The Illinois congressman is one of just two Republicans — Rep. Liz Cheney is the other — who had the moral fortitude to serve on the House committee investigating that attempted coup.
Hence the threats from fellow Republicans.
The 2017 shooting of GOP Rep. Steve Scalise and four others and the arrest this month of a man who allegedly sought to murder conservative Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh foreclose any claim that violence is unique to the political right.
No, violence remains, as H. Rap Brown said in 1967, “as American as cherry pie.”
But the embrace of violence, the cultivation of violence and the tacit encouragement of violence have become, distinctively and disturbingly, Republican staples.
So Jan. 6 was no accident.
To the contrary, it’s what you’d expect from a party that endorses guns as a remedy for political disagreements, one whose leader explicitly encourages and condones thuggery, one in which seemingly every candidate for office runs a TV spot co-starring a firearm.
Indeed, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is seeking a Senate seat with an ad that shows him wielding a long gun alongside a team in tactical gear as they breach a house. “Today, we’re goin’ RINO hunting,” he says.
The acronym stands for “Republican In Name Only,” which is, not incidentally, what Republicans like Greitens call Republicans like Kinzinger.
The ad appeared online the day after Kinzinger revealed the threats against his family.
This is now our norm.
Republicans no longer talk policy or ideas. Republicans only threaten.
Isaac Asimov famously called violence “the last refuge of the incompetent.”
But violence — self-defense excepted — is also the last refuge of the loser, the last gasp of those who have no more words, the tacit confession of those who know, but are loath to admit, that they got nothin’.
If you can’t win the argument, win the fight — a mantra for thugs, bully boys and other Republicans.
“There is violence in the future,” said Kinzinger.
And it felt not unlike someone saying, “There is a storm in the future,” as rain pelts the window and lawn furniture goes skittering across the yard.
Yes, things could get much worse.
They are, however, already quite bad.
One of our two major political parties is a threat to the very nation. And absent a dramatic course correction, it seems likely that dissolution is in the future, pain is in the future, regret is in the future.
But violence? That’s already here.