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The Growing Specter of Violence

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May 21, 2021 11:08 a.m.

Political violence is always anathema to democracy. This is the case not least because what we think of as civic democracy requires high-trust environments over high-fear environments. The latter make civic life brittle and tenuous. But what is really lethal to democracy is less acts of terroristic, high profile violence (say an Oklahoma City bombing) but when violence and the threat of violence begin to seep into the ordinary process of governmental decision-making. And of late I’ve seen smatterings of examples of this from around the country. The numbers are very, very small – at least the ones I’ve seen. So I don’t know whether I’m simply seeing them more, or whether they are just the knock-on effects of the massive disruptions of COVID or something more persistent and grave.

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