I have lived on top of Lookout Mountain for my entire life. My house is in Tennessee but, technically, I grew up in Georgia -- our house was about the length of a football field south of the Tennessee state line, and if we took less than a five-minute ride from where I live now to where I lived then, you couldn’t tell we’d crossed into a different state. Oh, the Tennessee houses (37350) have a different zip code than the Georgia houses (30750) in our close-knit community, and the Tennessee houses are area code ‘423’ and those in Georgia are ‘706’ but, after that, there isn’t a nickel’s difference. We are one collection of wonderful neighbors who worship together, our kids play on the same ball teams together, and the two elementary schools are the best in both states.
(Lookout Mountain is actually about 80 miles long, stretching from Moccasin Bend to Gadsden, Ala.)
Every two years the inhabitants of about 800 homes on “the Tennessee side” vote, as we did last week, while the Fairyland (Georgia) crowd will vote again tomorrow in a special Georgia runoff election for the Republican congressional candidate in the state’s 14th district. Marjorie Tyler Greene got almost twice the votes as first runner-up John Cowan in the June election but because there were nine candidates, Greene didn’t get a 50 percent majority, thus tomorrow’s runoff. (In June, Greene got 41 percent to Cowan’s 19 percent.)
So, you might ask, what the deal with the big story that just appeared in the Washington Post? Why is U.S. News & Report making this a lead item? They had a segment on Boston TV last week about an obscure runoff … what is this about? Trust me, the national media smells a strong scent and, lordy, you are fixing to have some fun from your ringside seat.
What’s even better? The ‘Tennessee side’ of Lookout Mountain does not only have no idea what is taking place five minutes south of where they live … they don’t even suspect anything is going on in tomorrow’s runoff in Georgia’s election that includes both of the mountain’s Walker and Dade counties.
Quickly, Georgia’s 14th District stretches from north of Metro Atlanta all the way to the top western tip of the state – that would be Dade County (Trenton). The congressional district includes the following counties in northwest Georgia: Catoosa County, Chattooga County, Dade County, Floyd County, Gordon County, Haralson County, Murray County, Paulding County, Pickens County (Partial, see also 9th district), Polk County and Walker County. That’s over 710,000 people. Tom Graves just surprisingly retired after four terms and, for the record, the staunchly conservative district voted Trump 75 percent over Hillary.
Marjorie Tyler Greene, a construction executive, is a graduate of the University of Georgia, married for 23 years and the mother of three. She is believed to be in her late 40’s (Georgia ladies never tell their age.) She is also a very outspoken conservative who has never minced words, as you will soon see. Her opponent is a neurosurgeon in Rome, John Cowan, and recently when he was asked, he didn’t mince words either. “She’s not a conservative, she’s crazy,” said Cowan. “She loves saying inflammatory, incendiary things to get attention and to get ‘likes’ and to make news, but then when she’s questioned about it, she just folds,” Cowan added. “You can’t challenge anything she’s said without being accused of being part of the ‘swamp’ or ‘fake news.'"
Guess what? The District 14 voters who swear they’ve “had enough” with what they hear and see, the riots and such, love Marjorie. She’s heavily favored tomorrow, after getting 20 percent more votes than Cowan in June, and here is the reason why, this excerpt from an Aug. 8 blog by a respected independent writer, Michael F. Brown, on “Power Suits:”
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“IF YOU WANT ISLAM OR SHARA LAW, YOU STAY OVER THERE … “
“Greene goes beyond conspiracy into outright bigotry. In June, Politico released video evidence of Greene voicing her racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views.
“In one Facebook video she verbally attacked Muslims. “If you want Islam and Sharia law, you stay over there in the Middle East,” she inveighed. “You stay there, and you go to Mecca and do all your thing. And, you know what, you can have a whole bunch of wives, or goats, or sheep, or whatever you want.”
“Greene decried what she termed “an Islamic invasion into our government offices” following the 2018 elections. She also accused Muslim men of pedophilia.
“In another video, she suggested Black people are held down by gangs and lack of education rather than by White people. Greene contended that if she were Black, she would feel “proud” to see Confederate monuments because they would show how far she had come.
“She repeated a common right-wing anti-Semitic attack against George Soros, a Democratic contributor and founder of the Open Society Institute, when she stated, “George Soros is the piece of crap that turned in – he’s a Jew – he turned in his own people over to the Nazis.” This is a repugnant misrepresentation of reality. (It is believed Soros was 14 years old at the end of World War II.)
