June 28, 2020

On the Wrong Side of History

Some ideas belong in the trash

Staying on the Titanic but determined to create as many bubbles as possible, all the way down.

Sometimes this is the feeling I get as I read the newspaper, check online sources, or just listen to some people talk. It is as if there are a bunch of folks, crowded together on the upper deck of that failed ship, denying reality as long as possible and then shouting defiance as the waves close over their heads, sending a last blast of bubbles as the only reminder of their presence.

Being on the wrong side of history is not difficult. Most of us have been so at one time or another. We thought Beta tapes were the way to go. Apple will never compete with Windows. No one needs a phone small enough for a pocket. The Beatles won't sell many records. 

Those are the normal human guesses about the direction of history or at least the small parts that intrude into our life. But, I have been thinking about a much more consequential misreading of history. This is the one that attempts to take society back, back to what we misremember as a gentler, more predictable time. This is the history that wraps itself in a gauzy sheen of forgetfulness, of never really noticing what was wrong. The real problem comes when this warped recall of the way things were is used to justify some horrible behavior now.

I suggest we are seeing the consequences of this attempt to rewrite, or "clean up" parts of our history. Take the controversies over various statues or flags, for example. The Confederacy was an attempt to not only break apart the union of states but to enshrine slavery as a permanent part of the culture. One must be pretty obtuse to not understand the Confederate symbols, flags, and statues are symbols of a hateful system built on the misery of other humans. To claim it is part of someone's heritage isn't something to be celebrated or perpetuated, it is something to discard in the trash heap of bad ideas. 

In a hard-to-miss insult, U.S. military installations are named after Confederate Generals, men whose purpose was to defeat the U.S. military. What possible sense does it make to name a place after someone who wanted everyone wearing that uniform to die? Why would the current president fight so hard to keep these names? The answer is politically obvious.

There is a statue (just removed) of Teddy Roosevelt in the lobby of a New York City museum. Our 26th president is astride a horse, while a black man and native American (Indian at that time) are walking alongside the horse. The message of white superiority, of the horror of Manifest Destinty upon those who were here well before us,  of the conquering hero, is unmistakable. 

Of course, the protests and focus on racism continue. After 155 years, we continue to find ourselves confronting those who hate, oppress, denigrate, or simply ignore the concept that the Constitution makes rather clear: all men are created equal. And, yes, I haven't overlooked the irony of the "all men" phrasing that was a product of a male-dominated culture that kept women from full rights until almost 100 years ago. Equal pay? Sexism? Still a fight that continues today.

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, as an older white male I can't possibly understand the fear and intimidation that those with different skin color than mine endure every single day. Black children must be taught how to react when stopped by a policeman, react in ways that would never be part of a similar set of instructions for white kids. Being ignored, attacked, or otherwise made to feel less than human? Part of their life.

Yet, I do believe that this time, the obliviousness of too many of us is changing. In a nation that claims to be Christian, why has it taken this long to understand that Jesus was a dark-skinned man, likely Arab, and not a white man? That he meant it when he said to love your neighbor, all your neighbors, not just the ones that look and think like you. If that wasn't his message, then he is not speaking to contemporary white America.

God demands the poor and marginalized people of any society deserve our full support, love, and help. Proclaiming oneself to be Christian yet treating blacks as inferior, is pretty damning evidence that you have missed the point.

Those who continue to insist it is their "right" to wave a flag of hate, to want to hold down a race of human beings who are a different color and to insist that things were better in the "good old days"  are on the wrong side of history. If you want us to go back to when everyone knew the rules, stayed in their place, and accepted things the way they were, your days are past.

But, apparently, you are not going down without a last blast of bubbles.

45 comments:

  1. Wow, what a wonderful way to start my day. To understand what these days are about. Thanks for the eloquent words Bob. But, yeah I usually have a but, you can't throw away the baby with the bath water. Should we condemn and throw away the Declaration of Independence because the author was a slave owner? That is the question I wrestle with on the above topic. Does a "bad" discount all the "good"?

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    1. That's an excellent point. I think a key problem is that we tend to think in binary terms about people: we regard them as either good or bad rather than as complex people in whom good characteristics didn't necessarily preclude bad. And vice versa.

      Perhaps the best example if this is Winston Churchill. He was a great wartime statesman whose contribution to the defeat of fascism can't be understated. He was also a miserably poor Prime Minister in terms of domestic policy and was responsible for some unspeakable atrocities throughout the British Empire. Instead of seeing him as a combination of good and bad, he is viewed as a hero who saved his country or a villain who starved 3 million Bengalis.

