Introspection Society and Culture

Why can’t we acknowledge both?

June 22, 2020

Why can’t we acknowledge that a broken criminal justice system does a disservice to the thousands of good cops, as well as the millions of good Black Americans?

Why can’t we acknowledge that this broken system has created an environment that allows bad cops and criminals of all races to thrive?

Why is it so hard to admit that these institutions that were created by humans – inherently flawed, inherently sinners – might need to be improved?

What is so bad about wanting things to be better?

Why can’t we love and respect the work of our Founders, and the sacrifices of those who fought in the Revolutionary War for all of our freedoms, while still acknowledging that they too were flawed human beings?

Why can’t we celebrate the victories of our Founders while also admitting that there are large parts of our American history that we didn’t learn in school?

Who among us, Black or White, knew until very recently about the burning of an entire thriving Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921?

Why did I learn about the 1,500 people who died on the Titanic, but not the total destruction of Black communities in the years after Reconstruction?

Why is it a betrayal of God and Country to wonder why we didn’t learn that, and to be curious about more such stories?

Why does learning about and celebrating the accomplishments of Black people diminish the already celebrated accomplishments of Whites?

Why does learning that White people have made grave mistakes offend so many people?

Why do so many people believe the First and Second Amendments are mutually exclusive?

Why can’t I honor our First Amendment* rights of religious freedom, free speech and press, and protest and petition, while also honoring our Second Amendment** right to keep and bear arms?***

Why can’t I respect both our Second Amendment** right to a well-regulated Militia, as well as Black Americans’ discomfort with armed White men?

I’m not asking to be argumentative. I’m genuinely curious.

It does not make me feel less-than to acknowledge that people I didn’t know and don’t agree with made horrible choices.

I’m simply trying to understand why it is unpatriotic to learn more about the history of my own country than I knew before.

Are you afraid it will make me hate America?

Please give me more credit than that.

To hate America is to hate myself, my children, my husband, my friends, my education, my career-long study of the Constitution of the United States.

I do not hate America for learning these things.

On the contrary, my heart breaks for her. I want to help her heal. I want to make things right, to help her grow into the best America she can be.

I want police officers to feel safe to do the right thing, to make the hard choices to defend themselves and others when necessary, but only when necessary.

I want the criminal justice system to be one where good people thrive, and corrupt people are not tolerated.

I want the public of all races to trust the legal system. A trusting public keeps good police officers safe.

I want Black people in America to be protected the same as anybody else, to be given the same opportunities as anybody else, to have their history grieved and celebrated like anybody else, to be able to breath, like anybody else.

Please help me understand how this is wrong?

*The First Amendment of the United States Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

**The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

***My husband and I are not hunters, nor trap shooters, nor Militia. However, just as there is a reason that the Founders made freedom of religion, press, and protest first, there was a reason they made a well-regulated Militia second. I honor, respect, and understand the logic behind this decision.

Copyright © 2020 Sara Beth Wald

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