Next summer, Milwaukee will host the Republican National Convention (July 15-18) and Chicago will host the Democratic National Convention (August 19-22). For a few months, the Midwest and Great Lakes will be center stage in national politics.
While this is a welcome opportunity to showcase these communities, the spotlight also brings a heightened threat of violence. This is a fact of our current political climate and it would be a devastating mistake to overlook these risks.
To avoid a catastrophe — and to significantly reduce the possibility that violence could be used for political gain — the people of Wisconsin and Illinois must lead a proactive movement for peace. Only a strong and vocal united front against violence has the power to minimize the risk to our communities and our guests.
A Public Pact
We can start this movement by demanding that every person in a position of power or influence make a public statement condemning political violence. Only by putting pressure on politicians and local party organizers, can we quell the rising notion that hate, division, and violence can be used to win power.
All politicians, party leaders, and pundits must go on record pledging that they:
- Will refuse to support any candidate that enflames or condones violence;
- Will not spread hate and instigate violence through their words or actions; and
- Will not enable or ignore members of their communities promoting violence.
Contact your elected officials and party leaders now. Ask if they have spoken out against violence at any time in the past, and if so when.
Then, firmly request that they make a public statement or publish an article against the use of violence in this upcoming election cycle. Emphasize that their statement should include a pledge to honor the conditions listed above.
Write a letter to each of your local political leaders that you think should make this pledge. Take some inspiration from these sample letters as you write your own.
If you have time, follow up with a phone call or an office visit, and get a few neighbors and friends to do the same. Group action can really strengthen your message and increase the chances your requests are taken seriously.
When they put out a public statement denouncing violence, please make an update to their entry by providing a link so others can see it.
Contribute your of time and expertise to this project. Your passion, ideas, and personal connections are greatly needed to make this effort a success.
Photo credit: Yellow wildflowers reaching toward a light blue sky; vantage from below looking upward. / Masaaki Komori @gaspanik via Unsplash