Former Democratic presidential candidate from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, said she warned of a potential “civil war” months ago if the media, Big Tech, and politicians did not stop pushing divisive narratives on the American people. She said the country’s leaders and media companies need to start leading to serve the public’s interests—not their own.
“Months ago (I) was maybe one of a few people who warned of civil war if we continue down the path that we are on. And I think that what we are seeing now with this divisiveness that exists very much online … now being translated into action further points in that direction,” Gabbard said in an interview with the host of the Rubin Report Dave Rubin.
The former congresswoman made her comments after then Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol building by some protestors and rioters, which marred a largely peaceful protest by thousands of other protesters. A group of rioters and a minority of protesters waving American and Trump flags illegally stormed the Capitol building as lawmakers were counting electoral votes in a joint session of Congress. Mayhem on Capitol grounds that day left at least five people dead, including one police officer, and dozens of officers injured.
Tulsi added, “It’s heartbreaking to see this happening at our Nation’s Capital. This is a symptom of much deeper issues and challenges that have been stewing for a long time, especially as of this last year.”
She called out the “conflict culture” being created on social media platforms and the lack of civil discourse between those with opposing points of view.
“You’ve got to look at what’s driving this … what’s fueling it,” she said. “You can look at political leaders who are more interested in fueling divisiveness, riling people up for their own personal or political benefit. You see the media, doing the same thing for ratings. You see these big tech monopolies and Facebook using their algorithms and social media to continue to push and push, and put fuel on the flames of this divisiveness.”
She added that influencers on social media platforms tend to only speak to a segment of people who generally hold similar views, which doesn’t allow for civil discourse and makes attacks such as that seen on the Capitol more likely.
After the attack, Twitter restricted and then suspended President Donald Trump’s account, citing “risk of violence.” Two days later, Twitter said it was permanently removing Trump’s account, due to “the risk of further incitement of violence” after a close review of Trump’s tweets and the “context around them—specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter.”
In initial reports on the violence at the Capitol, anti-Trump voices in the media had started blaming the president, saying he was responsible for “inciting violence” among his supporters.
On the morning on Jan. 8, Trump made his last two posts before being banned from Twitter.
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape, or form!!!” he said.
Twitter said that the post was “being interpreted as a further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition.’”
In his last post, the president wrote: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.” Twitter said this message was “being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate,” adding that both posts were “in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy.”
A Very Dangerous Thing
Gabbard said it is dangerous to condone any type of violence, even if you think the cause is just.
“The riots that we’ve seen over the last year occurring (shows that) the violence is somehow okay if it aligns with your view of what these people are ‘fighting’ for. And that’s a very dangerous thing.”
The former Congresswoman said the attack on the Capitol was wrong and people should use legal means to fight any injustice.
“For example, if you are concerned about the legitimacy and the integrity of our elections, take action to do something. I introduced a bill called the securing America’s election act which if our country’s leaders had passed, would have prevented a lot of the angst that people are feeling and seeing right now with this election because it says that you have to have a paper trail,” Gabbard said.
According to a summary of Gabbard’s 2018 bill, federal elections would need to produce paper “ballots that the voter may inspect and verify before the vote is cast and counted.”
The bill also “requires the paper ballot to be suitable for manual audits, prescribe approved methods for such audits, and directs the Department of Homeland Security and the Election Assistance Commission to report on the desirability of using open-source software in voting systems.”
The Army veteran shared her hope for how leaders will lead in the future, saying, “Whether they’re elected or not elected, (leaders should say) I am here to serve this country and the American people, not my party.”
To end the interview, Gabbard said that she will continue advocating for American’s freedoms and common-sense policies in her work while embracing the spirit of “Aloha,” which guides her to find common ground and humanity with all people.
“I open my heart and I love you as a fellow person, as a child of God, as a fellow American … whether we agree or disagree on different issues, whether we come from different backgrounds or not,” Gabbard said.