Bookman: Violence Threats are Tarnishing US Politics and Harming Democracy



Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and others have faced racist vandalism, threats of violence, and have been forced out of their homes due to their involvement in the indictment of Donald Trump. These threats have disrupted the functioning of democracy and have incited fear in political figures and election workers nationwide. The article argues that this violence, driven by political beliefs, is distorting public life and can only be addressed by debunking the baseless claims that underpin it, such as the notion that the election process is rigged.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis was forced from her South Fulton home due to racist vandalism and violent threats following the indictment of Donald Trump. This trend of politically motivated violence has impacted democracy nationwide, manifesting in various forms.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes declined a request by Willis to act as special prosecutor in the Trump case out of fear of similar threats. He stated, “I lived with bodyguards for four years and wasn’t going to live with bodyguards for the rest of my life.”

Alongside Willis, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Fulton election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss were also pushed to leave their homes due to threats from Trump supporters. This growing threat is hindering the recruitment of election workers across the country.

In a recent “60 Minutes” report, former Wisconsin GOP chairman Andrew Hitt, admitted fear for his safety and that of his family led him to falsely act as an elector for Trump. Hitt stated, “If my lawyer’s right, and the only reason that Trump loses Wisconsin is because of me, I would be scared to death.”

The rise in political violence from anonymous threats to full-scale insurrections has started warping public life. As an example, the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was premeditated violence with a political objective. Such acts are now influencing public life, with a structure being built that permits such violence.

This structure consists of three main parts:

1. Politics as a means of resolving disputes peacefully is threatened when parties are made to believe in a final battle between good and evil. This creates desperation inviting violence.

2. Violence is further encouraged by convincing individuals that the political system is rigged, making it seem like violence is the only available choice.

3. Voices advocating calm and reasoning are drowned out online, resulting in politics being dominated by voices of anger and hate.

To dismantle this structure, it’s essential to undermine its base. This involves challenging false narratives about rigged elections, the existence of a liberal Deep State, and the acceptability of political violence. Validating democracy as a reliable system where defeat in one election cycle doesn’t spell doom is vital.

Political, religious, and media leaders need to state these truths boldly. Failing to do so risks erosion of trust in elections and democratic institutions, thereby making violence an alternative decision-making route.

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