Threat to capital rioters and lawmakers could distort political landscape for years

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Vandanas attack the houses of Congress leaders. Armed protesters barged into state warehouses. And most dramatically, hundreds of extremists attacked the US Capitol on January. 6. Some people damaged the building and members’ offices. Others walked away with “souvenirs”. Some reportedly hunted the Vice President and the Speaker of the House. Hiding behind or outside the barricaded doors, members of Congress feared for their lives, urging the president to summon his supporters and beg his fellow Americans for reinforcements to defend. Never before in the history of the nation has such an incident occurred.

As threats come in the form of regular rhetoric, political actors can increasingly exploit violent impulses to intimidate their constituencies and intimidate their political enemies.

With the establishment of a new government in Washington, it is important to recognize that American politicians are constantly facing threats. Historians have noted that recent political violence could be no worse than witnessing the history of the whole of America – the latest periodic cramps. In fact, since the Civil War most presidents have been the subject of assassination intrigues or attempts, while judges and IRS agents have been repeatedly targeted by criminals. Threats against quarantine leaders, halting travel or shutting down commerce are characteristics of plagues going back to the Middle Ages.

But today things look different. In part, this is due to the toxic partisanship that has infected the political system, which appears to be spreading throughout American society. The language of political discourse has thickened. The media portrays us with examples of cruel behavior. The Internet and social media facilitate remote harassment and threats as well as bigotry. As such, it is not a cramp. Violent expression has become generalized.

The political environment is changing in a way that goes beyond immediate security concerns. The prevalence of threats and violence as a feature of American politics will permeate the entire political system. Our politics can be distorted by the vicious environment of years.

This will give the new general shape who sign up for the job, which is likely to further discourage ordinary people from entering public service. The atmosphere of vitriol can also attract actors who embrace politics as a game of blood and are willing to exploit violent rhetoric to mobilize their bases and intimidate their opponents.

More immediately, increasing threats are certainly affecting the psychology of politicians.

Presumably, recent events have upset members of Congress. An angry mob attacked his workplace – in a sense, his home. It can cause anxiety, flashbacks, hypervigilance, difficulty sleeping, depression – the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress, which can take months or longer to finish. Returning to the field scene regularly escalates the situation.

Outside the Capitol, a sudden arrival by people, a screaming spectator, any loud noise can trigger an alarm. This can prove particularly difficult for politicians who constantly walk among strangers, shake hands, draw strength from the noisy crowd – confirming connectivity in a despised democracy.

Verbal and written threats sent by email in social media and phone calls are additional reasons for the crisis. The day after the Capitol attack, “a heavily armed man was arrested in Washington after a message thinking about Pelosi C — ‘s speech and putting a bullet in his noggin on live TV.” Those making such a public threat rarely become killers, but for the future, such messages will not be easily dismissed and forgotten by public officials. They will be constant reminders of Peril.

It is not limited to the capital of the country. The attack on the Capitol was presided over by officials conspiring to kidnap the Michigan governor, in which expressive-filled surveillance audio recorded scenarios preventing the state capital from being held hostage in Lansing, including the governor, “f – “—” Someone “his:” A person goes to his house. Knock on the door and when he answers it, just kill him. “

In this environment, personal threat will inevitably intrude on decisions made by politicians and perhaps influence how they vote. A Republican member of Congress said some of his allies voted against certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory because he feared President Donald Trump’s supporters coming after their families – and they still remain in that shadow Must be working below.

Other MLAs may lose confidence in their allies or may not be ready to continue in office with them, further loosening relations between leaders of various political parties. It remains to be determined whether any of the members of Congress abolished the January 6 date, but also that their rhetoric encouraged the attack that legislators and policymakers could increase mistrust of their allies.

At the same time, as threats are routine rhetoric, political actors can increasingly exploit violent impulses in their constituencies and intimidate their political enemies.

Public rebellion over capital takeovers, once seen as support by politicians and the deterrent effects of harsh prosecutions, may combine to lower the ranks of extremists. It is welcome and necessary, but it should not make us think that the worst is over.

These actions do not necessarily interfere with the determination of the injury. With the decline in popular participation, irreconcilables will almost certainly go underground and change tactics to continue the fight with more fervor. This means more attacks, such as hit-and-run spectaculars that attract attention and recruit and fear – in a word, terrorism.

What can be done?

Improving security is a first step, but has practical limitations. Should 24-hour Secret Service security be provided to all members of Congress? Some Michigan state legislators donated the bulletproof vest when armed protesters shouted at them from the galleries. Will all state legislators be drafted in this way? Or to carry your own firearms?

There are also philosophical concerns. If politicians are virtual, working from unknown places, do we risk alienating the government from citizenship? Are armed forts necessary to protect themselves from democracy? There are no simple answers to such questions; They also indicate that time arises.

Strict laws about inciting and threatening may also be necessary. More policing may be required by social media platforms. “A bullet in his noggin” is a threat, not free speech. Nevertheless, how much control is possible while retaining First Amendment rights?

Healing a deeply divided American society – made worse by an epidemic and its economic consequences – could take years if it were possible.

Almost every major social and political movement in 20th-century America with varying degrees of violence by actors on the fringe, whether it occurred in the early part of the century or later after the Vietnam War. In the past, the country’s political system has been remarkably successful in co-opting the grievances and causes of these movements, isolating their violent forces, whether it is passing legislation to bring unions into the political system or Withdrawing from Southeast Asia.

May not work this time. Due to many of today’s threats and complaints, they may be less liable to compromise without abandoning the principle of unfair rights or fundamental American values. Healing a deeply divided American society – made worse by an epidemic and its economic consequences – could take years if it were possible.

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