OP-ED: Intimidation Is Not Democracy – It’s Mob Rule

By: Reps. Greg Chaney and Brooke Green

Our democracy relies on freedom of expression, including protest. It also depends on an open, productive, and civil discourse where everyone can be heard and policy is set based on a rational assessment of available options. Setting policy based on who can act most intimidating is anti-democratic and anti-American. Sadly, the past year has seen a dramatic increase in the instances of protest crossing lines and engaging in strong-arm intimidation tactics to make their point.

In early December, Ada County Commissioner was forced to leave her office in the middle of a health district meeting, panic-stricken, due to a mob of angry people outside her home, with only her 12-year-old son inside at the time.

In late April, an agitated crowd assembled outside a Meridian police officer’s house to protest an arrest he had made earlier that day. The officer’s address was publicly disseminated, encouraging a group to gather there and harass the officer and his family.

Another incident took place in late August, when several of the Boise City Council members woke to find drawings of butterflies on the bottom of their driveway from activists who, in the midnight hour, found it appropriate to express their displeasure of their recent vote to increase spending for the Boise Police Department.

This is not protest, it is intimidation. Making one’s point does not require holding civil servants captive in their homes while instilling fear for them and their families’ safety. Showing up at someone’s home is an attempt to accomplish political ends through intimidation — as history has documented — and this is true whether the crowd arrives carrying torches or daisies. Crowds outside of homes pointed out vulnerabilities that such picketers could exploit long before the assault on Congress on January 6 reminded us of the danger angry mobs represented. Intimidation isn’t a form of democratic expression — it’s mob rule.

That’s why we came together to introduce bipartisan legislation to draw a distinction between protest and vigilantism by criminalizing targeted picketing of people’s homes. Intimidation has become the weapon of choice of the fringe elements on the right and the left and it affects more than just civil servants: these bullies make the political process an unwelcome place for any of their fellow citizens who might disagree with them — silencing the voices of the strong majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who don’t share their extremism.

Our traditions of civil discourse are incompatible with mob rule; defending every citizens’ right to have their voices heard requires a bold stance against the intimidation tactics that threaten that right. Together, we’re proud to take a meaningful step in defense of rationality by protecting the sanctity of the home through our shared legislation.

3 thoughts on “OP-ED: Intimidation Is Not Democracy – It’s Mob Rule

  1. The term to explain this ideology is “Confrontational Politics” and was a tactic used by the nazi party in the 1930’s to gain power in post war WWI Germany.

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  2. When an elected or non-elected person in government believes he or she has the right to take the liberty of the people, by a vote or otherwise, then it is the right of the people to react and not allow those rights to be taken. This can lawfully be done by force if necessary. However most people would agree that force should be the last option. So, the people may call upon the law for remedy and if the law will not act for their rights, then they may go to the Capitol building and if they are shut out and removed from the Capitol, then they may write direct requests to the government personnel and if those request are denied, then they may show up at their houses. These attempts to awake those in government to the violations of the people rights are all proper and peaceful and have nothing to do with a mob tying to take something that does not belong to them. Peaceful attempt to show government personnel that the people are not happy with their actions is a fundamental constitutional protects right of each individual. When people in government attempt to use the law to stop the exercise of this right it only show that those people do not understand where rights come from or the purpose of themselves being in government. It is a fortunate thing for those in government that the people are willing to exhaust all peaceful option before they use physical force in defense of their rights. Going to government personnel’s homes to show concern is a peaceful and benevolent action of the people.

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