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Our View: Threats have no place in movement
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America was partly founded on the idea of dissent. Historians and political scientists explain the framers of this country did not want to break away from British rule, but wanted representation for the taxes they were paying to England.

The demand by the American people to have a representative form of government is fundamental to this country's identity. The people in congressional districts or municipalities have the right to choose their public officials, especially when they disagree with them. Though it wasn't always the case for every office. United States senators were at one time appointed by states legislatures, not elected by the people; the 17th Amendment to the U.S. constitution changed that in 1913.

This necessity by Americans, to have a voice in government, helped spawn the Boston Tea Party, when in 1773, then British citizens in the colonies upset about England's tax on tea dumped chests of it off ships into the Boston Harbor. If you believe the rhetoric coming out of the modern tea party movement, the current political activity in America is forcing such a backlash over health care reform. They claim not to be represented by our current governmental parties though they are being taxed it.

While the original tea party helped create a violent revolution, the modern day version should not be used to help birth violence. But, sadly it appears it has. As one example, House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., had a brick thrown through a window at one of her offices. This is just one of several examples, including death threats, federal legislators have received. In 2010, there is no need to threaten or violently intimidate candidates who voted for the health care reform bill.

The threats have reached Wisconsin and they have no place here, or anywhere. The office of Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, reported the word "kill" scribed Wednesday over Kagen's name on a sign outside the Kagen Allergy Clinic in Allouez, the Appleton Post-Crescent reported. Kagen no longer owns the clinic, but his name is still out front. Earlier this month, the office also received a death threat left on the answering machine at Kagen's office near Green Bay, the paper reported. Wausau Democratic Rep. Dave Obey's offices have received numerous menacing calls, according to staffers, and a security door is being installed at his Wausau office, according to the Post-Crescent.

The modern tea party movement might end up being productive to the seemingly stagnant two-party system in America, but violence has no place in the current political system. The power and organization of this movement should be focused on organizing sentiment and changing the electoral landscape at the voting booth.