What really worries me is we absolutely have seen the radicalization of one of the major political parties in the U.S., both in terms of the political ideas it’s putting forward, but also, its embrace of violence as a legitimate means to achieve those ends. The rhetoric coming from the right — “Watering the tree of liberty with blood,” “It’s back to 1776” — Jan. 6 was a reflection of that. There has been a lot of small-scale street violence around protest activity in the last couple of years, especially since the summer of 2020. Also the use of intimidation to try to push policy agendas and political agendas, especially at the local level, with people showing up at school board meetings and county council meetings and threatening people and staging outside with guns. That’s new-ish and it’s really bad, especially if you live in the areas where that is happening. But it’s not anywhere close to civil war.
We’re getting into this weird space where the variance in how democratic things are, and how violent things are, is widening and is now quite large across the country. And that fragmentation and balkanization of politics, I think, is going to get worse. That’s what really worries me a lot more than, are we going to get to hundreds of people shooting each other?