Public Statement: Violence Against Our Elected Officials is a Threat on Democracy
Journey to the Center is deeply disturbed by the recent threats of violence targeting Judge Tanya Chutkan, Representative Shelia Jackson and US President, Joe Biden. These reprehensible incidents strike at the heart of our democracy, endangering the very essence of public service and intimidating those who represent and lead our nation.
It is deeply troubling to read such acts of unprovoked hostility aimed at impeding Chutkan, Jackson and President Biden’s ability to judge, legislate and to safely serve within the Executive Office.
When citizens threaten violence against our public officials, they erode foundational principles that underpin the human right to life. Fear and intimidation obstruct the open exchange of ideas, hinder the respectful dialogue needed to address critical issues, and ultimately weaken our ability to focus on collectively building a better future for all.
Today, Journey to the Center wholeheartedly recognizes the immense challenges our public officials face while striving to fulfill their duties and responsibilities. As with the incidents above, the US Government invoked a legitimate ground for restricting freedom of expression, demonstrated the precise nature of the threat, and the necessity and proportionality of the specific action taken. See Shin v. Republic of Korea (CCPR/C/80/D/926/2000), at para. 35. More specifically, the US Government was able to established a direct and immediate connection between the expression and the threats.
“When a State party invokes a legitimate ground for restriction of freedom of expression, it must demonstrate in specific and individualized fashion the precise nature of the threat, and the necessity and proportionality of the specific action taken, in particular by establishing a direct and immediate connection between the expression and the threat.”
Human Rights Committee, General Comment 34 (2011)
Moreover, Journey to the Center calls upon all individuals, irrespective of their political affiliations, to denounce the promotion of violence and intimidation. Let us create an environment that fosters empathy, respect, and understanding, where public servants can perform their vital roles.
In times like these, it is imperative that we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the principles of democracy, even if we believe she has disappeared. We must safeguard the fundamental right to express differing opinions and engage in robust discourse, as this is the only way the seeds of democratic processes in our nation can blossom.
Our country thrives when citizens hold our elected officials responsible via the media, human rights apparatuses, blogs and the ballot box. It is requested that you exercise your voices there.
Journey to the Center