National Divorce: Partisan Polarization or Seditious Secession?

Kiri-Anna Kingsbury Lee, Contributing Writer

Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has once again let loose on Twitter, proposing a national divorce between red and blue states in response to “sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats,” among other things. While Greene is no stranger to controversy, her statements regarding the proposed policy have caused quite the stir across a multitude of congressional spheres. Republican senator Mitt Romney compared the concept of a national divorce to 19th-century Confederate secession, calling it “insanity.” 

The implications of this persisting sentiment are dangerous.

The plan calls for an immense reduction of the federal government—the very institution that employs her. This would function to accommodate Greene’s vision of independent red states operating without gun control and the banning of “gender lies and confusing theories,” while blue states could “achieve their dreams of total and complete lawlessness.” The representative appears to have been prompted by recent news topics of gun violence, gender-affirming healthcare, and the banning of critical race theory, the last of which Greene is a vocal proponent of. It’s unclear whether Greene believes this plan will reflect positively in the eyes of her constituents, although it’s important to remember that she won the 2020 congressional elections by a landslide, earning 74% of the vote despite numerous conservative controversies. 

But how serious is the threat of her proposal? Having been removed from all of her committee assignments in 2021 and only recently reassigned in January 2023, it’s clear that comparatively, her congressional power is limited. With a lack of support from Democrats and most Republicans, her extremism has failed to win her much popularity beyond her constituency. Additionally, villainizing blue states whose votes Greene would need in order to pass her agenda essentially sets her up for failure, “insanity” disregarded. Taking a step back, most legislators appear unwilling to give Greene’s proposal the time of day in the first place, let alone consider it as a viable dystopia. Diplomatic as it may be, this dismissiveness is unwise.  

Embedded in Greene’s long history of chaotic controversy and conservative extremism is a consistent belief in the prevailing of original intent, most explicit in her defense of the second amendment but subtly present in the concept of divorce. She seems to be drawing from the constitutional provision that states that “when a long train of abuses and usurpations… evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is [the peoples’] right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” While Greene lacks any semblance of clarity on her grievances, the implications of this persisting sentiment are dangerous.

Lawmakers turn a blind eye to threats to democracy when they cannot exploit the issue for their own political gain. In Greene’s case, her popularity in the polls, her endorsement from 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump, and the perception that her extremism is too far-fetched to be threatening under a democracy have dissuaded politicians from challenging her power without entertaining the marketability of such extremism. Politicians advertising conspiratorial authoritarianism should not be winning landslide victories under U.S. democracy. 

This article also appears in our March 2023 print edition.