      History needs to be taught with greater nuance.

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    2. The economic foundation at the beginning of the country was based, in part, on slavery. Even so, the statement that all men are created equal was included; the difference between then and now is how we define "all men." Men of all color and women are now how those two original words are interpreted. Just like the Constitution is constantly reinterpreted by the people who are sitting on the Supreme Court, words and meanings evolve in any document.

      Obviously, throwing out the Declaration is not the point. It is the how the thoughts included have evolved. With what we believe that document means today, there can be no defense of the racism and sexism that existed almost 250 years ago.

      Heloise's point is well taken. In many aspects of his life Churchill was no role model. But, he understood what the country needed at a particular time in history and rose to that occasion. History has conveniently forgotten his failings and only focuses on his wartime performance. LIke all of us, he was a man of many parts. History, though, tends to take the one aspect that most fits a narrative and leaves the rest in the dust.

      Another example: George Washington owned 123 slaves. Yet, he disagreed with the practice and spoke out against it in his later years. He dictated that his slaves be freed upon his death. At the same time he was the singular figure who guided America through its birth and first tentative steps. Did he have good and bad attributes? Yes. Was his presence essential to our founding? Yes.

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  2. The debate here about the removal of statues is intriguing and as one commentator said the media attention concerning the toppling of one, taught more people about British involvement in the African slave trade than any history lesson ever did. However, I do believe it’s time to move on and concentrate on the here and now as well as the future. Why do we still have racism or indeed any form of discrimination and what about modern slavery, endemic across the globe?

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    1. Yes, statues are toppling in Britain, too. Such actions bring to light parts of history that many would rather forget.

      To your key point: I personally believe Confederate statues should not be publicly displayed. They salute someone bent on our country's dissolution. But, removing them should not be accomplished by mob rule. An orderly process to outline the reasons why a statue is no longer acceptable and then a decision if it should be relocated to say, a Civil War museum where it can represent a part of history. The Civil War happened. Us pretending it didn't is not helpful.

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  3. Great post. It’ll be interesting to see if you get any opposing comments.
    As for statues...they all belong in a museum where the true history can be taught to future generations and not glorified by the South. In Germany, you don’t see statues or names of institutions of Hitler, Gobbles or Himmler, but you can certainly learn about the horror of Nazi Germany at Auschwitz and other places and it’s not sugar coated.

    Racism is a huge problem here and many Christians not following the teachings of Jesus is, as well. In fact those conservative Christians would consider Jesus a liberal and a bleeding heart today.

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    1. I was thinking about your point as I typed the response to the comment just above you. Destroying all Confederate statues and records of the war would be akin to Germany leveling all sites of Nazi concentration camps. We should not be erasing the troubling part of our history, but admitting to them and displaying them in the proper context.

      Not only Confederate statues, but sites of Indian massacres, Japanese internment camps during World War II in California...these are all part of our history. To not recognize them as part of who we were makes it much more difficult to see the errors, admit to the mistakes, and make changes in the future.

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    2. Very thoughtful analogy to Nazis in Mary's comment and your response. This made it much more clear to me.

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  4. I have no problem with Democrats taking down the statues (and paintings) that they put up. I think Lee's statues all over the north and south need to go. Southern Democrats pushed the military into naming the southern bases after "their generals". Time to own it and move forward. I think the latest poll of military members is well over 90% of the current members feel the base names need to be changed. Actually, many have pushed for it for years, with base history of naming not even taught for the last 40 years.
    I love that Princeton will finally take off the name of the Wilson institute. A Democrat who was also a member of the Klan needs to go- no matter what they felt he added to world peace (which I also disagree with).
    My largest sadness is having white people shouting and harassing black and hispanic cops as they try to protect their communities. The white elite protesters/activists are not ruining their communities- but the struggling ones. Maybe they could put their energy into making home ownership a reality for all of the ghetto areas in the pre civil war states. I drove through Baltimore on Thursday- right next to John Hopkins- and the decay is terrible. But there are signs in the windows for sale of these houses. Don't worry, white people will sweep in, buy things on a dime and turn things around moving out the poor.
    Hummmm...
    The real issues are helping people to move up instead of staying in poverty. The end of racism will come with the overcoming of poverty. Just my humble opinion.

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    1. You have mentioned the Democratic connection in previous comments on other posts. I will restate the fact the the "Democratic" party of today is the polar opposite of the party with the same name in the 1800s and early 1900s, the one you say put up the statues. That Democratic party evolved into today's Republican party. Implying there is some link between then and now just because the name is the same is misleading.

