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How should we counter rising political violence in the US & what are the root causes?

Blink O'Fanaye
Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

On this edition of Your Call, we discuss post-January 6th threats of political violence and intimidation. A February survey found four in 10 Republicans agreed that "if elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions."

Last week, 100 former national security officials published an open letter to Congress warning that partisan interference, intimidation campaigns, and disinformation are rapidly undermining the democratic process. The Department of Justice also recently issued a national terrorism warning about domestic terrorists.

Historians say the Republican Party is using and endorsing violence as a political tool. What do you make of the moment we're in? What can be done to counter this?


Ruth Ben-Ghiat, historian and commentator on fascism, authoritarian leaders, and propaganda, Professor of Italian and History at New York University, advisor to Protect Democracy, and author of seven books, including her latest: Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present. She also writes a newsletter on Substack, Lucid.

Lisa Graves, executive director and editor-in-chief of True North Research, a watchdog group that investigates and exposes those distorting US democracy and public policy, leader of BOLD ReThink, and former executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy

Web Resources: 

The New York Times, Lisa Lerer and Astead Herndon: Menace Enters the Republican Mainstream

The Hill, Austin Sarat and Dennis Aftergut: GOP silence deafening as post-Jan. 6 threats of violence escalate

The Washington Post: After Jan. 6, threats and disinformation take hold across the U.S.

The New York Times, Alan Feuer: School Board Members Face Rising Threats Across the US

Lucid, Ruth Ben-Ghiat: Is Fascism Back? Is Trump a Fascist?

Medium: Letter From Former High-Ranking National Security Officials To Congress: Election Subversion Poses National Security Threat

The New Yorker, David Rhode: The January 6th Investigation Gets Closer to Donald Trump

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.
Lea is a producer for Your Call on KALW Local Public Radio. She graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in 2018.