Stop! Stop the Madness!

By: Pete Riehm

Please pause for a moment; take a deep breath and stop whatever you are doing. America is having an anxiety attack. Literally everyone is upset and emotions are fever pitch, and with good reason. After months of questionable quarantine, the nation was already suffering acute cabin fever. Then out of nowhere, a gruesome video of a Minneapolis Police apprehension that went horribly wrong resulting in the callous killing of George Floyd shocked Americans; it was disturbing and heart wrenching. National outrage was immediate and justified; millions took to the streets to voice their disapproval and disgust. But the protests quickly took a sinister turn with widespread looting and rioting.

The incredible nightly mayhem in our big cities has destroyed dreams. Businesses and homes of ironically mostly minority Americans were devastated and burned; and lives were lost. Dozens of law enforcement and average citizens again disproportionately minorities have been killed by ostensibly peaceful protesters in their violent demands for racial justice.

While this is all surreal, this national nightmare is actually happening, but the perplexing thing is Americans are united in their revulsion to the unjust death of Floyd and the call for justice. So why are we fighting each other? What exactly is the conflict? According to the protesters and the media, it’s systemic racism.

Racism exists, has existed, and sadly will always exist to some degree because some humans will always harbor hate in their hearts. But is it systemic in America? We have had welfare for over half century to mitigate poverty, affirmative action for decades to level the playing field, black celebrities adored by all Americans, and we even elected a black president. Not to say there are not still some racism, but in general Americans are fair minded to anyone regardless of color willing to stake out their American dream.
Certain groups and liberal elites will counter that none of that matters because police brutality is rampant and racist; and no NFL team will hire Colin Kaepernick. But the statistics do not bear this out. More whites are killed by police than blacks. Blacks per capita are more likely to be killed by police, but they also have a disproportionately per capita occurrence of criminal activity. The reasons for this disparity are complicated and should be addressed, but it still doesn’t demonstrate systemic racism in our police. The past weeks of civil unrest prove our police are highly professional and have shown incredible restraint.

While there is ample evidence America has made tremendous progress in racial equality, there is no denying there has been awful racism in our history from slavery to overt nasty racial persecution in the 20th century. We would like to say we have repented and moved on; and there is ample evidence we have, but obviously those wounds are still not completely healed. Such terrible things have been said and done; they’re hard to forget.

The racial debate continues, but if we will take a moment to examine what we have in common, we will find a unifying foundation to move forward. Americans love their families especially our children. We work hard to provide well for our children and we build safe communities to raise our children. Americans still want and pursue the American dream; and that dream is increasingly achieved and shared by all races. Minority business ownership is up significantly, more than a few police departments are majority minority officers, and many of our cities have minority leadership. The point is Americans of all colors have a stake in this country.

We work together and worship together; we coach each other’s children and serve on the same civic committees. We are neighbors, friends, and maybe even family. We know each other, so when there is a conflict, we already have mutual respect and a relationship to build on. We must remember, though we still have some disagreements, that we all love our country and only want what is best for all Americans. We can overcome anything together, so do not let this tiny but well organized faction of agitators divide us. None of them share our goals or interests and they literally hate America and our values. In addition to our families and values, remember we all come together under The Lord; he can heal us and unite us.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14

Pete Riehm is the host of Common Sense Radio heard 8pm every Thursday on FMTalk106.5 or streaming at Email him at [email protected] or on Twitter @PeteRiehm or visit

3 thoughts on “Stop! Stop the Madness!

  1. Thoughtful commentary, Pete. Why the turmoil, you ask? Economic injustice. It’s complicated, but the root cause is our failure to share prosperity. Many workers are paid less than a living wage, and consigned to a lifetime of poverty and debt, inadequate healthcare, education, housing, etc. Crime, alcohol and drug abuse, broken families, chronic homelessness, etc. are all symptoms of people left behind by “mainstream” society. More white people live in poverty than people of color. That’s a fact. Racism is the perfect wedge to drive between people who might otherwise find common cause and demand redress of common grievances. Racism, either organically or by design, keeps people in their place. We could fix it if we wanted to, but up until now there was no reason to. Some of us will be more than happy to return to the status quo when all this agitation and turmoil blows over.

    1. Marxism is your solution? No thanks! I only want what I myself have honestly earned.

      By the way, I, like multitudes of fellow Americans, began my career in several minimum-wage jobs. No one is “consigned” to a job for a lifetime. One works hard, takes on new tasks, and becomes more valuable to the employer, which translates to more pay. That’ just how free-market capitalism works. Further, I refuse to pay off those who would extort my earnings by threatening violence. That’s just systematic theft, using the government as the weapon.

      There is no argument that you, or anyone else can make, to deny what I say here. I’ve experienced, and observed how the system works over 62 years of life, and it hasn’t changed. Thee is no blame to be assigned. Success is the responsibility of each individual worker, not society as a whole.

    2. Adrian, Sorry, but I am just now seeing your comment. Thank you very much for reading my column and taking time to comment. I appreciate your thoughtful comments, so let me start where I believe we agree and actually I believe most Americans agree. We want all Americans to prosper and have liberty equally. I sincerely believe Americans are fair minded and only want good for all.
      I think we also agree that racism is a wedge to divide us, but we may disagree on the extent of racism. Sure it exists and always will, but it is no longer systemic. The problem is the media amplifies each incident like it’s a trend; statistics do not bear this out. That;s not to say we should not address racism where we find it, but looting and burning our cities is clearly counter productive and actually hurts minorities most.
      Where we disagree is that economic injustice is the root cause of the turmoil. The root cause is anarchists and leftists have hijacked the outrage to attack America in an attempt to dismantle our republic.
      No one is consigned to a life is poverty in America; opportunity is still boundless. The problem is our education system has utterly failed to prepare kids for any meaningful work. We can’t find enough workers, but our youth are largely unqualified and lack even a modicum of a work ethic. This is more complicated because this decline is really tied to the decay of the family. Too many kids are not being raised and only housed in public education. Poverty is not the cause of immorality; people’s choices are the cause. Immorality knows no class.
      I think we want the same outcome despite our disagreement on how, but perhaps our exchange is the start of a real conversation and reasoned debate.
      Thanks again. Pete

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