We are about to struggle with a most important decision regarding our national values and how we are going to handle the disagreements which seem to be ever-growing among us.
I am sorry to say that who we elect to lead our nation will not resolve these matters — but a leader committed to our founding values can help us along.
In light of the continuing urban disorder after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the most recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, people died, police were challenged, and property was damaged as some observers commit themselves to supporting groups like Antifa or the Proud Boys.
I blogged earlier that these acts prompted (caused) this disorder and damage. Some of my detractors disagreed. Nevertheless, I sense we are faced with a major decision in which police violence is one cause along with systemic racism and major gaps in areas of employment, education, healthcare, housing, and how we treat those who seek asylum in our country. The one area I know best about is policing.
What’s ahead for police? We will be sorely pressed on all sides to choose one of these ways forward:
1. TOP DOWN. Gear up and fund the police, give them more authority, more armament, and authorize them to rid us of this disorder and those urban troublemakers.
2. BOTTOM UP. Police and elected officials get people to the table; together (and soon). Listen, deeply listen to them, and, as a community, start working on ridding yourselves of the pervasive and systemic racism that has plagued this nation since its earliest days (I am sure this will be one of the themes you will hear). In the meantime, as you work as a group on agreeable action steps, require your police to enforce the law fairly and maintain order without bias and with the minimum amount of force to gain compliance.
If you choose #1, your nation will gain “order” in the short run (after all, the government has more and bigger guns than either side), but you will truly loose out in the long term as a respected, democratic nation.
What did Dr. King warn us about many years ago? He cautioned us that violence is not the way. Violence is always short term thinking, emotional, and a knee-jerk solution. (If you question this, think about family violence, then Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan).
So, do the work and take the better, more effective way — the way of nonviolence. This will take creativity, courage and resolve — those, too, are strong American values.
Unfortunately, I predict you will take the easy way — #1. But I pray you won’t.
Here’s some more thoughts I have…