Holding Public Office Now Includes a Lot of Personal Safety Risks
Running for office requires sacrifice.
Candidates on all sides of the political spectrum must be willing to give up free time, time with their families, sleep, weekends, vacations, and money.
They have to expect to see their names in the press, sometimes portrayed unfavorably, and have to be able to respond professionally to criticism, some of it unwarranted, while trying to stay a few steps ahead of their opponents.
But until fairly recently, there was a factor about which most political aspirants didn’t need to worry.
Of course politicians have always been targets of violence.
We all know what happened to Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, JFK, and RFK.
Lincoln may have been the first president to be assassinated, but he wasn’t the last.
Political violence had been something we normally associate with third-world dictatorships, weaker governments replete with crime, corruption, and fascism.
Here it has always been an anomaly.
A new report from researchers at the University of California Davis Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) reveals an alarming number of 8,600 respondents — one in five — believe political violence may be necessary to achieve certain political goals.
According to the survey, half of Americans somewhat agree the country will engage in civil war “in the next few years.”
Nearly one in five assert they will soon arm themselves in situations “where political violence is justified.”
Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, a Carnegie Endowment senior fellow specializing in democracy and security, stated:
“This is a very strong methodological study that backs up what we are seeing in a lot of other data. America is at risk of experiencing major political violence.”