First things first: I have major respect for the men and women of law enforcement. Putting your life on the line day after day to ensure the safety of others is an incredibly noble pursuit, and one that often goes unacknowledged.
That said, like all of us, officers make mistakes, and discussing this fact openly shouldn’t make you feel like you’re choosing sides in a culture war.
Similar to Mr. Kottke, I was unexpectedly affected by this piece about the American flag itself beginning to stir up negative emotions these days, and I feel the same sense of unease creep over me when I come across an out-of-context, conversation-killing “Thin Blue Line”-style meme.
I’ve found through personal experience that you’re better off tossing a Molotov cocktail into your Facebook comments than expressing even an inkling of admiration for Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful method of protest, and the resulting ugliness really made me stop and wonder: how did we get to this point?
How did fingers-in-the-ears law enforcement hagiography become a primary tool in the conservative (and/or evangelical) toolbox?
How did respectfully questioning certain police actions become an act of subversion?
Why have we lost any semblance of compassion and willingness to find middle ground? Admitting mistakes and working to get better is a sign of strength, not weakness.
The current climate is incredibly disheartening, but here’s hoping that we’re just in the hard middle part of a painful process that results in far fewer memes and far more difficult (but essential) conversations.