By The Numbers: Is it OK to use violence to “save the country?”

Here are some very rough numbers that might help create context for discussion.

The U.S. population is about 331 million, of which roughly 252 million are of voting age.

Of the voting age population, about 63 million self identify as Republicans (Gallup, Dec. 2021)

Some 24% of them say they are OK with violence as a way to “save the country.”  That’s about 15 million, a huge number to be sure.  But there are are over 230 million who are not OK with that.  

How to interpret it is unclear, but it does raise dozens of questions worthy of discussion.  Don’t get hung up on the math.  The numbers are roughly right and exactly wrong.  They merely point to more important things.

2 thoughts on “By The Numbers: Is it OK to use violence to “save the country?””

  1. Two comments:

    1. Where are those (roughly) 15 million people? That is: are there specific places with large concentration of folks who are willing to endorse violence to “save the country”?

    2. I suspect “save the country” means save “this way of life” from “this other way of life” that is threatening to impose itself.

    Is there a direct relation between 1 and 2? –Yes.

    For example: Certain chunks of Eastern Oregon “want” to merge with certain chunks of Idaho. This “desire” is born, as far as I can see, out of those chunks sharing a “way of life” that increasing sees itself as under threat of not just domination but imposition by a significantly different way of life.

    The depth of “threat” becomes existential through the sense of a shared a way of life being at stake.

    Which then returns us to the internal connection of 1 and 2.

    Are there other areas of the country analogous to Eastern Oregon/Idaho? Well, yes. And is the delegitimation of the “normal” avenues of institutional redress well underway in those areas? Yes. And can you reach a threshold of delegitimation in which people “take to the streets”? —I strongly suspect we will find out….

  2. Even though this group is a small minority doesn’t mean they can’t be hugely influential in changing our way of life or government policies. Examples in past history and now shows this to be true especially when social situations (high rates of unemployment, massive inflation, tribal conflict, religious persecution and social unrest) takes place. The huge example is Hitler but look at Africa and Burma. We still need to be vigilant about fighting for our democracy.

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