David French at the NRO with a piece I think ought to go viral in the wake of the horror that took place last night in Dallas:
We are faced with choices today. At a time when all the short-term incentives point toward unreason, our leaders, political and cultural, must choose reason. At a time when group solidarity is trumping individual accountability, we must choose individual accountability. At a time when the loudest voices don’t wait for evidence to make sweeping judgments, we must wait for the evidence.
When we tribalize conflict, we create a tribalized society. It’s that simple. Stop lying and distorting facts for your own short-term political gain. It has been extraordinary to watch so many on the left and the right disregard the truth for the sake of “larger purposes.” A known lie such as “hands-up, don’t shoot” became the slogan of an entire movement. Scaremongers refused to deal with actual statistics and instead perpetuated the claim that police officers had declared “open season” on black men. Comprehensive reporting shows that police overwhelmingly use force when they are “under attack or defending someone who [is].” Despite the millions of interactions between police and citizens (including black citizens), the number of controversial or contentious shootings is low. It’s so low that in a nation of more than 300 million citizens, we can rattle off individual names – Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner – rather than consider the horror of mass death, of a true “open season.”
At the same time, it’s just as dishonest to pretend that police abuse is a fiction or that official racism has been vanquished. It is a simple fact that some police departments have covered up police misconduct (McDonald’s case comes immediately to mind) or, typically at the behest of their political masters, systematically abused the citizens they’re sworn to protect, turning them into ATMs for the state through excessive and burdensome fines and citations. While the Department of Justice’s investigation of the police shooting of Michael Brown exonerated officer Darren Wilson, for example, it painted an extraordinarily disturbing portrait of the use and abuse of official power in Ferguson, Missouri. Police made Ferguson a hell for its residents, a place where, as I wrote at the time, “a small class of the local power brokers creat[ed] two sets of rules, one for the connected and another for the mass of people who are forced – often at gunpoint – to pay for the ‘privilege’ of being governed.” No American man, woman, or child should have to live under such a regime. But the problem will never be solved if we refuse to acknowledge its complexities. No debate that so reflexively distorts reality will ever be productive.
Condemning the evil men and women who affiliate themselves with Black Lives Matter – people who tweet out applause for cop-killings – should not stop us from acknowledging that movement’s many more protesters who abhor violence and weep sincerely for the police lives lost last night. Condemning those cops who are bigoted should not stop us from acknowledging the many more cops who willingly lay down their lives for all citizens every single day. People of good faith can and should disagree about how best to prevent more lives from being lost in the future. But nothing will get better until everyone first recognizes that those with whom they disagree are people of good faith.
French’s entire piece should be read and passed around for effect.
I’ve seen some of this tribalization in my own social media newsfeed today. People pouring gasoline on the flames. It’s sickening, depressing, disgusting. And though I agree completely with Mr. French, I go a step further.
What ails this once great country will take divine healing. There’s no way to get around this. It’s factual. It’s obvious. It’s real.
We should all cry out for that healing, and there’s no better way in my view for that to take place than to petition those who’ve been recognized by the Church as dispensers of that healing.
Saints of God, pray for us.