The worst thing to happen in my lifetime was the massacre of 20 children almost a decade ago. The current controversy of the Capitol riots, the Antifa uprisings this summer, the Oklahoma City bombing and even 9/11 don’t carry that same, crushing weight. The other tragedies were political reckonings, making us face the terror within, and without.
But Sandy Hook was what happened when we thought there was a bottom, a basement, a level beyond which we could not sink – and then the floor crumbled. Disappeared. Evaporated like the tears of children when comforted by their parents.
Anyone who denies that it happened, who mocks the pain of parents is a vile creature that deserves to be shunned.
But a creature like that sits in Congress, and her name is Marjorie Taylor Greene. There is strong, credible evidence that she denied that Newtown ever occurred. She denied that babies lie in graves. She suggested that it was a conspiracy to take our guns from us, and thwart the mandate of the Second Amendment. She did that, and she sits, lawfully, in Congress.
One single representative can neither elevate or destroy the House. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is a lightning rod for anger from the right, but she is just a very young woman with exceptional skills at self-promotion and a huge cult following. Rashida Tlaib shows anti-Semitism with every sneered attack against Israel, but she is also just one person among many.
But Marjorie Taylor Greene is different for me, because of Newtown.
I honestly don’t care that she made fun of David Hogg, a young man who became expert at an early age at dealing with his critics. He gave as good as he ever got, despite the fawning concern from cable hosts, as in “Greene harrassed this child!” He is now poised to challenged Mike Lindell as the next Pillow King. Excuse me if I don’t feel bad for his bruised feelings.
And while her sometime devotion to QAnon is bizarre, considering the group’s participation in the Capitol riots, the majority of people who believe in crazy stuff don’t do crazy things. Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, which by every metric known to worshipers is crazy, and I don’t think he’s ready to take up arms against the government. Qanon is bad, but generally, the First Amendment protects crazy beliefs as long as they remain trapped safely in the mind.
But the thing you cannot sanction, or ignore, is the willingness to suggest that dead children are figments of a politician’s imagination. Greene has backtracked and even tried to deny that she said Newtown was a myth. Too little, too late. When even the Sandy Hook Promise founders, parents who lost their beautiful angels on that tragic December day, are convinced that she said it and have condemned her, we have no choice but to accept the fact that Greene swallowed the Alex Jones Kool Aid.
No one should be defending her. That there are some Republicans who are, in fact, doing so is abhorrent. That they allegedly gave her a standing ovation in secret committee is repellent. That they themselves refused to strip her of committee positions is almost incomprehensible.
I say “almost,” because I know what it’s like to feel as if the world is coming for you, and you need to fight back. The GOP has circled the wagons around this freshman congresswoman because of the attacks against the party in general from both Democrats, their allies in the media, and some disaffected members of their own party. Fight or flee are the responses people have when assaulted, and they have decided to fight. In many ways, I can’t blame them.
But there are limits to self-defense, and when they cause you to lose your soul, you have to stop.
Any woman who has been credibly accused of slandering dead children and their parents does not deserve to be in a position of authority. It is ultimately up to the voters to cast her out, just as I hope the same is done with the toxic sisters on the left. But while she is in Congress, her voice, a voice that was raised in support of devilish and indecent conspiracy, must be muted.
I am only saddened that it took the Democrats to do the heavy moral lifting. But when faced with dead babies, political considerations should evaporate as quickly as the tears on my keyboard.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times in Philadelphia and can be reached at email@example.com.