Let's Have A History Lesson With Marjorie Taylor Greene And Madison Cawthorn

History Facts

This week, several Republican members of congress were fined $500 for refusing to wear a mask on the House floor — which they have to do because while 100 percent of House Democrats are vaccinated, only 45 percent of their Republican colleagues are.

Among those "protesting" the mask rule are noted kooks Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn, both of whom have recently shared some thoughts about why they don't want to wear masks and why those who want them to wear masks are bad, based on some extremely wrong interpretations of historical people and events.

In the following clip, Greene claimed that by asking her to wear a mask or suggesting that perhaps unvaccinated House members could sit in a different area so that they only hurt themselves, Nancy Pelosi was this far from pinning a Star of David on her chest and sending her off to a gas chamber.


Transcript:

This woman is mentally ill. You know, we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany. And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.

Yep, this nonsense again.

Perhaps it would surprise Greene to learn that the situation in Nazi Germany had absolutely nothing to do with a pandemic or protecting people from getting sick. There have, indeed, been many situations throughout history where people with contagious diseases were quarantined — for instance, when Henry Fonda had to go to that yellow fever island at the end of Jezebel, and Bette Davis went to go die there with him in order to do penance for having worn a red dress to a party one time — but that was not what happened in the Holocaust. If that is what Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks, then probably nothing can help her.

Madison Cawthorn brought up another bad historical point that has also frequently been made by anti-maskers — the "George Washington wouldn't have worn a mask!" theory that is based in absolutely nothing other than their own fevered imaginations.

Transcript:

I just want us to imagine, really think to our founding fathers, know that we're not descended from fearful men. Imagine if you had George Washington when he was trying to get the British to capitulate in Yorktown, except he had a mask on his face. That's not who we're descended from, we're descended from men and women of valor who stood up for their own personal liberty and that's what my friends and colleagues and I were doing on the House floor yesterday. I genuinely believe that it's time for us to be leaders on this, let's, I agree, let's listen to the science, the science is clear — masks don't work, we don't need them it's time for us to move on.

Literally nothing in that statement is true, except that George Washington did fight at the siege at Yorktown. And perhaps ironically, one of the reasons why the British lost at Yorktown is because half of Cornwallis' army died from malaria — while members of the Continental Army had built up an immunity to it. You know, like vaccines do for people. If they had not built up that immunity and Washington had refused to do anything to keep his army from contracting malaria, things might have ended differently.

Also — George Washington's death was very likely due to catching some kind of bug and sitting around in wet clothes at dinner, and then having several pints of blood let in an attempt to save his life. So while many wars did not kill Washington, an unknown disease of some kind did. And it's possible that he might not have even died had his doctors had the benefit of modern medicine and current scientific understanding instead of, you know, leeches or whatever.

Also, also — I am no great fan of George Washington, as he was pretty into keeping human beings as slaves, but I still don't think I would compare sitting in Congress and refusing to wear a mask to fighting in a bunch of wars during the 1700s. Could just be me, I don't know.

That "science" is clear on masks not working and us not needing them is about an accurate a statement as anything that Madison Cawthorn believes about George Washington. Or James Madison, who he once claimed signed the Declaration of Independence (he didn't), in a speech about how young people should know more about American history. Or, I suppose, the American history (and science!) that Madison Cawthorn invented in his head.

Here's what's happening. Green and Cawthorn really, really don't want to wear masks. More than that, though, they don't like the people who are telling them they need to wear masks. They don't like the people who are telling them the virus is real and could kill them and other people. They are also very not happy with the fact that they are the obvious villains in this situation. They very desperately want a narrative in which they are the good guys and the people telling them they need to wear masks are the bad guys, but they don't have enough actual real life evidence to make that work. So they're delving back into history finding good guys and bad guys and saying "Well, we're this good guy and you're that bad guy and we called it so now it's true. We win!"

They're not sympathetic creatures, and they hope that by comparing themselves to people who were actually oppressed, people will go "Oh wow, I never realized that these selfish assholes are exactly like people who were murdered en masse for being Jewish."

It's also really the same deal as the QAnon/Pizzagate people deciding that all of the people they don't like are Satanic pedophiles. If your arguments and positions are weak, the best way to make yourself feel like the super heroic good guy is to place yourself in opposition to the worst thing on earth. They can't do "What we want is good!" so they have to be "Actually we are George Washington and everyone who opposes us is like a Nazi who wants to send George Washington to the gas chamber for having the incredible courage to refuse a vaccine and not wear a mask." That certainly sounds a lot more nefarious than "People who don't want others to get sick and die."

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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