Days before the runoff, she labeled Soros an “enemy of the people” on her campaign’s Facebook page. In another recent post, she referred to Black Lives Matter and anti-fascists, saying that “Soros funds the destruction of America by supporting BLM /Antifa /Fake News Media, the true enemy of the American people.” She added, “He’s bank-rolling left-wing movements worldwide who want to destroy Israel, one of the few friends the American people have.”
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SEVERAL GOP LEADERS DENOUNCE GREENE
As you may suspect, several Republican leaders have denounced Greene. According to the Associated Press, “House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana released a statement calling Greene's comments "disgusting" and threw his support behind Cowan. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia clawed back his endorsement of Greene, saying her statements are "appalling and deeply troubling."
Also, from the AP story, written by Ben Nadler yesterday:
“Kerwin Swint, director of the School of Government and International Affairs at Kennesaw State University, said Greene initially appealed to many conservatives who want a firebrand in the seat, but that her chances of winning have been complicated as more information comes to light. “She is not just a conservative, she is literally on the fringe of some very troubling beliefs,” Swint said.
“This is the kind of candidate that a lot of Republicans, and really I’m talking about Republican officials who are elected and appointed, sort of cringe when they hear what she says or they look at what she believes in,” Swint said.
“Greene has also expressed strong views on the removal of Confederate monuments. “Whether I see a statue that may be something I would fully disagree with, like Adolf Hitler, maybe a statue of Satan himself, I would not want to say, 'take it down,'” Greene said at a city council meeting in Dalton, Georgia, in mid-June. “But again, it’s so that I could tell my children and teach others about who these people are, what they did, and what they may be about.”
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FIRST IN CONGRESS WITH Q-ANON BELIEFS
The national worry: Greene would be a heavy favorite against Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal, a cyber security expert, and, if elected to Congress, she would become the first outspoken follower of what is called the QAnon conspiracy theory. This from HEAVY.com:
“If elected, Greene would be the first representative to enter Congress believing in the bizarre QAnon mythos. A YouTube video she recorded professing her belief in the theory is readily available online, despite her allegedly trying to scrub it — and other posts — from her social media history.
“It’s difficult to map out entirely what QAnon followers believe, because the theory morphs regularly, but it generally posits that a secret elite cabal, consisting largely of high-profile Democrats, billionaires and Hollywood personalities, regularly abduct, rape, sacrifice and/or eat children. President Trump is the hero of the story, alongside the mysterious Q — an anonymous 4Chan, then 8Chan, then 8Kun poster who claims to have high-level security access and knowledge of the president’s thinking.
“The size of QAnon’s following has grown significantly since the theory first began to spread online in late 2017, and reached the White House on several occasions, with President Trump himself retweeting conspiracy theory and QAnon-focused accounts 145 times, the Atlantic reported.”
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FACEBOOK, TWITTER BAN Q-ANON ACCOUNTS
From the BBC, August 7, 2020:
“Facebook has deleted a large group dedicated to sharing and discussing QAnon conspiracy theories. QAnon is a wide-ranging, unfounded conspiracy theory that a "deep state" network of powerful government, business and media figures are waging a secret war against Donald Trump.
“A Facebook spokeswoman said the group was removed for "repeatedly posting content that violated our policies". Last month both Twitter and TikTok also cracked down on QAnon content. Twitter banned thousands of accounts and said it would block QAnon URLs, while TikTok deleted hashtags that signposted QAnon videos. The deleted Facebook group, called Official Q/QAnon, had nearly 200,000 members.
“Reuters reports that Official Q/QAnon "crossed the line" on bullying, harassment, hate speech and the sharing of potentially harmful misinformation. The FBI last year issued a warning about "conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists" and designated QAnon a potential domestic extremist threat.”
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FROM ‘THE DAILY BEAST’ – “The group, called Official Q/QAnon, had nearly 200,000 members when it disappeared from the site on Tuesday. It was reportedly deleted for breaking Facebook’s rules on bullying and harassment, hate speech, and false information that could lead to harm. The QAnon theory—which holds the central belief that President Trump is secretly working to bring down a ring of child-sex predators—has been embraced by several Republicans running for Congress. Facebook has displayed a new willingness to move against Trump and his supporters this week. On Wednesday, Facebook deleted a post on Trump’s page that featured the president talking nonsense about kids being “almost immune” from COVID-19.”
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If you live in Georgia, remember to vote tomorrow.