Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. It is still easy to step back and Monday morning quarterback. We often take for granted in our judgment of the past that we may find ourselves in the position actually to do what we said we would have done.
One of the many scars on our nation’s history is our treatment of the Vietnam Veteran. They were blamed for a war that we shouldn’t have been in, in a country, no one knew about, at a period when we were trying to get our own house in order. It was the first time that war was viewed at the dinner table, and our nation’s apathy for it quickly grew as the nightly death toll turned our stomach sour.
Then we did what no nation should; we turned on our protectors. In airports all across America, we spit on the men who did what they felt was the honorable thing to do; they answered their country’s call. They didn’t burn their draft card. They didn’t run to Canada, they stepped up and served, and the vast majority of them served honorably.
The repercussions of that were far-reaching and are still having significant effects on our Vietnam Veterans today. In our effort to do the right thing, we hurt the wrong people. Many (despite attempts to right those past wrongs) still do not feel appreciated by this nation.
Looking around today, I see history repeating itself, but on a different battlefield. Police officers are being attacked as a whole, and things are being done that I am sure society will look back on one day and say we took it to far. The cry that “All Cops are Bastards” is being spray-painted on walls. We are removing cartoons because a puppy dog wears a police uniform, and calls to defund the police are gaining steam.
This is not the way to solve a genuine problem.
There can be no doubt that police reform is needed in America, but making it a war on the police will see the same outcome that the war on drugs did.
It will fail.
Wars don’t drive collaboration; they create enemies. Every day someone has to win, and someone has to lose. Both parties can’t gain ground at the same time, and there is no way to move a nation forward.
The reality is that the majority of our police force are great men and women trying to do a difficult and important job. Please make no mistake about it; society needs the police force, we know this on the most basic level. Hell, the first thing they did in the Seattle autonomous zone was to begin patrolling their newly claimed streets. Let that sink in for a minute.
When you start taking cartoons off of tv for wearing a uniform, you’re starting to react emotionally, not logically, and nothing good comes from that. Instead of attacking the individuals who have committed no crimes, let’s work on the institution that needs an overhaul. Instead of driving the good ones out because we treat them as evil, let’s ensure that we show our support for their actions. Reward those good officers so that they can restore public respect and trust as we work together for reform in our nation.
For those who abuse their power, harm those in custody, or take another’s life needlessly, may the justice be swift and absolute.
But, the mark of just and civil society is that we use reason and logic to move us forward. We attack the problem at hand, not a cartoon that demonstrates the good we wish to see.