Written By G. David Bednar on July 4
I do not believe that police are racist killers or that America is a systemically racist nation.
George Floyd’s killing was rightly and universally condemned. His death highlighted the challenge of protecting minority communities while respecting the rights of minorities. We watched proof that bad police exist. But are our police murderers? The Washington Post says nine unarmed blacks were shot by police in 2019, each a life that mattered. Recently, more African Americans were murdered in 24 hours in Chicago, many by other blacks. The Wall Street Journal reports that a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer. One man’s crime should not indict 800,000; this is injustice.
Public servants doing a tough job should not be berated; this is ingratitude. If saving black lives is the objective blaming police is the wrong priority; this is dishonest.
I was born, educated, work and raise my family in America. I do not believe one school, workplace or organization I have been a part of is racist. Rather, they reflect an awareness of America’s flawed history and a desire to make amends. I observe widespread, good faith assistance for minorities in need. The see race-oriented initiatives that discriminate to help, not harm, minorities. I asked friends if they knew anyone who disadvantaged others based on skin color. They could not name one. My perspective is relevant; if there was a racist “system” I should see it operating around me. Racism, like evil, will always exist. But in America it does not lurk around every corner, it cowers in holes.
This is my opinion–anyone can disagree with it. My right to state my opinion, however, should not be subject to debate. The weed of fear has never grown well in America but it is flourishing now. Woke McCarthyism smothers free expression. Replace “communism” with “racism” and the program is the same: accuse; silence; rule. An American afraid to speak the truth in the Home of the Brave is an alienated and pathetic creature.
We need a dialogue but an honest one. Martin Luther King’s dream of a race blind, level field where his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content their character” seems forgotten. I was a United States Marine; I have witnessed the power of King’s vision. The Marines are one of the most diverse organizations in the world but have only one color, green. “Light” and “Dark” Green Marines are subsumed by a responsibility to meet the highest group standards. But the dream of American unity is being replaced by a new and divisive racial determinism. Millions of Americans live together every day as citizens and human beings. Color is irrelevant to the greeting on the sidewalk. Only an insidious idea causes these passers bye to wonder if they are enemies.
Our leaders seem cowed and feckless when we need them. They watch the depredations of a mob and stumble over each other to pay its demands. They must rationalize cowardice as prudence. Fear is a bad counselor and their weakness obstructs progress. Problems of race are real; there is hard work to be done. But inane ideology, fear and violence are not answers. Honesty and America’s enduring traditions, justice before the law, equal opportunity and freedom, are the solutions.
America is the inheritance of courage and will only be sustained by courage. Drew Brees’ capitulation for respect of the flag was a sad warning. Grant, Roosevelt, Lincoln coming down, Washington splattered red. Striking metaphors but very real. Totalitarians know that erasing a nation’s history erases the nation.
McCarthy’s fall began with one brave man. If our elites will not stand up for our country Americans must do so, fighting the battle of ideas where they find it, gaining strength from each other. The bended knee is not an
American tradition. Speak the truth. This is our right but also our obligation.
Systemic racism is an emperor with no clothes. Unity only exists beyond racial ideology. America is imperfect and ever a work in progress but still the greatest nation on earth.