One of the things that kills democracies is political violence. When outright violence and more aggressive forms of intimidation become the norm in politics there is very little chance that the will of the people, any people, can be accurately heard. While there will be those who are so in love with the idea of government by the people that they will not be cowed, larger numbers of people will think of their families, their children and their own health and well being and bow to the fear of violence.
We in the United States have been witness to a set of trends which have been edging us closer and closer to political violence. Just last night some supporters of Rand Paul knocked down a MoveOn.org activist as she tried to give a mock employee of the month card to the radical Republican Senatorial Candidate. They then head locked her and one of their members stomped on her head and neck. At this time it is unknown exactly how injured she is, but this kind of assault could have maimed or even killed her. Being held down and kicked is no little scuffle, it is serious assault.
If this were the only instance of this kind of thing, it would still be disturbing. Sadly it is not. We have seen the “arrest” of an Alaska journalist by the security detail for Tea Party backed Republican Senatorial Candidate Joe Miller. We have seen Carl Paladino screaming in the face of a reporter and saying that he would “take him out”. We have seen Sharon Angle muse about “2nd Amendment remedies” if Republicans are not elected. We have seen Stephen Broden, a Tea Party candidate for House in Dallas say and defend the idea that armed revolution should be on the table.