I’ve often mentioned that there were times in my life when I had a lot of influence and “power” in some fields. The funny thing is that I never sought that, it just happened to work out that way. It wasn’t because I was wealthy (I wasn’t), it wasn’t because I had a monthly column in a magazine, and it wasn’t because I was outstandingly successful in the field. All things that most people would think would be requirements to get influence and power, I either didn’t have or had in a minor way. But as it turned out, I had far more power and influence than many people who did have all those requirements. Why? Because I said “Yes.”
In my post on “What’s Next?” I talked about the “next step” for dealing with the police problems that are currently grabbing the nation’s attention. In the comments, there were statements made about the Democratic Party’s need to “reach out to activists, and invite them in.” All well and good, but in many ways, it’s a variant of a theme I’ve heard a lot of over the past few years from many on the left: That the Party needs to do something before they’ll get involved with it. It’s more often than not a case of putting the cart before the horse.
Over the past several months the news has been full of stories about police violence and protests against it. Ferguson, and Michael Brown. Cleveland and Tamir Rice. New York and Eric Garner. There have been protests around the country, and a lot of discussion about not just police racism, but racism in society as a whole. We can point to the amount of use of deadly force by police around the country, often as a first resort, not a last. The protests and discussions have finally made it clear that “Things aren’t right,” even though they haven’t been all along. People are fed up, and they have every right to be. The protests are a first step. They’ve called attention to the problem, made it clear that it’s not just a “fringe issue,” and that action is required.