The Reason Freedom Fries Is Trending Again Isn't What You Think

On February 4, freedom fries began trending on Twitter. Freedom fries, according to a BBC article in 2006, was an attempt made in 2003 by the Republican party to — in today's terms — cancel the French out of French fries because they refused to join the American and British effort to oust Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq. They attempted to rebrand French toast as well.

This, Bob Nay, a Representative from Ohio, told the BBC was "a small but symbolic effort to show the strong displeasure of many on Capitol Hill with the actions of our so-called ally, France." The reason France refrained from joining the invasion was, as The Guardian reported in 2003, that they believed any recourse to military action should only occur after the United Nations security council decided it prudent. At the time, the UN doubted the stories concerning Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, which was false, as The Guardian also noted in 2004. However, George W. Bush insisted that an invasion had to occur and the United States, still looking for an outlet for their grief over 9/11, agreed. Hence why some pushed for freedom fries.

However, you've probably noticed that this name is no longer widely used. It should also be noted that much of the country refused to follow suit in what they saw as absurd nationalism. After three years, the BBC piece's main point stated, the House of Representatives changed their menu from freedom fries back to French fries.

It's not about fries, but a comment on 'cancel culture' hypocrisy

The reason freedom fries is trending now seems due to a tale of two tweets. In the first, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan tweeted, "Republicans — First Amendment" juxtaposed with "Democrats — Cancel Culture." 

Brian Murphy, an Associate Professor of History at Rutgers, responded by tweeting, "Old enough to remember when conservatives tried to cancel French fries."

The subject of these tweets is Majorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon-following Republican lawmaker whom the Democrats were striving to remove from her committee assignments due to extremist content she engaged with prior to taking office. The content, as the BBC describes, "liked posts calling for violence against Democratic lawmakers, claimed that school shootings and the 9/11 terror attack were staged events, and suggested Muslims should not serve in government, among other comments online."

Before Congress, she backtracked from these positions, including her stated belief in the QAnon conspiracy. However, Democrats threatened by the Capitol insurrection on January 6 will probably not believe her denials. So, Jim Jordan has decided to boost his stature with the Republican base by describing the decision to remove governing responsibility from such a person as a cancellation of their right to have an opinion. This, Brian Murphy points out is hypocritical, considering the ruckus the same party made when a country decided not to perform a regime change without international support nor persuasive evidence. Whether all this will matter anymore than freedom fries awaits to be seen.