In the mid-1980s while analyzing leadership change in Latin America I was made aware that many office holders receive death threats. Something that I’d never heard of in the U.S. The last several years have shown me how naïve I was. With Trump, we elected a person whose authoritarian style has caused many local, state, and national office holders to receive death threats and of course the Jan. 6 insurrection was an attempt to remove Vice President Pence and steal the election.
Trump’s refusal to concede defeat and push the “Big Lie,” along with the complicity of nearly the entire Republican Party not only generated the Jan. 6 insurrection but has promoted domestic political violence. And worst yet, even though 71% of voters in the Mountain States feel that political violence “is never justified in a democracy,” 61% believe that “it is very or somewhat likely that we will see violence similar again to what we saw on 1/6,” according to a Frank Church Institute fall survey.
This same survey found that 85% of both Republicans and Democrats “are very or somewhat concerned about the health of our democracy.” A recent CNN poll found that 56% of us believe “our democracy is under attack”. With only 26% of all Republicans still believing that Biden was legitimately elected president and 25% believing that “political violence is justified in a democracy when things have gotten so bad that the government is not acting in the best interest of the people” we are definitely in trouble.
Now is the time for those of all political parties and persuasions to reject the politics of extremism and violence and set our nation back on a course toward civility and a democracy that works.
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