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“It’s White Supremacy” — Critics Lambaste Greene’s Call for “National Divorce”

Greene’s plan would increase states’ powers while potentially limiting rights protected by the federal government.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene walks through the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol prior to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address at a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

This week, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) declared that Republican and Democratic states in the U.S. need “a divorce,” prompting many to wonder whether she was calling for Republican-leaning states to secede.

Later, Greene claimed that she wasn’t calling for secession but for the federal government to have less influence, allowing states to determine how to govern for themselves — wording that echoes the “states’ rights” rhetoric that was used to justify seceding from the U.S. in the run-up to the Civil War.

“We need a national divorce,” Greene said in a tweet on Monday. “We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government.”

Greene claimed that such a move is necessary because of “sick and disgusting woke culture issues” that are supposedly being “shoved down our throats.” As many observers have noted, grievances about “woke” culture have become a racist dog whistle among Republicans, who have co-opted the phrase as a convenient political tool to activate the most bigoted elements of their base.

On far right conservative Charlie Kirk’s podcast on Tuesday, Greene elaborated on her proposal, suggesting that it would allow states to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

Kirk noted that Democratic voters under this system could potentially “invade” red states to influence policy.

“Once they move to a red state, guess what, maybe you don’t get to vote for five years,” Greene responded. “You can live there, and you can work there, but you don’t get to bring your values that you basically created in the blue states you came from by voting for Democrat leaders and Democrat policies.”

Greene’s proposal is blatantly unconstitutional. Article IV Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution stipulates that “the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states” — meaning that a person cannot be denied the rights of a state on the basis that they originated from another state. This stipulation was reinforced with the passage of the 14th Amendment, which holds that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Several observers noted the racism and authoritarianism inherent in Greene’s “national divorce” ideology.

“#MTG’s loopy 5-yr-waiting period for voting by Blue State voters who move to a Red State is flagrantly unconstitutional under settled SCOTUS precedent,” said Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe.

“Our country is governed by the Constitution. You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) wrote in a tweet directed at Greene. “Secession is unconstitutional. No member of Congress should advocate secession, Marjorie.”

“Marjorie Taylor Greene’s call for a ‘national divorce’ is treasonous and unconstitutional, but it’s also white supremacy,” journalist Aaron Rupar said. “Because ultimately it’s another way for white Republicans to disenfranchise Black voters.”

Freelance writer Noah Berlatsky pointed out in Public Notice that Greene’s call for a “national divorce” was essentially a call for white nationalism.

“People like [Greene] who evoke secession do so as a form of propaganda,” Berlatsky wrote. “Specifically, they are framing partisan division as regional. That allows them to frame themselves as victims under assault by a supposedly more powerful Northern aggressor. And it also allows them to pretend that their ideology and political aspirations are about local control, rather than white supremacy.”

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