      Thank you for the statistics on the military's interest in changing base names. I haven't seen figures that high but I do understand that changing base names has strong support.

      I just read about the removal of Woodrow Wilson's name. His racist past, including aggressively promoting segregation within the federal government has become common knowledge.

      Harassing police is not the way to go. Changing laws and developing different ways of having public safety enforced and promoted will be the ultimate solution. Should cops who use excess force or profile blacks or other minorities be punished? Of course. But, to make it impossible for the vast majority of good policemen and women to enforce the laws as written, will not end well.

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    2. I continually refer to the party that put up the statues- many in the 1950's (including Ms Pelosi's father in Baltimore) . Some Democrats joined the Republicans in the 1960's (not the early 1900's) when they did not get their way. They did not get their way with Republicans either.
      They still stayed strong in their own party. The Democrats hold tightly to the Mid Atlantic and large cities that are still very racist and divisive. They need to acknowledge their past. It is their past. Not the Republican past. Acknowledgement is the first step in recovery. :)

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    3. Nonsense. Read a history book if you wish to understand the history of the Democratic Party. Don;t make shit up. We have Trump for that.

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  5. I believe the statues all belong in a museum and if the president would take this stand then I rather doubt they'd be getting vandalized now. The right side of history would be him leading a national movement to get the statues off public property and into more suitable homes. That's not going to happen and some really great pieces of Art will and are getting destroyed. It's way past time to acknowledge their original purpose was not to honor confederate generals so much as they were made and placed to intimidate blacks during the Jim Crow era.

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    1. Excellent points, Jean. I hadn't thought about the reasons behind the statues except as memorials for fallen war figures. As you note, with the current president statue movement is not likely to happen in any logical way. Tearing them down, however, is not the answer. That will just lead to retaliation of symbols or statues on the other side of the divide.

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  6. Interesting read, Bob. And I never stopped to consider that Jesus was probably non-white. Lots of what you said and what the above comments have said is making more sense to me know. I was infuriated at the rioting and toppling of statues. Probably not the "best" way to get attention, but it has awakened many to the message...much to ponder for this mid-70's sheltered white woman...

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    1. I used to wonder why Jesus looked like a California surfer dude. Considering where he was born, and to whom, that didn't make any sense. I understand the idea of making his look more appealing to another culture.

      But, what happens to missionaries attempting to spread Christianity in the Middle East? Do they use an image more true to reality and more appealing to their target audience?

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  7. The statues are a challenging problem--and I am conflicted about it. To keep or destroy? Another option is to leave them standing, but with a plaque or display that reveals the unvarnished truth about those depicted. This would replace "honored" with education. I would like future generations to know what these people did--especially to other races. I think that teaching an honest, myth-free history is the ultimate answer. If you study history seriously, you find that many figures that made vital contributions in politics, science, medicine and the arts, etc., had a dark side. We somehow have to find a way to honor the positive contributions while condemning the transgressions. No easy task. I find the same struggle when considering the music of Michael Jackson. What to do?

    I got a chuckle out of your observation regarding the likely skin color of Jesus. One of the many instances of me getting kicked out of my Sunday school class was my question to my teacher as to why in all of the pictures of Jesus does he look like a Scandinavian? That observation was not warmly received.

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    1. Regarding the appearance of Jesus, see my response to the reader above. Importantly, I don't think his portrayal is central to who he was and what he preached, but his white guy, long haired look does raise questions in young minds.

      I agree about the statues. Either make them educational instead of something to be worshipped, or move them into museum/teaching environments. The fact that Mississippi is giving serious thought to changing their state flag I find remarkable and an encouraging sign of change.

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  8. Bob, I love your way with words, and of course I agree with your observations about the persistent evil of racism, but why do you think these statue teardowns shift so quickly from clearly objectionable targets to representations of U.S. Grant, St. Junipero Serra, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington? It strikes me that the larger goal is the erasure of Western history due to its original sin of colonialism, of which conquest and slavery are a part. If everything in our past is irredeemably tainted, then it must be thrown out (the argument goes) and replaced with a clean-slate, utopian order in which not only behavior but also thinking is "correct." The Taliban destroyed thousands of Buddhist sculptures because they were "un-Islamic." Mao's Red Guards conducted "struggle sessions" that demanded apology, humiliation, and submission. History is not kind to these kinds of movements, in which the end justify the means.

