‘This Is a Simple Meme You Would Find on the Internet, but This Meme Is Very Real’

‘This Is a Simple Meme You Would Find on the Internet, but This Meme Is Very Real’
China could have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids. (Screenshot: C-SPAN)

During a floor speech in the House on Wednesday night, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene used a Scooby-Doo meme to illustrate her claims that Democrats were secretly hiding portions of the Green New Deal in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Which will, she claimed, bind the U.S. in servitude to China. Which… OK?

‘This is a simple meme you would find on the internet, but this meme is very real,” Taylor Greene said. “The Green New Deal is, surprise, serves China and China only.”

The meme is the most viral part of Taylor Greene’s presentation because it’s completely absurd to see a member of Congress standing next to a bottom-tier meme you’re likely to see on boomer Facebook, where Taylor Greene presumably spends a lot of time. But her whole 30-minute speech was similarly off-the-wall kooky. In the speech, Greene claimed that “the Green New Deal” is “written in the infrastructure bill, and written in the $US3.5 ($5) trillion budget.” In this light, the Scooby-Doo meme isn’t just a fun visual aid, but rather a literal illustration of her “thesis.” (I use that term very loosely.)

“The Green New Deal is rapidly becoming a very real reality for America — which is tragic,” Greene said. Agree to disagree, I guess.

Unsurprisingly, there’s not a lot of actual proof or facts in Greene’s speech to back up her claims that the deeply watered-down infrastructure bill is actually the dastardly, socialist Green New Deal in disguise. Nor is there any real sign that Americans will be chained to China by spending a little (much-needed) money to fix our roads and bridges. During her speech, Greene painted Democrats as wanting to make the U.S. “dependent on China just to drive a car or a truck.” She displayed a meme of Chinese President Xi Jinping with the catchy caption in Impact font “I OWN JOE BIDEN / AND NOW I OWN AFGHANISTANS [sic] LITHIUM DEPOSITS” as she claimed that Biden was beholden to Sen. Bernie Sanders and that “vaccine police and climate justice troops to track your every single move.”

And, of course, she sprinkled a healthy amount of truly flabbergastingly stupid climate denial throughout the whole thing. “The climate has changed in the entire history of the Earth, and no amount of taxes that anyone can pay is going to change the climate,” she said. “That’s just the truth, that’s not made up, like climate change, and climate justice.” Cool, thanks Marjorie.

Watching her speech made my brain melt. As a quick reminder, Greene once floated the idea that wildfires were caused by Democrat-controlled space lasers, so we’re not really dealing with someone with a firm scientific background here. And it’s pretty clear that a lot of this word salad is just junk thrown together to rile up her Q-loving base.

But it’s one thing to laugh at memes pulled off the depths of 8chan when they’re presented in the House as visual aids — it’s also very scary to understand that an elected official is, essentially, using the sources of those memes to shape her actual arguments and policy. It was especially telling when Taylor Greene read straight portions of Green New Deal legislation talking about promises for climate justice and jobs as if those words alone were worthy of scorn. Doing so certainly fits a pattern with other extremist GOP members of Congress, such as Rep. Lauren Boebert, who peddled the dumb hamburger conspiracy that got the right riled up earlier this year as well as attacking a Biden nominee. (In strange and surely totally unrelated news, Boebert failed to disclose the nearly $US1 ($1) million in gas consulting contracts her husband had on her campaign finance forms.)

The right’s obsession with even the mere existence of the Green New Deal is confirmation that concepts and words the climate movement uses regularly have morphed into faux bogeymen rather than very real things that need to happen if the U.S. and the world want to avert further climate breakdown and protect fossil fuel workers and frontline communities in the transition to clean energy. None of this, in case it wasn’t clear, has to do with China or creating “climate justice troops.”

Amazingly, Taylor Greene said the 30 minutes she got to talk last night only represents half of what she has to say on this topic: Her planned speech was a whopping hour long. “[E]xpect part 2 of why the Green New Deal serves China, coming soon,” she wrote in a tweet.

Will there be boomer memes? Almost certainly.