After last week’s protests over police practices, mass killing of cops in Dallas, and usual efforts to take political advantage, it should be evident to every American that we face a crisis in public trust and accountability. The only solution is good old-fashioned leadership by men and women of integrity and principle.
Ken Blackwell: On Racism and Policing, Leadership Starts at the White House
American law enforcement faces a multitude of serious criticisms. For instance, the federal government has turned homeland security into pork by distributing military equipment to local governments. Some police departments use drug busts as a profit-making opportunity by seizing private property. SWAT teams look more like military special operations forces than cops.
Politics distorts policing, supplanting both safety and justice. Departments practice social engineering and politicians protect constituents and interests. Police adapt, doing what is necessary to survive politically rather than focus on what best safeguards the public.
Prejudice, bias, and PC color public perceptions of police conduct good and bad. Most cops do a tough job extremely well, but often are attacked because the outcomes violate progressive preferences. Some law enforcement agents do a bad job and are excused by those who forget that men and women in blue are imperfect people no less than the rest of us.
Common to all of these problems is leadership. It doesn’t much matter if a police department has military-grade weapons, faces political pressures, and confronts usual human imperfections if its leadership is honest and strong.
Police commanders and public officials committed to protect the public and ensure justice for all can overcome such challenges. Such leaders set the tone for the entire justice system.
Just as a fish rots from the head, so does the American political system. It’s not the way the Founders intended. The national authorities were to have only limited power compared to the states and the Congress was expected to set the tone for the federal government.
But in the age of celebrity worship and imperial presidents, Washington’s chief executive has become the symbol not only of American government, but of America itself. In the best of cases—such as Ronald Reagan, with his optimistic and patriotic outlook and clarity about right and wrong—the country benefits.
Then there are presidents who represent the worst of America. The Clinton years put personal and political scandal on the national stage and advanced the concept of moral relativism by equivocating over the meaning of the word “is”. The concept of “right” and “wrong” depends on who you are. Hillary Clinton has already demonstrated her contempt for the law, as least as it applies to her.
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