The Threat to American Democracy and Civil Society: Understanding Influence Operations, Violent Extremism, and the Fractures Spawned by Political Partisanship

John Villanueva

On January 6, 2021, the United States Capitol was attacked by a violent mob in an attempt to disrupt an electoral-vote count by a joint session of congress.  The Capitol almost fell under the weight of this insurrection.  Americans – stunned and frozen in front of their televisions and mobile devices – witnessed a failed coup attempt by right wing extremists that are feasting on an endless buffet of foreign and domestic influence operations, toxic political partisanship, and revisionist history.  How did so many people become radicalized?  How did social media contribute to the radicalization process?  What does this mean for the future of America?  How do we recover from this attack on democracy?  How do we bridge our differences?  How do we protect future generation against the poisoning of the mind?  These are the questions addressed in this presentation that includes a Q&A session.

A/V requirements: Internet Access, Laptop, LCD Projector, Screen, White Board and Markers