Krull: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s divorce from reality


John Krull

It’s tempting to ignore the ravings of U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia.

Even when her rantings are a spectacular combination of insanity and ignorance.

Maybe especially when her rantings are a spectacular combination of insanity and ignorance.

The problem, though, is that she’s no longer a marginal player in American politics, no longer a sideshow freak performing far away from the main stage of U.S. power.

Her party now controls, however tenuously, the U.S. House of Representatives. She has the ear of the House Speaker, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California. And she’s a possible 2024 running mate for former President Donald Trump, should Trump become the Republican nominee for president in the next election.

Thus, what Greene says-even when what she says is completely bonkers-now matters.

Particularly when it’s about something as serious as civil war.

A few days ago, Greene tweeted:

“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 traitorous America Last policies, we are done.”

We’ll set aside the fact that divorce may be foremost on Greene’s mind these days, given that her own split following 27 years of marriage and several allegations of marital infidelity on her part, traditional values exemplar that she is, was finalized at the end of last year. We’ll also ignore her shaky grasp of basic grammar.

Instead, let’s focus on what she’s trying to say and examine its sheer lunacy.

We Americans tried what she’s suggesting from 1861 to 1865. It resulted in one of the bloodiest-if not the bloodiest-civil war in human history.

One quarter of the men in America between the ages of 18 and 45 died during that period, devastating families so thoroughly that many required decades to recover from their losses. An entire region of the country-the South from which Greene hails-saw its economic fortunes so derailed by the conflict that it spent almost a century clawing its way back to prosperity.

Even though it is often romanticized in American memory, our civil war was a cataclysm, a near-death experience for the experiment in self-government that Abraham Lincoln-to whose party Greene claims to belong-called “the last best hope of earth.”

Before that huge tragedy occurred, there were voices as delusional as Greene’s saying separating the republic would be a simple thing.

As the resulting body count demonstrated, it turns out that it wasn’t.

If anything, things would be both more complicated and worse now.

In the 1860s, the divide over slavery could be accounted for in regional terms between north and south. Even so, the split was horrific, with many families in the border states and here in the Midwest-mine included-torn apart by the fighting.

Now, though, red states and blue states live side by side. Even assuming we could do this act of separation peacefully-a huge and unrealistic assumption-how would it work?

Indiana, for example, is a red state with blue states Illinois and Michigan to the west and north, respectively. Do we stop trading with them-or will they have the right to impose tariffs on us and us on them?

I have a sister in upstate New York, in-laws in Manhattan and Connecticut and cousins with whom I’m close in Minnesota, blue states all. Would I have to use my passport to visit them and they to visit me?

And what do we do about the purple states, such as Greene’s own Georgia, where the will of the people is not easily determined?

For that matter, what do we do about the military? The blue states pay the most in taxes and thus provide the greatest support for the federal government and the armed forces. Do they get to call the shots, or do we have two armies?

I point all this out not to educate Marjorie Taylor Greene.

She and her followers-including some members of the Indiana General Assembly-lack the capacity to learn from history, much less acknowledge when they’re confronted with contrary facts.

There are, though, many rational members of the Republican Party.

It’s time for them to speak up and distance themselves from her incendiary looniness.

Either that or start calling their annual political gatherings Jefferson Davis Day Dinners.

John Krull, director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of, The Statehouse File