of the federal government; the idea that “sick and disgusting woke culture issues” are being shoved down their throats (even as they call for the murder of transgender individuals); and, of course, “traitorous America Last” policies, continuing the rhetoric of a “real America” via “America First,” an interesting choice given the literally fascist history of “America First,” and even its more recent history, such as its role in the January 6 insurrection.
But it’s the “national divorce” part that has captured the imagination and condemnation of the country; the call for secession, on Presidents’ Day, a day we’ve set aside to honor the legacies of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (an admittedly fraught endeavor, particularly in the case of the slaveholding first president). Because what is “national divorce” but the Second Klan persevering?
Hyperbole is nothing new to political discourse, writ broadly. But Greene’s recent remarks, part of a longer Twitter thread, are a stretch, even for the increasingly outlandish rhetoric of right-wing ideologues. Nevertheless, its effects match the trajectory of so many other outrageous claims that have preceded it. Greene isn’t serious about trying to secede in an imaginary framework of “live and let live.” Indeed, in the wake of persistent calls for violence against LGBTQIA+ (but in particular trans) people across the country, Greene’s suggestions that Wal-Marts in “Blue States” would be placing sex toys alongside children’s toys is yet another echo in the chamber of cries trying to target queer bodies in an increasingly hostile political landscape.
The screed manages to insert every inflammatory talking point of the MAGA platform—from denying the validity of gender identity and the insistence on “government controlled gender transition schools” to questioning climate data. Each point in the thread is another shove on the Overton window intended to give politically insensible and practically impossible ideas the illusion of simplicity and sensibility.