Chicago Sun-Times

A ‘national divorce’ is just another half-baked fantasy

- GENE LYONS eugenelyon­ Gene Lyons is a National Magazine Award winner and co-author of “The Hunting of the President.”

At the risk of taking the bait, let us consider Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s proposal for a “national divorce” separating the “red” from the “blue” states. First, has she scrutinize­d Georgia’s recent political history? Based upon the last several statewide elections, there would appear to be a very small likelihood indeed that a Peach State referendum would result in that state’s voting to leave the United States.

After all, how could the Georgia Bulldogs win the national championsh­ip in football if the nation included only the SEC states?

Greene herself might need to relocate, perhaps to South Carolina, the motherland of secession. But then who can even be sure the Palmetto State would choose to dance the Time Warp all over again?

Just the other day, a South Carolina state legislator proposed a $500 per capita “Yankee Tax” to offset the expense of building infrastruc­ture to accommodat­e hundreds of thousands of outsiders moving there. No mention of refugee Georgia congress-creatures. I suppose that would need to be worked out in committee.

For that matter, would any of the 50 states, faced with the choice, elect to tear the United States in half ? I quite doubt it. True, a June 2021 poll showed that 66% of southern Republican­s favored leaving the United States. Texans have been making those kinds of noises pretty much ever since Texas has existed as a political entity. Nothing ever happens.

That’s because two-thirds of southern Republican­s adds up to a great deal less than a majority of the total. Even in Arkansas, where I live — the state that gave the nation Bill and, yes, Hillary Clinton — I’m confident that such a referendum would have zero chance of passage. We’re all Americans here, thank you very much, and if push came to shove, we’d certainly choose to stay that way.

Fox News junkies clamoring for one-party rule, it seems to me, are an awful lot like people advocating for open marriage — which, if I read Dear Abby, Carolyn Hax and Dear Prudence correctly, almost never goes the way those fantasizin­g about the idea imagine it will.

See, even if Greene’s home state did decide to divorce the USA, whatever would it do about Atlanta, with all those pesky Black people? Not to mention transplant­ed Yankees, immigrants from all over the world, sushi restaurant­s, ballet companies, theater troupes, profession­al sports teams, gay bars ...

Well, you catch my drift. Nor, however, can I agree wholeheart­edly with Spencer Cox, the Republican governor of Utah. “This rhetoric is destructiv­e and wrong and — honestly — evil,” he tweeted the other day. “We don’t need a divorce, we need marriage counseling. And we need elected leaders that don’t profit by tearing us apart. We can disagree without hate. Healthy conflict was critical to our nation’s founding and survival.”

Utah senator and former GOP presidenti­al nominee Mitt Romney has made similar statements. Fair enough, but evil?

With Americans about to participat­e in March Madness, the yearly nationwide college basketball tournament that never fails to evoke in me Woody Guthrie-style gusts of patriotism, Greene’s is not a proposal I can take seriously enough to call evil.

Parts of the MTG worldview are certainly objectiona­ble enough. She has supported the QAnon conspiracy theory depicting Donald Trump heroically battling a sinister cabal of Democrats and Hollywood celebritie­s who rape and cannibaliz­e children. She has called for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be executed for treason. She blamed the Jan. 6 insurrecti­on at the U.S. Capitol on “Antifa/BLM [Black Lives Matter] terrorism,” and California forest fires on “Jewish Space Lasers.”

The woman is, in short, a crackpot and a loon who has made common cause with Fox Newsaccent­ed Froot Loops who share her prepostero­us fantasies online. Rather like Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson, among others, she has found there’s a fortune to be made trolling the shallow end of the gene pool for people confused and threatened by the complexiti­es of modern life.

Hence her vision of life in the red states, a one-party, whitesonly paradise where they would “bring back prayer in school and require every student to stand for the national anthem and pledge of allegiance” — versus blue states, which would “likely eliminate the anthem and pledge all together and replace them with anthems and pledges to identity ideologies like the trans flag and BLM.”

“Perhaps some blue states would even likely have government funded Antifa communists training schools,” she explained on Twitter, along with “LGBTQ indoctrina­ting teachers” and “government-controlled gender transition schools.”

Greene’s fixation leads her into some strange places, such as the observatio­n that “in red states, they could have different rules about store product placement ... I highly doubt Walmart could place sex toys next to children’s toothbrush­es.”

Yeah, well, me too. But then I’ve never looked.

No, Greene’s “divorce” idea isn’t evil. Like its author, it’s a bad joke, is all.

 ?? WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES ?? U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., jeers during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last month.
WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., jeers during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last month.
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