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There should be a basic commitment to truth and decency from everyone who wants to represent the American people in Congress. 

It’s been a turbulent past few months in American politics with former President Donald Trump refusing to concede the election by falsely claiming voter fraud and an attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6

Now that Joe Biden and a new Congress has been sworn in, our nation’s leaders may continue to address the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic; however, a thorn in the path to effective governance was recently addressed when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove controversial Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) from prestigious assignments to the House Budget Committee and Education and Labor Committee on Feb. 5. 

Rep. Greene’s rise to national prominence was a result of controversial remarks made mentioning xenophobic conspiracy theories like QAnon and that a Rothschild-owned laser beam was responsible for California wildfires. Additionally, Greene’sbeen noted for making extreme comments like a 2019 video where she argued that former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was covered up and being played by a double or that the 2018 midterm elections were the start of an “islamic invasion” against the U.S. Government. 

These types of comments should never be made by our leaders, yet politicians are known for making such egregious comments, and they’re rarely held accountable by their party. When the House voted 230-199 to remove Rep. Greene from committee assignments, a message was set that’ll allow members to understand that there should be a basic commitment to truth and decency from everyone who wants to represent the American people in Congress. 

There’s legitimate concern about the danger of this vote leading to a tyranny of the majority in the House, but despite this, this vote should be more than sufficient to keep any prospective candidate to Congress from unbecoming behavior. Further, Rep. Greene will continue to serve as the Congresswoman for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, and it’ll be up to the voters of the 14th district whether or not Greene will continue to represent them, not the majority party in the House of Representatives. 

As social media continues to divide our society and become a medium for falsehoods, Congress should continue to strive to the highest ideals of civic service and leadership. Now, it’s clear that no person is completely faultless and perfect, but when a member—indeed, an educated adult—picks fights with teenage activists and calls 9/11 a hoax, we should expect our Congressional leaders to hold the line. 

The 116th Congress has one of the most pressing challenges in the history of our Republic as a pandemic continues to ravage our economy, health and lifestyles. On top of the pandemic, our fractured society will require strong leaders who are unafraid to speak up for the truth when the opposite may be politically expedient. 

Andrey Chun is a senior International Affairs and Economics double major. Contact Andrey at chunsaax@dukes.jmu.edu.