Since the raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, there have been multiple attacks and armed protests at FBI offices by his aggrieved followers. The rants on social media by Trump and his fellow Republicans — and the dangerous rhetoric of right-wing propagandists — are inciting Trump supporters to assault the FBI simply because they’re investigating the leader of their cult for crimes including espionage and obstruction of justice.
I understand the right to free speech, but there is a fine line between free speech and incitement. When words inspire a cult to attack these institutions, there should be some form of accountability, especially when there is no attempt at conducting peaceful protests and no condemnation of the violence in front of the FBI institutions.
It’s as almost if Trump and other high-ranking Republicans are counting on these attacks because no one in a leadership position has been held accountable for the January 6th insurrection. In that case, why not inspire their followers to continue waging attacks, since there are few consequences?
I feel that because justice is still moving at a glacial pace, it seems like nothing has been learned from the January 6th insurrection, especially since the same type of behavior continues. What can be done differently to prevent these fascists from inspiring violence?
Our rights shouldn’t be infringed upon, but there needs to be some change, I believe, to protect the institutions that safeguard our rights. We must ensure that no one is above the law, that no one has the right to incite violence, and that we as a nation must provide accountability rapidly before more people get hurt or killed.
Terrorists — whether they are the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers following Trump’s orders to “stand back and stand by;” Osama bin Laden inspiring Al Qaeda to attack American forces; or Putin inspiring his army to invade Ukraine — utilize powerful words to motivate their followers.
We must remind the American public that these words of violence and hatred can have deadly consequences, and do whatever we can to prevent them from fracturing our nation.
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This is an opinion column that solely represents the viewpoint of the author.
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Opinion columnist and Army veteran. Former MAGA, now a Biden voter.