Time to Address Concerns About Post-Election Violence [OPINION]
Scan the internet, and it's easy to find suggestions that violence is coming to a community near you if the results of next week's elections don't meet with everyone's approval. Just last week, American Thinker printed a list of items one should stockpile in preparation for a period of prolonged civil unrest after the election (Editor's note: AmericanThinker.com is considered by multiple media watchdog sites to be a far-right publication).
In a piece published by Business Insider, former Facebook content moderator Viana Ferguson is expecting calls for violent activity regardless of who wins the election.
"There's going to be a wave of hate speech. It's definitely going to be more violent," Ferguson told a recent meeting of the non-profit the Real Facebook Oversight Board. Business Insider reports Facebook executives are taking steps to address the situation.
New York Magazine featured a piece on October 6 entitled, "Americans Are Becoming More Open to Post-Election Violence." The article states, "Among Americans who identify as Democrat or Republican, 1 in 3 now believe that violence could be justified to advance their parties’ political goals—a substantial increase over the last three years."
There are indications that the violence may not wait until the election is over. WHDH-TV reports that police in Providence, Rhode Island are monitoring closely a social media post promoting a "Purge of Providence" event for this weekend billed by organizers as a "not so peaceful protest." Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare told a news conference on Monday, "the post is troubling."
Anyone with influence should be doing what they can to discourage violence. The leaders of both national political parties must address the threat of violence immediately in a very public manner. It's time for the rhetoric to be dialed back and for responsible leadership to lead our nation back from the brink.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.