I want to make something clear.
The police are not some alien species of human. They are not a different kind of American. The police are us.
They are working class men and women who struggle every day to manage their lives just like the rest of us. Most police forces around this country are diverse in their recruiting. The cop driving the police cruiser could be white, black, asian, male, female, or even transsexual.
The police are not an alien entity. They are us.
And they represent us far more than we would like to admit. They are influenced by hate rhetoric coming out of the White House, just like us. They are liable to abuse power, just the same as everyone else is. They get scared and feel pain and bleed when you cut them just the same as everyone else.
They have an impossible job, trying to enforce the law in a country that is breaking apart because of the hatred being dumped on it from its leadership. I would not want their job.
This is not a paean to the police. They have, in recent years, become scary people to a lot of us. You never know when the cop who pulls you over is going to be one of those who slipped through the psych tests. You never can tell if the policeman you deal with will be kind or abusive.
I’m a white, elderly women. I’ve got Sunday school teacher/church lady written all over me. I have been pulled over, harassed and threatened by a cop for no reason at all twice in my old life. One of my sons came home from work late at night and a cop confronted him in his own front yard and pulled a gun on him without provocation.
On the other hand, another one of my sons got pulled over for speeding late at night and the cop and he ended up having a long conversation about the life of a teen-aged boy. This policeman helped my son deal with his teen-aged angst.
I’ve had cops change my tires for me, offer to drive me home when I was out walking in the rain and once, take my hand and gently guide me to an ambulance.
When I was in office, I had to calm down an entire cop-hating district and stop abuse of citizens from a couple of bad police. It was the police themselves who helped me do this. They worked with me and responded to the situation and we got it fixed. By the end of things, people were baking cookies and taking them to the police station as thank yous.
We’ve got to have police. Our lives would be unlivable without them out there enforcing the law. But the law must apply to them, too.
When President Trump said he was the “law and order president” he meant specifically that he was going to turn the United States military against Americans. He followed through immediately afterwards by having troops tear gas peaceful protestors to clear the street so he could walk across it and hold up a Bible in a photo op.
When he said he was the “law and order president,” he meant his kind of law, enforced against people he decides to use it against. He certainly never said anything about enforcing the law against the armed protestors who shut down a legislative session in Michigan. If I remember correctly, he supported them.
He was not — in fact he never mentioned — talking about the need to enforce the law against the police themselves. That, at bottom, is what the protestors are asking for. They want the rule of law to apply to everybody, including the police.
Our police are us. They are a diverse group. They have a tough job and most of them try to do it well. But some few of them are bad to the bone. The power of the badge is far too great to allow someone who is a bad person to hold it.
Bad cops need to be removed from the force before they kill somebody. Good cops need to help us do that.