    Of course, we're not at that point here, but I'm making the slippery-slope (or maybe the baby-bathwater or careful-what-you-wish-for!) argument. Where does this stop? If Washington and Jefferson can be dismissed as immoral slaveholders, then why retain any respect for the Constitution they authored? Why not draft a new one that conforms to our enlightened understanding of ineradicable white racism and the unquestioned moral superiority of BIPOC? (That's the latest acronym: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. I'm sure this will be extended soon to include an assortment of gender identifications.) True equality, mutual respect, and harmony don't seem to be the goals here as much as payback and restitution for centuries of oppression. I find it hard to see a happy ending in a world where your "social status" (to use the Chinese term of art) depends on your self-declared identify, your level of melanin, and most of all, your enthusiastic conformity with approved opinions. The end result will be a far more segregated, caste-like society.

    Finally, I'd take these protests more seriously if they were about constructive steps we all could take. If 100% of the responsibility for black poverty, incarceration rates, dysfunctional families, and unemployment is white racism, then blacks need do nothing more than dismantle the white superstructure and re-educate white thinking, and poof -- all these problems vanish. Really? To me, there's enough evidence in places like Baltimore, where whites have held no political or administrative influence for many decades, that the absence of white influence is no magic panacea. As long as black leaders place the onus solely on whites and ask nothing of their constituents beyond righteous resentment, they are ironically reinforcing and perpetuating black self-image as helpless victim without agency or choice.

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    1. I believe the teardown of statues of Grant or Washington is happening due to the dynamics of mob thinking, and as you note, maybe a reflective lashing out at any symbol of authority. The destruction of any statues is not a long term answer to the problem or helping to enhance the underlying message that is important to advance. Mr. Trump's suggestion of 10 years in prison isn't particularly helpful, either.

      Your final point is a very important one. Obviously, racism has been systemic in this country since day one. We white people have a lot to admit to and work for change. But, if that evolution in mindset is one way only, there will be no lasting solution.

      The black communities often suffer from several interconnected problems: economic poverty, poorer educational systems, lack of representation in government, though Baltimore is an excellent argument against that position in some cases, and an oppressive policing system.

      But, it takes two to tango. I understand the rage and anger that is the current focus of the black communities. At some point that will have to be replaced by a willingness to do what is required to change the system without the destruction. Being a victim can only get someone so far.

      If whites and blacks honestly work together on the problems that exist, we will all move forward. Will this be quick or easy? Nope. Is it necessary for the future of this country? Yes.

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  9. I find it ironic that so many on the winning side insist on the opposition behaving according to their standards. Changes in history are messy and frequently swing too far in the opposite direction. We who have benefitted for hundreds of years from the status quo may get our noses a little bent out of shape by the actions of the subjugated. Our inconvenience pales in comparison to what was inflicted on generations of oppressed.
    I come from a deeply southern family. Those civil war statues were erected to reinforce the fact that whites were firmly in control. The biggest mistake the north made was ending the occupation of the south too soon. They should have stayed for 100 years.

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    1. Thank you, Fred, for your perspective on the statues from a guy with southern roots. My reading of U.S. history makes it pretty clear that Reconstruction was a disaster and helped set up many of the problems we are still paying for today.

      I think about things like the tearing down of the Berlin wall. Sometimes a dramatic, messy, and dangerous stage must occur to get people's attention and to trigger real change.

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    2. Fred, many blacks have told me that racism in the North has been as extensive (though less overt) as in the South, so I'm not sure that an extended Reconstruction would have solved anything. Did the Carpetbaggers earn their reputation, or is that a Southern myth?

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    3. Lydgate, Reconstruction consisted of extensive corruption and abuse. I don't think there is anything more overt than a lynching. African Americans had made some progress in getting elected to public office and setting up thriving businesses in numerous locations. Once Reconstruction ended the period of rolling back any black progress began. Jim Crow laws were used to effectively reinstitute portions of slavery. If I were black taking a chance on northern racism would have been much preferred over the guaranteed treatment in the south.
      The south actively tried to end the United States of America, an act of treason, and continue to enslave an entire segment of society. As history proved as soon as the north left they went back to their old ways.

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  10. Mark me down as conflicted. Those historical figures were racist. They did bad things. Even presidents like Grant and Roosevelt and Wilson. And yet I question the notion of judging historical figures by current standards rather than the standards of their own time, because by that standard, everyone is guilty! And then there's the niggling thought that I can't get out of the back of my mind: Judge not lest ye be judged.

