Christmas has come and gone and my wife and I are thankful to have enjoyed another Christmas with family and friends. We ate everything edible except the ham bone, carefully preserving it for the making of pea soup, and the figgy pudding. Who eats figgy pudding anyway? New Year’s Eve approaches which we will probably celebrate by retiring to bed early. It’s been my custom at the end of each year to suggest some New Year’s resolutions or thoughts to ponder for politicians, pundits and other opinion makers who may be too busy to formulate their own. I don’t really expect to change anyone’s deeply-held beliefs but there’s always hope so here goes.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could return to the old-fashioned practice of journalism where news was reported objectively, devoid of the reporters’ biases? Back in ancient times when I was taking journalism courses in college, we were taught the difference between news stories and opinion pieces, op-eds and features. Opinion was confined to the editorial and opinion pages. News stories rarely carried by-lines. They reported events factually and objectively. Today, they often read like op-eds. Many readers can’t tell if what they’re reading is based on fact or on opinion and many believe everything they read or hear on TV or social media.
It’s probably too much to expect, but let’s resolve at to try to return civility to political discourse. Can’t we just criticize the idea or the action without immediately going for the jugular and trying to destroy the person with whom we disagree?
Everyone I talk with is disgusted over the increase in violent crime, drug use, urban filth, shoplifting and smash-and-grab episodes that are plaguing many of our cities. They are equally upset over the catch-and-release and no-cash-bail policies which put the few perpetrators the police manage to apprehend right back on the street to resume their criminal activity.
While on the subject of crime, it’s past time to restore funding to police departments that were defunded and repurposed. Some of the reforms to policing methods represented extreme overreach by clueless politicians pandering to BLM activists demands. Even more important than refunding and restoring searches based on reasonable suspicion by well-trained law enforcement personnel is the need to restore respect for police who risk their lives daily to protect us. It’s a statistical fact that blacks have far more to fear from black criminals than from police officers of any color. The “talk” to children of any color should emphasize the need to show respect, stop talking back, keep your hands in sight and do exactly what you’re told. Period. The police officer is the adult in charge whether you like it or not. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.
The riots, looting, violence, vandalism and arson that followed the killing of George Floyd probably did more to damage racial relations than the actual killing of Mr. Floyd did. It did serious damage to the BLM cause which started with the noblest of intentions but lost public support when lawful demonstrations organized by well-intended amateurs spiraled out of control and descended into violence and criminal activity. Until Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of a colorblind society is achieved wherein all people are judged, not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character there will be a racial relations problem in America. The notion that blacks cannot succeed and compete against members of any race in America without special assistance from whites is not only insulting to blacks but is demonstrably wrong, given the number of blacks in positions of power. Policies that promote victimhood do them a great injustice and trivialize what they accomplished on their own.
Those who seek to become more involved in civic affairs and worthy causes should resolve to consider carefully how best to spend their time and energy. There is a huge difference in productivity and efficacy between talking and marching in support of a cause and actually doing something constructive to achieve desired results. Demonstrating, shouting clever slogans and interrupting traffic may make you feel good about exercising your rights but is highly overrated in terms of gaining support or sympathy. You won’t win support for your cause by intimidating or inconveniencing people. A letter to an appropriate official or representative or volunteering to help people who need it will usually achieve more than a day spent marching and chanting slogans.
Finally, it’s past time to restore some old-fashioned patriotism throughout society and especially in schools. No nation is without faults and we’ve had ours. Overall, though, the United States of America has been a tremendous force for good. It’s hard to imagine what the world would be like today if there hadn’t been a USA. And imperfect as it might be, it is still the preferred destination for all the world’s huddled masses who willingly risk their lives just trying to get to this land of opportunity. In spite of its faults, it’s still the greatest nation on earth and it’s our homeland.
Happy New Year and God bless America.