There is talk of riots if the Kerry-Edwards team doesn’t win. There have been shootings and trashing of campaign offices.
On Monday, the Bush campaign provided a list of more than 40 examples it said had occurred since July, including the burglary from campaign offices of several items: two laptop computers in Seattle; a banner in Thousand Oaks; petty cash in Spokane, Wash.; as well as break-ins last Friday in Flagstaff, Ariz., and Cincinnati.
Also included were examples of lesser crimes including the defacement or theft of supporters’ lawn signs as well as broken windows, slashed tires, shots fired, bullet holes and thrown eggs at campaign offices.
In response to the Bush campaign’s incident list, Democrats countered with a list of 19 incidents aimed at the campaign of Sen. John Kerry, including a bullet that was fired into a supporter’s house, graffiti at campaign offices, the smashing of a mailbox bearing Kerry campaign stickers and the theft of a laptop in Norristown, Pa.
I don’t recall this happening on this scale before. Is my memory off? Or is something else going on? I remember when I was involved on the no on I-676 campaign that there were lots of complaints of our yard signs being stolen (Boomershooter Steve M. was losing about three or four a week) but our offices were never broken into and there weren’t any reports of intimidation by either side. But election violence, in other countries, is actually quite common according to what some people tell me.
So why the change in our country now? My hypothesis is that people are getting violent because the government has more control than it used to. It used to be the government stayed within the bounds of the constitution to a greater extent than now. When the consequences of a change in power of the government was highly constrained it just didn’t matter that much who was in power. But now that the Federal government is involved in so many things it didn’t use to have control over such as health care, education, firearm ownership, gay marriage, etc. the consequences of “your side” loosing are significant enough that people can justify, in their own minds, the violence. This is just as people in other countries with few limits to government control can justify their violence.