OMG! This is so simple. Why do we make it so hard? What is happening in our country between our police officers and our citizenry is a relationship that has gone sour. Why? Because it’s mostly about “them” versus “us.”
Who occupies the space within those letters in T-H-E-M and U-S? We all do. When in a bad relationship, find a way to make it work before it is destroyed, or worse — it destroys you.
It’s time for an American reality check—one that will only work if we commit ourselves to understanding each others' fears.
Race, guns and police relations are destroying the communal fabric of America. And only with the help of responsible leaders, a responsible media and smart public servants can we repair this problem.
But even there we are lacking. Our public servants – generally speaking – are dolts! We have few if any leaders willing to talk in consensus-building terms, because they’re too busy trying to curry favor with their ideological bases. As for our media? You can say it's corporate mush filled with talking heads who are generally nothing like the rest of us.
Side note here: When I say members of our media are not like the rest of us, I’m not talking about gay or straight, nationality, skin color or gender. What I am referring to is experiential diversity.
As I sit here watching my colleagues on cable news describe the latest rash of shootings by police and against police on the "streets" of America, I sense the people talking to me know nothing about those "streets." To those of us who really did grow up there, whether we hail from the barrio, the hood or the other side of the tracks, the problem is quite clear. It’s about fear.
Too many Americans fear the police. And too many police officers fear Americans. It is a crisis of trust spiraling downward — it's that simple. This is not a criticism aimed at either group, nor should it be taken that way. It doesn’t make police bad and it doesn’t make citizens who fear them bad. What it makes them is afraid and distrusting.
We are in a relationship that has gone bad — one that is dysfunctional and nearing irreconcilability. Its only salvation is dialogue. I mean a guttural, street level, confrontational intervention that we all need to take part in.
It’s not about blame. It’s not about finger-pointing. It’s not about taking sides, right versus left or white versus black. It’s about a deep heart-to-heart we all need to have with each other to save something we care about.
It’s time for an American reality check — one that will only work if we commit ourselves to understanding each other’s fears.