Who needs ‘Left Behind’ novels when QAnon is cooking up a good conspiracy stew?
I sometimes wonder if Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a “crisis actor” pretending to be a lunatic to discredit conservatives.
As a native of New Jersey — state motto: “Oh yeah, who says?” — I am congenitally immune to conspiracy theories.
Also impervious to the imbecile insults of he-man Trumpists obsessed with the imagined sexual preferences of strangers. While there is no level of invective to which I am incapable of sinking, editors urge me to keep it clean.
“You guys sleigh me,” one guy taunted the other day, regarding the Democrats’ alleged loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.
I mean, why bother?
In-depth political coverage, sports analysis, entertainment reviews and cultural commentary.
Today I live in Arkansas, where our cockamamie legislature is in the process of enacting a Stand Your Ground law, which means that if you send me a hostile message and then get in my face, I’ll be legally entitled to shoot you dead.
Or, at minimum, to sic Daisy the basset hound on you.
So be very careful.
But when members of Congress get crazier than the anonymous emailers, things are clearly getting out of hand. How far out of hand? Republicans in the House this past week declined to sanction Georgia’s notorious Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in any way, leaving it to the Democrats — along with a handful of Republicans — to strip her of her committee assignments.
But here’s what Sen. Mitch McConnell (!) had to say a few days earlier with reference to Greene:
“Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country. Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families.”
Quite so, although if I thought like Greene, I’d wonder if she isn’t a “crisis actor” pretending to be a lunatic to discredit conservatives.
But it’s actually her constituents I worry about.
Back in 2018, Greene suggested on Facebook that California wildfires were started by a laser beam from space controlled by sinister Jewish bankers. She has written articles with headlines like “Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.”
So naturally, her north Georgia district elected her to Congress. During the dark days of the last century, it wasn’t necessary to be so excruciatingly polite about what H.L. Mencken called “the idiotic hallucinations of the cow States.” Today, somebody’s apt to call you an “elitist” for pointing out that the fine citizens of Georgia’s 14th district are too dumb ... well, that they’ve got some explaining to do.
Needless to say, Trump loves her, which is presumably all that was necessary to send her to Congress.
Religious crackpots have been with us since the beginning of time. But contemporary American political lunacy began with Rev. Jerry Falwell’s promotion of “The Clinton Chronicles” during the 1990s — a series of bizarre, slickly produced videos charging Arkansas’ fun couple with embezzlement, drug smuggling and murder.
After 12 years of Reagan and Bush, some Republicans simply lost their minds at the prospect of a Democratic president. Ever since FDR, they’ve pretty much done that whenever a Democrat takes office. I once had the opportunity to ask Rev. Falwell, on camera, if the Sixth Commandment forbidding adultery was more important than the one condemning bearing false witness.
Falwell said both sins were equally bad. But he clearly didn’t like being asked. He also claimed to have no idea if the allegations in the “The Clinton Chronicles” were true or not — a pretty shabby alibi, I thought.
For that matter, a friend of my wife’s once got shown a list of Hillary’s 50-plus supposed murder victims by her cardiologist. Because she wanted her heart looked at by a person capable of critical thinking, she changed doctors.
Next came Tim LaHaye’s bestselling series of “Left Behind” novels, an elaborate “end times” fantasy aimed at the same gullible demographic. My favorite scene featured plucky Christian survivalists fleeing Chicago during a nuclear attack and pausing along the highway to buy a fully loaded Land Rover. With a mushroom cloud looming over Wrigley Field, the dealership was open for business. I also loved the battle at Armageddon where the antichrist’s tanks got stuck in mud made by the blood of righteously slaughtered sinners.
I’d bet a lot that Greene owns a boxed set. Righteous slaughter is what she’s all about. She’s fantasized publicly about executing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats.
Next came the internet, President Obama and a one-way trip to Crazytown for millions of credulous souls. Notice how you don’t hear much about “the rapture” anymore? The end times no longer hold allure. They’re all wearing MAGA hats now.
God brought them Donald J. Trump, and Trump has brought them QAnon. It’s no longer bad enough for Hillary Clinton to smuggle cocaine and murder political rivals. Those are penny ante crimes. According to QAnon, she worships Satan, and molests, tortures and eats babies.
True, a recent NPR/Ipsos poll showed only 17% of Americans believe that prominent Democrats are devil-worshipping cannibals, but another 37% said they couldn’t be sure either way.
Those are Marjorie Taylor Greene’s people.
Gene Lyons is a columnist for the Arkansas Times.
Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.