The Uptick of Political Violence: How is this where our country is going?

By: Jayme Fisher

Within recent weeks, it feels like political violence has been increasing.  There was the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, and an attack on a conservative canvasser. A few months ago, there was an attack on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 

When I think of what could be causing the uptick, a few different things come to mind.  Starting with the midterm elections, that seems to be the most pressing and maybe distinctive event that is increasing it. However, our nation’s polarization has increased since 2016 when President Donald Trump was elected president. So, there is reason to assume that that has influenced the building increase of violence. Lastly, remarks that I have heard repeatedly from the current President, Joe Biden, may not be helping the situation either. 

Let’s start with my first guess; the midterm elections. As you probably have seen in advertisements, the news and social media, this midterm election feels like a very important election. 

Both parties have made many important claims about what is on this ballot this year: inflation, abortion and the rise in gas prices to name a few. With candidates hitting the campaign trail and making it clear what their intentions are, it is a highly watched election.  

Part of me thinks violence has spiked because of the issues on the ballot.  Many people are passionate about issues like abortion rights and inflation.  This past summer was a clear reminder about how important it is to vote in the local level elections, not just the national elections. These elections can make or break the livelihood of people’s lives. 

With a lot of passion and grit motivating people this election, people could be feeling extremely passionate and unsure of how to handle their feelings about the upcoming election. That is one reason I think there has been an increase in violence. 

However, this leads me to my next guess as to why there is an increase in political violence. 

Waltonian | The Waltonian Source: John Bompengo/AP

The results of the 2016 election have led to an even bigger polarization between the two parties.  President Donald Trump was not the president that would bridge the two different parties together.  He has no filter and enjoys trolling and egging on those who oppose him.

The Democrats did not hold back and took any chance they could to attack and smear him.

The division only trickled down into both parties and neither one appeared to want to bridge the gaps of polarization. If the politicians are going at each other’s throats, I am led to believe that the voters may adopt such behaviors. 

Have you ever seen a liberal and a conservative get into an argument? If you have a hard left liberal and hard right conservative engage in a conversation, I don’t think it is bold to assume that the conversation will not be productive. 

People are more sensitive and defensive to their values and beliefs, so they may be overcome with emotions that they act on.

The last point I will make is that President Biden and other Democrats have been making a striking statement with the Midterms approaching. 

A common term I am hearing thrown around is “Extreme MAGA Republicans.” During his speech in Philadelphia on Sept. 1, Biden expressed how he feels our democracy is threatened by the MAGA Republicans, who are led by none other than Donald Trump. 

Now, I am not here to say that the MAGA Republicans are normal people who have done no wrong. However, when the President of the United States is singling out a group of people as a threat to democracy, I can’t help but wonder if that will cause other people to want to do something about it. 

If you are a part of the MAGA Republicans you may find this insulting. The leader of the Free World is saying your existence is a threat to the foundations of what makes this nation who it is. 

If you oppose the MAGA Republicans and hear that they are a threat to the nation’s foundation, you may feel like you need to do something about it as well.

Someone of Biden’s power, should not be throwing a small group of people’s names around. He has a lot of power and his words could ignite dangerous acts similar to how people heard Trump on Jan. 6 and decided to storm the capital.  Words have power.  

Politicians seem to be forgetting that they have a lot of power and that people listen to them.  When Trump had his “Save the Election” rally, he said some things that should not have been said and ended up fueling the unfortunate events of that day whether he meant to or not. 

If we are to hold our politicians accountable, we need to call them out.  Trump should have been more careful with his words during his presidency. The Biden administration should be held to the same standard.

So, these are some of the reasons I think there has been an uptick in political violence. Politicians seem to be forgetting just how powerful they are and act out of hand. 

Violence is never the answer. Instead,  if you disagree with someone, talk to them.  They got to that position for a reason. Figure out why.  Come from a place of curiosity, not attack.  You might learn a thing or two. 

Sources: The White House, The Philadelphia Inquirer  

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