Some political language in US takes authoritarian turn


Rev. Robert L. Montgomery, Ph.D

One of the most disturbing and dangerous recent developments in American society has been the increase in words supporting authoritarianism along with threats of violence against anyone who gets in their way. This language is dangerous because democracy is not just a way of governing a nation; democracy starts with and is undergirded by an attitude and spirit of cooperation among diverse people. People must want to have a democracy and be willing to compromise for the good of the nation. The democratic spirit begins with recognizing the equality of all people and their right to have an equal voice in our national politics.   

The decay in the democratic spirit in America accompanied the rise of violent language from Donald Trump. This was followed by violent actions from his followers. We saw the unique attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. This display of violence on Jan. 6 gave people a kind of freedom to express themselves with violent talk and behavior as never before. The rise in threatening messages and hate mail sent to political opponents is a strong denial of the democratic spirit. Aligning with the democratic spirit means remaining peaceful even when there are vigorous and strong disagreements.

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