The generous explanation is that it’s hard to comprehend the danger of what seem like ridiculous conspiracy theories until you experienced that danger firsthand. This is a lesson I’ve learned myself. I’ve had my share of unpleasant experiences with people who believed I was evil incarnate — everything from being burned in effigy for fighting for health-care reform, to claiming that I was running a pedophilia ring out of a pizza parlor, to receiving a mail bomb from a rabid Trump cult member.
Fanatical ideas can lead to real, even deadly harm. That’s something the people of Michigan realized last year when armed militia members plotted to kidnap their governor. It’s something Nashvillians saw when a conspiracy theorist blew up an entire city block. Now, it’s something all of America has experienced.
But it is not enough to scrutinize — and prosecute — the domestic terrorists who attacked our Capitol. We all need to do some soul-searching of our own.