Marjorie Taylor Greene Removed from Committees: It’s About Time

If a student duly elected to any high school student government, and most certainly here at Latin, espoused the existence of Jewish space lasers, denied the Parkland shootings and 9/11, legitimized QAnon conspiracy theories, and called for violence against school leadership, that student would be expelled. Most people would agree that a student who acted in any of these ways should not hold any leadership positions, and perhaps should not be part of the school community at all. But this isn’t the case for the 94% of Republicans in the 117th Congress of the United States who believe newly elected Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) should stay in office.

The nation was shocked by the revelation that Rep. Greene helped perpetuate the previously stated conspiracy theories. She refused to admit that Trump lost, wearing a “Trump Won” mask on the House floor all the while floating that those who stormed the Capitol weren’t Trump supporters. Greene even called for the execution of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Despite Republicans refusing to strip her of her power, the Democrats forced a vote on February 4, ousting her from her positions on the Education and Budget Committees, essentially making her powerless in Congress. The 230-199 vote was essentially decided on party lines, with only 11 Republicans willing to defect.

Several members of the Latin community reflected on Rep. Greene’s incendiary behavior and weighed in about the vote to strip her of her power in Congress.

Sophomore Anna Hynes felt that Greene’s removal was “so important.” Anna said she was especially disturbed by Greene’s denial of school shootings and lack of compassion for the survivors of school gun violence. “As someone who would have been on the Education Committee, claiming that school shootings were staged or heckling a survivor are especially unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

Anna emphasized that safety from gun violence in schools is the responsibility of the Education Committee in Congress. Denying the reality of school gun violence demeans the survivors of such violence and jeopardizes the safety of children in schools.

Senior Freddi Mitchell condemned Greene’s actions and the Republican tolerance of those actions. “Marjorie Taylor Green is a liar, QAnon conspiracy theorist, school shooting denier, and anti-Semite,” Freddi said. “She stands for everything this nation should be fighting against, and her actions are unacceptable. Yet why is she not being reprimanded by her GOP colleagues? We are at a troubling crossroads where the GOP has chosen to stay in the good graces of QAnon supporters and has chosen to stand against the truth. It is really dangerous that our politics are becoming engulfed by conspiracies.”

Ingrid Dorer-Fitzpatrick, an Upper School history teacher, also was unabashed in her criticism of Rep. Greene. “It’s hard to look at someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene without serious concern,” Ms. Dorer said.

Ms. Dorer pointed out the danger of not standing up to and fighting back against hateful incendiary actions, because “history repeatedly has shown that sometimes speech is not just speech, that we must recognize the rhetoric of hate and enmity is not far removed from the rhetoric of dehumanization that continues to make a mockery of our determination to end human rights atrocities, including genocide.”

Ms. Dorer also debunked the defense offered by many Republicans that Rep. Greene’s opinions and actions are protected speech. “While Marjorie Taylor Greene has the right to her opinions, she needs to recognize that not all speech is protected, even in the United States which, arguably, has greater protection for free speech than any other country in the world. As Nelson Mandela recognized, ‘With freedom comes responsibility.’”

Illinois is home to one of the few Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who was willing to remove Greene from the committees. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger was one of the 11 Republicans who sided with the Democrats to strip Rep. Greene of her committee assignments. Kinzinger tweeted that one of the reasons he voted to strip her of her power was that, “There is no remorse for her past comments. Just a huge desire to be famous.”

Like Kinzinger, Will Benford, a junior and vice president of the Latin Conservative Student Alliance, formerly known as the Latin Young Republicans Club, departed with the majority of elected Republicans and voiced his support for Greene’s ouster. “It’s within Congress’s right to remove her from her committees,” Will said, “and given her past with conspiracies I think there is a better person for those positions. I think Congress made a good decision in doing this, and hopefully it encourages people to believe in more rational claims.”

While people outside of Congress don’t have the power to strip Rep. Greene of her power in Congress, everyone has the power to speak out and stand up and demand truthfulness.Ms. Dorer said “it’s imperative” that high school students “recognize that they, too, have responsibilities. Our students need to … be informed, critical consumers and evaluators of news. They cannot afford to be bystanders as conspiracy theories consume us or political and social polarization tear us apart. Our students have the power to effect change and the courage to stand up for a more just and equitable world.”