You-know-who–the “Law and Order” candidate–keeps saying just that, “that we need law and order, folks.”
Of course we do. I honestly don’t think the overwhelming majority of Americans want “unlawfulness and disorder”–ya think?
But we need more.
We need the kind of small steps that advance law and order and reconciliation of the kind seen in Wichita, Ka., Sunday–the same day that police officers in Baton Rouge were mowed down by a madman.
In Wichita, the Police Department hosted a “First Steps Cookout” in which officers treated Black Lives Matter activists to a barbecue in a park.
Mind you, this was done in lieu of a protest that had been planned that night.
There were grievances aired, but reportedly aired with respect and dignity on both sides.
This is how trust is built, how understanding is fostered, how reconciliation happens–by people sitting down to break bread with one another (and better yet slice brisket together).
This is the kind of “First Steps Cookout” that could pay peace dividends at the grass-roots level, where all real solutions to problems and issues are most likely to be resolved.
Yes, we need national leadership to advance law and order, but no amount of legislation or tough talk from national or state politicians removed from the streets and parks in communities can be as effective as someone like a local police chief offering an olive branch and a meal to people who feel disenfranchised, if not afraid of the people who are supposed to protect and serve them.
Of course, it takes two to dance. People in disenfranchised communities have to be willing to respond in good faith.
Law enforcement agencies have always had what a police lieutenant friend of mine used to call “knuckle draggers”–brutish types who are short on brains, discipline and restraint.
It’s obviously time for departments overrun with knuckle draggers or hotheads or simply poorly trained officers to take stock and look at what departments like Chief Brown’s in Dallas have done in the way of reform (again, at the local community, grassroots level).
Major protest movements always have their “bad apples” as well. The Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t help its cause any when it shuts down a major transportation artery as happened in Atlanta recently, or when chanters chant hate-filled speech referring to cops as “pigs in a blanket” or shout out “f— the police.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would not approve this message.
Nor do I or most people.
A frustrated law enforcement official in Baton Rouge said Sunday that the assassination of officers didn’t reflect a gun control problem but rather a “spiritual” problem of the kind we keep seeing in people’s hearts.
There is a lot of truth to that.
What happened in the park Sunday night in Wichita was an act of reconciliation and reconciliation is always a blossoming and ripening of spiritual fruit.
Taste and see that the Lord is good and know that cops and protesters can be good and find common ground, too.