By Joe Rector
Enough! It’s that simple. This country already has plenty of problems without piling on more and more. Now, this might not make anyone happy, but the truth is that all sides share some of the blame for the mess we are in. It is also true that the extremes on the left and the right will work to keep any progress from taking place.
We do have a racial problem. The black population has been for too long been treated like second class citizens. Fear of losing power has caused many white people perpetuate this fact. Some folks are simply ignorant in their assessments that blacks are of an inferior race. The murders of black individuals have horrified us once again and have sparked one of the largest, multi-racial protest in our country’s history. The deaths are terrible, but the call to action is a good thing.
Peaceful protests are the right of citizens of this country, and many have led to better conditions. These most recent ones might well lead to positive steps toward ending discrimination. The majority of Americans hope so. When looters and rioters set out to destroy businesses and steal for their own gain, the positive message of protest is blunted. How does burning down the community help the plight of its residents?
At the same time, this new call to action might lead the way to police reform. Too many times, black individuals have been accosted, arrested, and murdered by rogue officers who fail to recognize the humanity of all persons. Those individuals must be held accountable to the same standards that all citizens are held. Murder is murder, regardless of whether it is citizen on citizen or officer on citizen.
What we must realize, however, is that not all police officers are bad, and we must use common sense to acknowledge that not all acts by the police are evil. The “Defund Police” movement is dead in the water before it begins simply because of the name. If people literally want to defund the police, they should demand that those officers not enter their communities. Problems then can be handled by the very residents that decry the people who protect and serve. If the intention is to move money to other places where it can be more effectively used to handle problems with which police should never deal, then I will be the first to support it.
I have black friends. One of my favorite students of all time is April Woodward Sampson, who works at the Richland County Justice Center in South Carolina. Millions of white people have black friends. We feel their pain, although we can never understand it. We want all to work to put an end to the inequalities of this nation. A new culture in all communities must grow if the problem is to be solved. That means white folks need to work to give black folks the same opportunities. It also means that black people realize that not all white people are to blame for the poor conditions in which they find themselves.
We can solve most of the problems of our country. We must do it through electing officials who will invest in improvements. We must do it through peaceful protests that quickly prevent any looting and arson and stealing. Most of all, we must do it through the knowledge that the God that created the world created and loves each of us. “Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight.”