Anyone even vaguely familiar with the current debate over statues and monuments has probably noticed that conservatives from Donald Trump on down love to deploy a floodgates argument whereby removal of any memorial object means they all have to go. The headline of this Daily Caller article says it all: “We Asked Biden’s Campaign If He Supports Removing Washington, Grant, Roosevelt and Jesus Statues, Received No Answer.” The implication, of course, is that if you start letting people mess with images of Confederate traitors and KKK terrorists like Wade Hampton, there’s no stopping them until they tear down every statue in existence.
So it’s a bit refreshing to find a right-wing politician who recognizes the floodgates argument works both ways: if you want to defend questionable memorials on grounds that they have historical value (or, as Trump likes to put it, reflect “our heritage”), then you can’t split hairs over which ones qualify and which ones don’t. Here’s Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Greene, currently the front-runner for the GOP nomination in the state’s heavily-Republican 14th congressional district, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
At [a Dalton, Georgia] June 15 council meeting, Greene began with comments that few could disagree with. Said the candidate:
“I support keeping all of our monuments, and I’ll tell you why. As a mother of three kids, I always want to be able to point to statues, monuments or any type of history so that I can tell my child my children and teach them lessons in our country – whether they’re good, bad, embarrassing, something that I’m happy about something that I’m sad about, or something that I wish hadn’t happened.”
But here’s how Greene closed her remarks:
“Whether I see a statue that may be something that I would fully disagree with, like Adolf Hitler, or maybe a statue of Satan himself, I would not want to say take it down – but again it’s so that I could tell my children and teach others.”
It’s unclear why Greene cannot tell her children about Hitler or Satan using books or even oral instruction rather than images of bronze or stone, and perhaps she spoke in the reasonably sure knowledge that actual Nazis and Satanists are thin on the ground in northwest Georgia. But still, her logic is instructive, if a bit morally relativistic.
Greene has been quite the interesting figure this year. Per the Journal-Constitution:
Greene has caused concern among GOP leadership ranks in Washington because of her belief in a trove of Q-Anon conspiracy theories on the fringe of American political thought.
As I noted in an earlier post featuring Greene, she could well be the next Michele Bachmann if she makes it to Washington. But some of her Christian Right supporters could have issues with her over images of Old Scratch.