Let's be blunt: Anyone who believes QAnon conspiracy theories is not fit to serve in Congress.

And yet, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman House representative from Georgia, malingers, because her Republican colleagues are too frightened to dispatch her. They're not necessarily afraid of former President Trump, at whose altar Greene worships. They're terrified of his base - some of whom descended upon the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 in a protest that devolved into a riot.

Even Mitch McConnell, Republican leader in a Senate that's split 50-50, said Greene's "loony lies" were a "cancer on the GOP." His assessment is correct. But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, having made the grave error of naming Greene to the House Education and Labor and Budget committees, can't find a way out of the hole he's dug for himself.

McCarthy couldn't do what many Republicans and every Democrat wanted him to do: strip the tinfoil hat-wearing extremist from her committee assignments. So Democrats had to self-immolate by doing the right thing, and voting her off the panels. Meanwhile, McCarthy metaphorically urinated down his pants leg, and resorted to labeling common sense a "partisan power grab." That's ridiculous, because all he would have had to do was replace Greene with another GOP colleague who wasn't a whackadoodle.

For anyone who's out of the loop, QAnon advances the worst conspiracy theories in modern times, including the outrageous lie that Democrats are involved in a worldwide sex-trafficking ring that also embraces Satanism and cannibalism. Greene has said Black people are "slaves" to the Democratic Party, and in a blatant show of anti-Semitism, blamed California wildfires on "Jewish space lasers." She horrified hundreds of thousands by insisting school shootings - like the one in Parkland, Florida - were "false flag" operations. A self-made video features her harassing Parkland survivor David Hogg at the U.S. Capitol, and blathering about his attempts to steal her "Second Amendment rights." After a gunman holed up in a Las Vegas hotel room slaughtered 58 people at an outdoor music festival, she claimed it was the culmination of a secret plot to take her guns. She has advocated - in her own online videos and social media posts - the murder of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Even among those who dislike Pelosi - and those are legion, including here in Cherokee County - spoiling for her slaying is incomprehensibly evil. Think that's fake news? One need only go online to see a foaming-at-the-mouth Greene vomiting her bile.

Several area Republicans have expressed shock and dismay at how their party is imploding at the national level. They're right to feel this way. When they ask how they can reverse the trend, they should be told to put pressure on local, state, and national-level officials - including their congressman - to denounce this behavior and to push back against the craven tendency to allow the lunatic fringe to subsume them. They must take back the party, for the good of the country.

Area residents can be grateful local party officials aren't like Greene - but they, too, must keep an eye on mission creep, because there are plenty at the statehouse infected with her disease. Democrats can't be held harmless; everyone must work to return this country to some semblance of normality. That means not just kicking people like Greene to the curb; it means kicking them into cosmic orbit. Their beliefs have no place in civilized society.

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