Reactions to Pelosi attack show acute US partisanship, spell fiery midterm elections
Published: Oct 29, 2022 09:46 PM
Degradation in the Western system Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Degradation in the Western system Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Eleven days before the US midterm elections and amid a febrile political atmosphere, a man named David Depape with right-wing views broke into the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco and attacked her husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer.

The suspect is believed to have initially targeted Nancy, yelling while he searched for her, "Where's Nancy? Where's Nancy?" US President Joe Biden pointed out that the shouting echoed chants used by the rioters during the Capitol Hill riots on January 6, 2021. He condemned the attack as an act of political violence, suggesting it was a natural progression from "lies" Republicans have spread about the 2020 election, according to US media outlet The Hill.

Although the suspect is reportedly inextricably linked to US far-right forces as a believer in a host of conspiracy theories endorsed by many GOP politicians, Depape's motives remain unknown for now. With a hue of inflaming bipartisan struggle, Biden seemed eager to blame the Republicans before any more information about the suspect was revealed. Some of his fellow Democrats also accused conservative politicians of remaining silent after the horrible incident, while continuing to condemn the far right for stoking violence.

Republicans have not missed any opportunity to bash their opponents either. The conservatives are going hard in highlighting failures on crime by liberals in this year's midterm elections. Thus, it is no surprise that while speaking with Fox News, right-wing civil rights attorney Leo Terrell slammed Democrats for soft-on-crime policies.

What the attack reflects is the irrational, confrontational and destructive nature of American politics that have become increasingly prominent. When something goes wrong, the first thing that comes to the mind of some US politicians is to jump on it and blame their rivals.

The political division between the Democratic and Republican parties has widened even further. Amid increasing polarization in US politics, the two parties are using all possible chances, means, and resources they can exploit to mobilize and consolidate support.

Lü Xiang, an expert on international relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that he believes that Democrats and Republicans are paying attention to the even slightest slip or mistake in each other's words and actions as a source of new attack lines, even though many of these attacks are simply unscrupulous and self-contradictory.

The Democratic Party portrays itself as a defender of human rights while playing almost no constructive role in the governance of the US crime problem that threatens Americans' lives and safety. The GOP politicians accuse Democrats of failing on public safety, but push for a looser policy over gun control that could lead to more crimes.

And both parties also incite their supporters to stand firmly against the other party and its supporters rather than calling for compromise and unity. As the partisan confrontation in the US intensifies, a greater division between the people will no doubt become apparent.

The failed attempt to attack Nancy Pelosi is not an isolated incident, US politicians are becoming targets of violence and terrorism in the US. In 2021, US Capitol police investigated at least 9,000 threats against members of Congress - five years ago, the number was 902.

But if we look deeper into the political violence, people's growing frustration and discontent with US politicians are at the root of this toxic phenomenon. For many of the country's political elites, politics is just a game to advance their political and economic interests. They don't actually intend to address people's problems. Such greed and incompetence are causing public distrust and even hatred of these politicians to climb.

In addition, some extreme US politicians take advantage of the febrile mood to incite the public to attack the political elites - mainly their opponents - and the establishment violently. This has created a rising pro-violence sentiment throughout US society.

The longer these existing problems in US society prevail, the more likely people will engage in violence to demonstrate dissatisfaction. Many are concerned that violence could accompany the upcoming US midterm elections, and even more future political events in the country.