As mandated by the US Constitution, on January 3rd at noon, a new Congress was convened. A global pandemic couldn’t stop one of the United States oldest traditions, and as the clock struck twelve, the 117th Congress was brought to order. For many, the process will be familiar territory. But for most of the incoming lawmakers, it’s the beginning of a brand-new chapter. These lawmakers include a record number of women, racial minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community, making this the most diverse Congress in history.
Still, overwhelmingly White and male, the inclusion of so many different groups shows that America’s legislative branch is starting to reflect the citizens that it represents. The new Congress includes Iranian, Native, and Korean American members, as well as unapologetic conspiracy theorists.
For the first time, women of color will entirely comprise New Mexico‘s House delegation. The group includes Democratic Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez, Representative Yvette Herrell, the first Republican Native American woman in Congress, and Representative Deb Haaland, who has been tapped by Joe Biden to become Secretary Of The Interior.
Representative Marilyn Strickland of Washington will be the first Black woman to represent her state in Congress. She is also one of the first Korean American women elected to Congress, along with California Republican Representatives Young Kim and Michelle Steel.
Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis will be the first woman to represent Wyoming in the Senate.
Representative Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma is the first Iranian American elected to Congress.
New York Democratic Representative Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres will become the first two gay Black and Afro-Latino Congress members, respectively.
The preceding members represent some of the most disfranchised groups in American history. Still, in startling contrast, two incoming congressman, Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, support the QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon, which started on the 4Chan message board in 2017, believes President Trump is leading a secret war against Satan-worshiping pedophiles. In addition to this unfounded belief, many supporters indulge in anti-semitic, racist, and Islamophobic tropes.
Since QAnon shows support for Donald Trump, he has refused to denounce their beliefs and went as far as calling Greene a future star. Congress does not share the same view as the president, and in October, the House overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning QAnon. Despite this resolution, Greene and Boebert openly campaigned espousing their QAnon beliefs and won.
Boebert appeared on a pro-QAnon podcast while campaigning and said
“Everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values, and that’s what I am for, and so everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country.”
While the freshman representative praised Q, House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern said at the time, “We all must call it what it is: a sick cult.” So even as America slowly moves toward some semblance of equality in its governing branches, some will cling on to the status quo so tightly that they believe Donald Trump is the only person in the world who can stop a horde of baby blood-drinking Satan worshipers.