Marjorie Taylor Greene Doesn’t Surprise Me in the Least, and that Scares Me

Joel Michael Herbert
5 min readFeb 5, 2021

One of the biggest ongoing issues I face as an adult from growing up in sheltered, fundamentalist Christian circles is how much I take for granted that the rest of the world knows about extremism. Things that seemed perfectly normal to me as a child elicit shocked reactions from others when I talk about them.

It occurred to me today that Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert don’t surprise me — at all. Right now, it sure seems like there is a large swath of Americans, both conservative and liberal, that are shocked that people who embrace their kind of ideology and attitude could make it into the halls of Congress. Maybe they blame it on Trumpism or the recent worldwide rise of populism, but I know better. I can tell you with complete confidence that the rise of more and more voices like Boebert and Greene has been ascendant on the Right for a very long time, at least as long as my lifetime.

I know because I grew up with them.

I grew up in a world where leaders like Bob Dole and John McCain were routinely derided because they weren’t conservative enough. I grew up where voices like James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly, and Jerry Falwell were on the family radio almost every day, and they seemed to be the reasonable ones. We weren’t so much the Fox News and Rush Limbaugh family — that was my more “liberal” Lutheran cousins — my parents and community were the ones that voted or strongly considered voting for people like Howard Phillips and the Constitution party because of how “liberal” the GOP had become.

And it wasn’t just my family. It was a whole loose movement of people consisting of everything from Mennonites to Quiverfull families to Pentecostal to conservative holiness to home churching groups to Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, groups that had very little in common besides their shared commitment to Separatism, and were joined in their political outlook by the belief that the GOP had gone far too mainstream.

Of course, these conversations would inevitably spiral into the “wasted vote” conversation. Only the most diehard idealists (like my mom) would end up voting for the Pat Buchanans, Alan Keyes’, or Howard Phillips’ of the political world. Most of them (like my dad) would inevitably…

Joel Michael Herbert

Husband. Father. Artist. Storyteller. Armchair Theologian. Advocate, activist and politician. Gryffindor. [neuro]Divergent.