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Not even the slightest hint
On the intimidation of public officials, the limits of tolerable protest, and the attack on the spouse of the Speaker of the House
That a criminal broke into the California home of the Speaker of the House and assaulted her husband in front of police is a dreadful, repugnant event. It should, of course, be completely surprising, but it is not.
■ America has experienced political violence in the past, just like most other countries. But it shouldn't be hard for anyone to say this: A free society should unconditionally reject the scourge of politically motivated violence, by anyone, against anyone.
■ A Supreme Court justice was threatened earlier this year, and members of Congress were fired upon at a recreational baseball game in 2017. And what took place at the United States Capitol in 2021 was unfathomable.
■ The actual acts of violence aren't the only events we should vigorously reject if we want to keep a healthy society. There have been far too many events in which people have tried menacing public officials, even if they did not turn violent in fact. It happens to officials at all levels, and it's been treated with a shrug by far too many people, mainly when they find that the intimidation is being used as a tool to promote an agenda with which they happen to agree.
■ Menacing and intimidation were wrong when protesters raised serious security concerns when they targeted governors with protests in the summer of 2020. And they were wrong when they were used against election officials that winter.
■ It should tax no one's conscience to say that there is no room for politically motivated violence by anyone, against anyone. Nor should it take any particular courage to say that even the hint of intimidation is wrong. The path to violence isn't one on which anyone should start, because taking even the first step implies a willingness to continue on to taking the last.