I’ve been paying attention to the growing animosity between the police and their sympathizers and the growing number of frustrated citizens feeling a distance between the general populace and those sworn to serve and protect. It is harrowing to see the distrust on both sides and to see damning evidence to support both as well.
My husband and I were watching a show the other day set in the sixties where racial tension was high, as was a wide divide between people increasingly more militant and a movement of peace-loving yet anti-police activism.
It looked a little familiar.
It seems to me that (due to numerous cause and effect situations on both sides) the view of the public toward the police has, for many, turned from the protector of the people, to cold enforcers of the law.
Take this video (Sesame Street’s We’ll Watch Out For You) of what I grew up thinking of the police, versus what we see now when our kids google Cops, Police, etc. See the difference?
There used to be Beat cops. Then they moved to cars and now tanks. There is a visual and ethical separation between the populace and the Police force and it is driving wedges hard into that relationship that is such a huge part of our society. We need laws to prevent anarchy. Laws need to be enforced, but if the people are the enemy of the police, and police are the enemy of the people, we are left with anarchy anyway. No one wins.
When I read debates involving these wedges, I see officers or their supporters arguing that if people were more respectful, if there were less bad guys, if this next generation of kids weren’t entitled brats, etc… there would be no need for violence toward the populace. I see people insisting that officers are bullies with power that isn’t questioned. That the people feel they can’t ask why they are being detained, questioned, etc. because they are accused of resisting arrest and that is reason to be shot now.
I saw a video today talking about how the unrest involving officers would lead to them not protecting the people… it was by an officer.
There are many online people insisting that if you are respectful, sit down, shut up and fall in line, all will be well… but we see plenty of videos where people do this and still have a problem. Adversely there are still people who provoke the police, attack them and try to kill officers doing their jobs correctly. It is that cause and effect cycle I referred to before.
There was a time when Police Officers were the people. Each one, was one of us who had signed up to put their life on the line to serve and protect. We protected them as much as they did us. That was a lot more Sesame Street and less 1963 Harlem Riots. There was a time when people waved to an officer and supported them. When we felt telling our kids to go to the police for help was not only right, but the best option. Now? Not so much.
So what is the solution? How do we break the cycle? Are we going to live through another 1960s decade of war and peace mongers? What do you think?