When blame isn’t useful.
I have always thought protest, peaceful protest is a sign of a working democracy. People’s opinions count, even the ones you disagree with, especially the ones you disagree with. You never can see all sides of an issue from your vantage point; it’s important to consider all perspectives to have an informed opinion.
From one perspective, I agree with President Elect Donald Trump. Unvetted and illegal immigration must be contained, for all the reasons he outlined pre election. I’m good with that. But here’s a different perspective. When you demonize an entire religion, a people, for the sins of a few; they pull back, withdraw, and minimize contact with their aggressors.
What happens when law enforcement needs information from members within the group?
What happens when little (insert name) starts acting up in his place of worship and speaks of violence? When he starts praying way more than normal and stops dating the American girl he met in college? What happens when his grades drop and his online activities become suspicious?
The community where he lives normally would say something. His religious leader would call law enforcement. There would be eyes on (insert name) because his actions harm the wider community.
…Unless the entire community is suspected of wrongdoing. Unless strange men go around pulling headwear from women and painting swastikas on the walls of their religious buildings. Unless the entire community fears for its safety because the polity has pronounced them unfit for citizenship and society.
Demonizing and marginalizing an entire community, any community, drives them inward, drives resistance deep and down where it festers, and broods and reacts in unexpected ways whilst fomenting deep distrust. Remember the last election? Everyone got that wrong.
Law enforcement requires trust. Law enforcement works because information is the linchpin that connects actions with consequences. But every time we strike fear into a community, every time we threaten a people, every time we presume moral superiority over a group, we weaken that trust. And we weaken law enforcement in equal measure. Law enforcement requires, absolutely requires human contacts with relevant information. Maybe we shouldn’t go off blaming an entire religion for the actions of a few. Just sayin’.
My fervent prayer this day asks all thinking folk, women, men, countrymen; think well how we proceed. Hilary said we need to build bridges not walls. For us to heal, we really, really, should be building bridges into and between our communities.
Can we talk about that?