We are in a new era. We have “evolved” as a people. We have started to point out what is offensive and racist in each and every instance of everyday life. We used to call this political correctness, but we are far from this reality. There is only politics and very little correctness.
As I have started to write, I am keenly aware that many will disagree with what I am saying. I invite this. This is healthy debate and gives everyone perspective. What I am asking is that you not be offended. Freedom of speech is the foundation of our First Amendment and is critical to our understanding of one another. It is not, I will argue, a license to be offended and lash out! I am not writing to offend you. I am writing to be the voice of the other side.
The voice of the officers has been left mostly out of the discussions. There are many reasons for this. First, they are not usually on social media. It has been historically frowned upon in most departments. Second, they are not welcome at the table. Their perspective is no longer valid and nobody is willing to HEAR what they have to say. These crowds of protesters and those sitting behind their keyboards are quite comfortable debating with those they agree with, but the minute you have a different perspective, they attempt to silence you. They are offended easily and refuse to debate.
The First Amendment was not written to protect your fragile feelings. It was designed to harbor free thought. The way I see it you have two choices if you do not like something: ignore it or say something back. But, if you are unable to do either of these two things, being offended is not a valid third option.
I recently have been involved in many direct conversations with people who differ greatly from my perspective. I listen, digest and learn from what is said. My ultimate goal is to add the officers’ voice to this conversation. They are not able to speak for themselves. It is just reality at this point. Many say that this is not acceptable, but until the hate and rage leave from these very conversations and protests they will not be heard.
I have had many conversations as a teacher of students who struggle with emotions and behaviors. I talk to students, parents and teachers. I always remind everyone in this equation that until behaviors are under control that they are not available to even hear you. This is just reality. It is. There is no reasoning, listening or considering in these instances. This applies to what is also happening today.
So here is what I am proposing. I am asking that people stop being offended. This will never get us to where we need to be. We need to get ourselves calm, open our minds and discuss like adults. Trying to erase history instead of learning from it, removing all images of the police, demonizing ALL police officers and their perspectives, and being “the word police”, only furthers this divide. As far as I can see, my fair people, this is all we have seemed to accomplish so far. This is shameful and I like to believe we are better than this. Let’s close this divide.
To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.
Think about this for a while. I challenge you as I challenge myself. If we all want something better, then we must never allow ourselves to be offended and work towards what is right for EVERYONE.