News outlets today are reporting a very troubling poll result.
Almost one-third of Republicans say they think violence may be necessary to solve the problems facing the United States, according to a new national survey by the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute. The finding is part of PRRI’s 12th annual American Values Survey released Monday which, among other things, highlights the continued impact of the same falsehoods and conspiracy theories that fueled the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol nearly one year later.
What has been unleashed in the United States over the past months defies logic.
School board meetings are scenes of bombastic half-cocked parents with red faces screaming about mask mandates. Angry unionized public employees pout and stay home from their jobs because science shows they need to be vaccinated against a virus. Meanwhile, in Virginia, angry white voters claim critical race theory is the most important issue in the race for their governor. When some of those voters are further questioned they then state they have no real idea what critical race theory even is about.
The homegrown anger, the all-too-frequent bursts of outrage, and now even threatened violence from Republicans and conservatives should alert us to what they harbor within. While this poll is the latest data to underscore the problem, it is not the first to prove what exists within a portion of the electorate.
Too many Republicans looked at the seditious riot at the Capitol on January 6th and thought the violence was justified. They saw police officers beat and never even winced at the irony of prattling on about their deep respect for those who wear Blue as they watched them being injured and knowing later some died.
According to a Monmouth survey, two in every five Republicans said they considered the anger that led to the violence to have been at least partly justified.
The Founding Fathers, who knew a great deal about throwing off repression through violent means, also undertook the method of forging a new nation through a process of dialogue and compromise. That last part is what the angry mobs today never learned.
I have wondered over the past 10 months if the issues which are constructed by conservative talk radio and FOX News so to ensure ratings has not also created very troubling consequences. If every slight and perceived injury is ballooned for the conservative base into a gut-wrenching situation then what is left for that base to feel or compare it with when a truly undemocratic and dangerous attack on our institutions takes place? As on January 6th.
And so it goes.