Guns, masks and conspiracy theories. These have been controversial issues brewing for months, and even years, between political parties and legislators that now seem to be at boiling point on Capitol Hill.
Tensions in Congress have been high in the past, but the rhetoric of the last few months is not business as usual.
Julian Zelizer, a professor of political history at Princeton University, told USA Today the current climate is one of the bad moments in American history.
Compared to the days before the Civil War, in the 19th century, and the 1960s, Julian Zelizer said, today is at least like those, and in some ways, it’s worse. Though members may not be attacking each other physically as they did in the 19th century, sometimes it feels like they’re getting close.
Now, points of contention have appeared to have reached a crescendo, and have been magnified by the Capitol riot, and here are some of the problems that have legislators angrier with one another now than in recent history.
The 117th Congress brought in a new set of legislators, including some linked to right-wing fringe movements, including the QAnon conspiracy movement, which baselessly claims a deep state cabal of paedophiles tried to bring down Donald Trump, amongst others.
Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia are two of the rookie legislators most known for supporting QAnon ideas.
Taylor Greene has been a particular cracking point on Capitol Hill over the tolerance of conspiracy theories and the discourse that frequently accompanies them.
The Democratic-led House last month voted principally along party lines to remove Taylor Greene from her two committees for a litany of incendiary, conspiratorial and menacing social media posts before she was elected, which included questioning whether the 9/11 terrorist attacks ever happened, stalking and taunting a teen survivor of the bloody Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and implying that space lasers were causing lethal wildfires in California.
The floor debate over Taylor Greene, in a chamber already motivated by division and distrust, turned bleak as House members took turns arguing not just about Greene’s particular conduct but what it said about House members who demanded or opposed her punishment.
On top of QAnon and other right-wing extremist beliefs, 147 congressional Republicans expedited misleading claims that Donald Trump won the presidential election and voted to not accept election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
But this is what happens when othering and demonisation become the norm. When the extremes on each end of the political rainbow silence the moderate voices in the middle.
It’s the fault of both sides, and there’s no way back but for the moderate voices in both parties to reclaim the centre, and it wouldn’t be so sad if they didn’t act like bitter, pretentious high schoolers, all belonging to their own clicks and behaving literally like spiteful children.
They all just act like attention seekers, go-getters, narcissists, seekers to condemn others and not taking a serious role in what they’re there to do, and it makes me question how these cult members get elected into Congress.
And I do not doubt that there are numerous in the closet in Congress who are at the point of coming out of the cupboard.
They’re a pretty reckless bunch of people who will end up doing more harm than good for the American people, and the fence needs to be taken down as quickly as possible because if they can’t protect their people, then they shouldn’t be protected either.