I feel very sad right now. Like other Americans, I’m distressed by the shootings in the past week, of both civilians and police officers. I find it depressing and demoralizing to know that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will likely be our next president. I’ve had some arguments on Facebook in the past couple of days that left me feeling very discouraged about the human race. Maybe it’s a pipe dream to think that things will ever improve, that we could ever have a more just society. There’s a lot about other human beings I find it very difficult, or impossible, to understand.
Still, the dream of something not only better but qualitatively different is what keeps me from sinking into nihilism and apathy. That dream – not fear of the latest disaster – is what gets me to the polling booth. A close family member, someone I love, tells me that I’m an extremist. That I’m not pragmatic enough. If opposing physical, economic, and psychological violence against human beings is extremism … then I guess I can’t argue. It seems to me that pragmatism is often used as an excuse for defending these various types of violence.
I want to share a link that a POC friend of mine sent me last night: http://www.joincampaignzero.org/solutions/#solutionsoverview
The one part of their platform I disagree with is their contention that police officers shouldn’t paid while they’re being investigated. False complaints do happen, and even if a complaint is accurate, the loss of income, with no warning, could cause hardship for an officer’s family and create more resentment between police and civilians.
Otherwise, they have lots of excellent, concrete suggestions for addressing police violence: for example, better training on deescalation; sending a special team to address “mental health”/psychiatric crises, which would include a psychologist, counselor, social worker, and officers specially trained in these situations; independent investigations; civilian oversight; and many others. Please do check it out if you’re concerned about these matters.
Stay safe, everyone.