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    1. Your point is quite valid, Tom, but I disagree as it applies to Confederate statues. Those men were venerated because of their military attempts to uphold slavery. The other parts of their lives might been quite exemplary. But, the statues only glorify one portion of their lives. I don't believe that part deserves to continue to be displayed, just like certain books or movies are offensive today even though, by the standards of their time, they were not.

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    2. We don't ban the books, even if they are Lost Cause propaganda. But it's true we don't hold them up as accurate histories either. A couple of people offered a solution: take the Confederate statues off their pedestals and send them off to a museum. But Grant, Roosevelt, Wilson? I don't think so. Also, I like to build, not tear down and so to to me the more important thing is to build more statues, and name streets and airports and public buildings after famous African Americans of history -- and more Latino, Native and women as well.

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  11. Bravo, very well said. Agree 100%. Evangelical Christians who are most visible and vocal supporters and enablers of the most racist and xenophobic President in generations will be held to account by the God whom they THINK holds them higher or loves them more than all other of his people. Do they ever have a surprise coming.

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  12. Thank you. This is a very important post and raises so many vital questions that should be on our minds and in our discussions everywhere. I agree with others who commented that there are no easy answers and likely some errors will be made in attempting to erase the worst offenders.

    But at least it is a sign that we are more aware than ever that there is a problem AND that we are all (especially us Anglos) in how it has played out and victimized the blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc. And let's NEVER forget that history is largely written by the conquerors and almost never considers the pain and damage it caused in doing so.

    Doing our best to learn and teach the consequences of all our history is as important as removing statues that clearly were used to intimidate blacks. Thank you again for this important post. ~Kathy @ SMART Living 365

    P.S. In case everyone hasn't seen it... the documentary "13th" is VERY educational.

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    1. You highlight something vital to understand: that history is written by the conquerors. When I was taught American History I know the treatment and extermination of the native people who were here long before us was never truly portrayed as more than a foregone conclusion because of manifest destiny. Somehow our God supported the push to kill hundreds of thousands of "savages" and I was never prompted to question that.

      It is important we don't "whitewash" history, but relate it factually, with both the good and the bad examined. Otherwise, how do we ever learn and stop making the same mistakes?

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  13. Yay, Bob, for raising challenging issues in a way that invites conversation rather than squelching it. Have you seen any of the "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man" videos? I'm asking because in the same way as your post, these videos invite us to step to the edge of our comfort zone, and even a bit beyond, to think about things in a broader way, and most of all to listen to those most affected by these issues.

    I remember a conversation I had decades ago with my nephew who went to school in Mississippi, and could not understand why having a Confederate flag sticker on his car was insensitive. These conversations are essential if we are to confront our past. (By the way, interesting that we go to great lengths to avoid examining our past while expecting places like Germany to own theirs -- just sayin')

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    1. I have not seen that series but will look for it.

      I found it fascinating and very encouraging that Mississippi has just voted to remove the Confederate symbol from their flag. This has been an area of hot debate for decades. But, people on both sides of the aisle and the Republican governor are fully behind it now. Mississippi will be the last state to remove any trace of the flag.

      As an aside I received an email today from a reader who is dropping his email subscription because of the non-retirement topics I have been writing about over the past few months. He is upset that the blog is no longer focused on strictly retirement topics.

      While I am sorry to see him go, I apologize for none of the changes. This blog and importantly, the readers, are embracing a broader set of topics with tremendous comments and thoughtful discussion. I have pure retirement topics the majority of the time, but being retired doesn't mean pulling back from the world and its problems. Actually, it makes us more likely to speak out. Therefore, this type of post is very much a retirement topic.

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    2. I find your blog more well rounded and interesting now. Just because we are retired, doesn’t mean we have checked our thinking brain at the front door.

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    3. Thanks, Mary. It is certainly more interesting on my part to address a wider variety of subjects.

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    4. Agree, you go Bob. If not now, then never.

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  14. It's not just black children that need to be taught how to deal with police. This incident took place just 3 years ago in the very same city that George Floyd lost his life.

    And, regardless of race, God help anyone on the receiving end of a "wellness check" by police these days.

    Or perhaps you're a Polish visitor in a foreign airport, a little confused and unable to communicate with the locals. Don't worry. A swarm of police officers will be along shortly to kill you.

    Regardless of the colour of our skin, we should all consider the police to be armed and dangerous and treat our encounters with them accordingly. To do otherwise, is to roll the dice with your life.

    Red and Yellow, Black or White, they are precious in His sight is not necessarily the motto of the boys in blue. There are incompetents in every line of work, and, unfortunately, they don't come with labels.

