What I don’t like about America…..
This is not meant to be a complete recitation of every grievance I have against my government, my people, and my country. In fact, I love America. I love the ideals upon which this nation is founded. I love the idea of America.
But in practice, America often misses the mark, and falls well below the ideal. Is this reason enough to abandon the grand experiment of democracy? Heavens no. Though my nation is not perfect, it still remains the best country on Earth.
Yet, we could do so much better.
Let’s start with how we treat others. Recently there has been a great focus on racial inconsistencies in how our police treat the citizenry. It is true that people of color, especially black people, and more especially black men, are more likely to attract police attention than any other group. And it is also true that this additional attention is sometimes uncalled for, and can even rise to the level of harassment. And rarely, though this characterization may be debated by some, these unwarranted encounters can turn deadly.
It is clear that a high level of frustration exists amongst the African American community about this unequal treatment by law enforcement. I refer not to the tragic deaths, but to the initial harassment which has led to many of these encounters in the first place.
True, no matter who you are, you must respect authority, and comply with police directives. This is especially true when they are the ones with the guns, and are legally authorized to kill you. But — and here is the crux of my issue — the police must maintain a professional, dignified, and respectable manner throughout all their dealings with the public, no matter who they are.
Bad people exist. The police must deal with those bad people. But, not everyone is bad. Not every black person is bad. Not every black man is bad. Our police should be impeccable in their dealings with people, all people, to remove even the appearance of favoritism, harassment, impropriety, brutality, uncaring.
Many of our police already conduct themselves accordingly. I want to say most. I wish I could say most. But unfortunately I believe that mistreatment has been tolerated for so long that it is now ingrained into too many officers, too many departments.
It is the job of the police departments themselves to change the culture. If they cannot do it, then it is up to our political leaders to effect the change.
Whatever is necessary, do it. That there are bad people in the world is not reason enough to treat everybody of a certain social group with less dignity than we expect for the best of our people. All should be given the same respect. It comes with the territory.
Is America perfect? No. But we can be better.
(I will talk later about the mistreatment by police of poor white people. Also about the lack of respect shown to our police, and authority in general. Also, I am against drone strikes of weddings and funerals, and believe such constitute war crimes. But for today, the above is more than enough food for thought.)