The rise of Donald Trump, the fear, divisiveness, hatred and Nationalist ideology that he espouses and is spouting to Americans and the rest of the world emphasizes the need for America to immediately begin to seriously support the monitoring/policing of its police forces throughout the country and press its elected politicians to not simply remain silent or just provide lip service to the situation for purposes of political gain. Americans should press its elected politicians to establish a meaningful program that will right our listing police forces, help to reestablish the trust between the police and the communities that they serve and help all police officers to do their jobs with confidence without the need to second-guess themselves.
From the inception of this program all of those responsible for shepherding it should then monitor the process and collaborate to make real-time changes whenever needed to assure that there is sustained progress and that the program is successful. When these two phenomenon – the rise of Donald Trump and the need to immediately begin to address America’s policing problem – are juxtaposed, the nexus is obvious and it would be extremely dangerous to continue to eschew fixing our policing problem, especially in light of what Mr. Trump is currently doing.
The Republican ‘establishment’ ignored Mr. Trump’s outrageous antics until it was too late to prevent the kinds of things that are taking place in what appears to be his successful run to become the Republican 2016 presidential nominee. For a long time now, many of those same leaders have been traveling this same path with America’s police forces. They have been winking at the problem because it does not (yet) directly affect them. By the time that it does impact on them, whether directly or by way of family or friends, it might be too late to fix it.
Complaints about police injuring or killing unarmed citizens and otherwise abusing their authority and then covering it up is nothing new to American citizens. And the fact that Donald Trump during his presidential campaign is lamenting the fact that the police cannot manhandle protesters with impunity like they use to in ‘the good old days’ is only making matters worse.
A large chasm involving trust and cooperation already exists between police forces and citizens in the communities that they serve. Mr. Trump’s rhetoric of fear, hatred and divisiveness is likely only serving to expedite the culmination of this chaotic, hatred-filled chasm – which is fueled by mutual distrust between police and the citizenry, and lack of cooperation with the police by community members – into utter pandemonium and violence.
Not only are those angry community members who side with police feeling Mr. Trump’s vibes but police officers are feeling them too; and not just the unscrupulous police officers. Decent police officers, who have long felt that they have been swept into the quagmire because – in their opinion – Americans paint all police officers with a broad brush, carry injured feelings that they are unsure how to handle. This makes them more vulnerable to rhetoric like that which Donald Trump spouts continuously.
Even though these police officers might want to do the right thing it is a never-ending battle for them to do so. They have long been burdened with the so called ‘blue code’ or ‘code of silence’ and now they are hearing a presidential frontrunner that seems to be siding with the unscrupulous police officers yearn for what he calls ‘the good old days. This makes their battle even tougher.
In the words of Walt Kelly; “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Yes, you the American elected politicians who were elected to represent all of the people are the enemy. Yes, we the voters who have the responsibility to elect honorable people who will be statesmen who will put America first and do the right thing are the enemy.
If we take our responsibility as voters seriously and elect politicians who are more likely to be statesmen (obviously we will not always be right) we will be able to address all of America’s problems, including the problems with our police forces, in a fair and equitable manner. We need to force our elected politicians to do exactly that (address the problems with our police forces, now!) before it is too late to avoid a situation with America’s police forces like the one that we currently have with Donald Trump.
A Donald Trump situation (Trumpism) in police forces around America would be extremely dangerous. We have already begun to try to address this problem by way of body cameras. But even if every police officer in the country wears a body camera and, for whatever reason, it does not work properly or evidence that it’s recordings contain is routinely purposely destroyed, then body cameras as a tool to help discover the truth are worthless. That is why the police force needs to constantly be policed.
All Police forces already have parameters that they are supposed to work within but if those who are in place to assure that police officers work within them are corrupt and instead of ensuring that police officers observe and work within those parameters they assist them in skirting them, then therein lies the problem. And in far too many cases, this is what is happening in America now (e.g. the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago).
If police officers, like those in the Laquan McDonald shooting, are going to ignore the parameters under which they are required to work, purposely destroy body camera and dash cam evidence and openly act defiantly by throwing camera equipment onto the roof of their police station; then it is far past time for strong civic leaders and honorable elected politicians to step in and fix the problem. Unfortunately, this must be done because it appears that those currently in the chains-of-command, from top to bottom, around our country are either unwilling or unable to handle the task of fixing our police forces.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line