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 fmtalk1065.com. Email him at [email protected] or on Twitter @PeteRiehm or visit http://peteriehm.com.