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    1. While I am not willing to paint all police with the same brush, there has been a militarization of many police forces, a hesitancy to hold bad cops responsible, and an attitude of don't be too gentle with the bad guys coming from the White House. That has made it seem OK for bad actors in police forces to break the laws they are sworn to uphold. In too many cases they have gotten away with it.

      You are right: not just black people are the victims in these situations. But, blacks make up a much higher percentage of arrests and harassments than their percentage of the population would justify. It is hard to not believe they are being targeted.

      Yes, hold the rouge police officers accountable to the full extent of the law. But, society without some way of upholding the law and getting criminals off the streets will degenerate into anarchy very quickly. We need a reboot of what police are meant to do and how they do their jobs. There are incompetents in every line of work. How true. But in very few cases, people unsuited for a job can kill others.

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  15. I'm opposed to the destruction of statues, even the ones put in the towns square in the 60s. I do believe they need to be moved. To those who are conflicted, if you want to learn about the civil war, or even slavery, go to a museum, or a cemetery or a battlefield. Gettysburg has monuments to Lee, and to every single military division that fought there, northern or southern. No one is talking about destroying those memorials, nor should be be, As to presidents, I remain conflicted on many. Jackson, not at all. the man was a half way decent general, a lousy president and sins are numerous. As for all those Presidents who came from the south and also held slaves, I dunno. I do know that all those middle aged white guys didn't give a damn for people of color or women in general (beyond perhaps their personal households). But Jefferson was the ultiate two faced guy, not wanting slavery in the constitution or mentioned in the declaration and yet he both kept slaves and his mistress in a secret room. Jannette, I am sorry to say is way off base on this one. While there are a few Democrats who were involved in statues in the 60s that heritiage is almost completely of the Reublicans, no matter where they were. Including my home state of Virgina. It is most definitely Republican history in the extreme. As has been said and resaid, the parties have pretty much completely morphed into each other since the civil war. I've spent a total of thirty yers living in the DC area and sububs, the epi center of muuch of the "northern South". AS to the police issue, I am probably more to the left of many. I am not in support of defunding, mainly because it is the minority commmunities who suffer most without the police. Low income communitie have a higher rate of crime and need the police for protection-no one wants to defund the police in chicago, they just want them to do a better job. I do think we need to educating police departments more, tke miitary weapons out of their hands and somehow get past the place where every good cop is willing to protect a bad cop just because they are brothers. And I think one of the ways to do that is to go back to community policing including "beat walking". But people also need to look beyond the police as they elect judges and district attorneys and the like, because these are the people not prosecuting police men and women, refusing to charge individuals for in some case obvious crimes. And what really get's me is that after these crimes ar enot charged, many families get largge payments from cities and states. You would think they would be more agressive in accountability on that front if nothing else.

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    1. Absolutely, there is no positive benefit of destroying statues that can become teaching moments when displayed in the proper location. General Lee at Gettysburg is completely appropriate; he fought there so that is historical. And, yes, Jefferson, like others, had both a political and personal agenda that were not compatible.

      The "defunding" argument reminds me of "global warming." Both terms generate strong reactions. Relocation of police funding and enhanced one-to-one interaction in neighborhoods is less draconian-sounding, but is really what most people mean by defunding.

      Likewise, say climate change and those who hold up a snowball to mock the global warming term find their position makes much less sense. Words have impact and consequences. Too often in the heat of the moment we are less precise than we should be.

      You make some tremendous ;points in your comment, Barb. I appreciate the time you took to think about it and type out your perspectives.

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  16. I am in my mid eighties, and I have seen racial discrimination become much less in my lifetime. It has become politically correct to not be intolerant which was just the opposite in my youth. I am sure there are still many pockets of racism of which I'm unaware. Hopefully, this latest wave of resistance will clear up the vestiges of the problem.

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    1. Where I have lived during my life I have been shielded from seeing much overt racism. I am certainly aware it exists, but the events of the last several weeks have made it impossible for me to be sheltered from its damage on people any longer. There is no way for me to claim it isn't a matter of critical importance to all of us, regardless of skin color.

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  17. A well-written and heartfelt article, Bob. I agree with the points you have made. My hope is that this current intense focus on racism and intolerance is not just another swing of the pendulum, but a moment that instigates real change.

    Jude

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    1. In a perverse way, the president's constantly stoking the fire on this issue is having the opposite effect he intends. It is keeping people focused on real change and not allowing the issue to retreat into the background yet again.

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