Yes, Every Citizen Should Care

That something is dreadfully wrong with our law enforcement system would be evident to any unbiased observer. Whether it’s sufficient to be just an observer begs the question.

Well known, is that an interested, informed, active citizenry is not only vital to the government that we want, but its efficiency and values be in harmony with the whole society as well.

It seems that we, citizens and taxpayers, to whom all institutions are rightfully accountable, have neglected our own duty for so long that practices inimical to our safety and basic human rights have become acceptable to most. So little is demanded that we have new developing norms. We are failing our leaders at all levels and surprised that we are at each other’s throats constantly on trivial matters of the day.

Our leaders are failing us in that they now seem entitled by birthright to the offices they hold; they deliberate insignificant matters tailored to their longevity in office. Matters of public business that need to be explained, have become opportunities for a gaggle standing rigidly behind an official who may or may not answer pertinent questions. Lucky if you are not insulted in the process…..or maybe you get a spokesperson whose craft is evasion. Written complaints or queries by individual taxpayers get to the waste basket faster that Lebron James can dunk. In other words, public servants have developed an impenetrable wall around their fiefdom. Our citizens make pleas before panels of officials who are present in body only. The policy decision long since made.

Pity us the ever narrowing choice of candidates; visual media that have devolved to clowns 24/7; strident antagonists propagating the same issues of 300 years. I despair that we might have already been bought, sold or traded. All is well as long as it’s the “other guy, the other neighbourhood” that is excluded and suffers.

I refer to law enforcement in the broadest sense, including overlapping governmental agencies that together are the foundation of our culture. Also, they are the most visible and likely to have greater consequential contact, directly affecting citizens.

My challenge it is, to continue this article without appearing to be unappreciative of the dangerous work officers engage in daily; proudly self-sacrificing. They too would like to get home to their families after a night’s work, just like the rest of us. This about delivering the finest quality services to even the least regarded in our society, for they too, are our citizens.

Too many Americans do not become fierce in defence of the Articles of the Constitution except the Second Amendment contained in the Bill of Rights. The truth is that law enforcement’s degree of respect for and adherence to the Constitution seems synchronised with the citizens’ zip codes-conspicuous wealth spectrum. All at the lower end of income spread are treated as less-than. Females fare the worst.

From my own experiences the cardinal sin could be as small as asking the reason one is stopped. How dare you? Once an officer approached me for a traffic sign violation. He was so hostile that our positions were reversed in terms of de-escalation techniques. I wisely maintained a lower tone; slow, deliberate motions and spoke only when asked. His stance and other body language led me to have reasonable consternation of being shot for a $35.00 incident. Probably would not even have made the news because we were both black. Also sickening is that unless the Department of Justice gets involved the shooting, no the murder, would have been found justified by local authorities, if at all anything more that a nominal inquiry is done. The tired explanation of “he tried to run me over with his vehicle” would suffice. But who cares? Not even the citizens least protected.

What decent people owning the responsibility of citizenship, would laze as civil authorities become increasingly militarised, hooded, unaccountable, violate the Fourth Amendment as casually as entering a chicken coop. Do unnecessary damage and violence in the suspects’ homes in a so-called war on drugs. All searches and seizures have become lawful as Attorneys General, Judges and Attorneys of the Bar fail us.

Some sip the appropriate wine, unconcerned that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other major Amendments under Article Fifteen of the United States Constitution are whittled away by the shortsighted and ethically insolvent elected officials. Some for AND against legislation they never even read. They sip, mistakenly thinking that all is well, as long as the “other party” suffers. All done at taxpayers expense. No complaints.

What vibrant electorate would be comfortable with two millions of its citizens in prison? Most for non-violent crimes. Many innocent, having had the misfortune of an unconscionable plea bargain.

What free society permits forgiveness for debt, protect corporate bankruptcy while convicted felons, having paid for their crimes remain forever unforgiven, are denied work and robbed of their right to vote….just because?

You know, perhaps we don’t wish to be decent or free.