Somewhere along the way to our penchant for patriotic hero worship, the police have become conjoined with our military as objects of pride and admiration. A segment of our population has taken up the mantra, "Blue Lives Matter," largely to counter the "Black Lives Matter" movement. (Neglect the fact that "blue" is a choice but "Black" is not.) No matter how many or how egregious the actions of the police, many accompanied with damning videos, there are people who explain or condone what was done (especially grand juries).
How many times have you heard police apologists say, "Just obey the officer's commands, you'll be ok." Or, "When you encounter a policeman, be respectful and you won't get into trouble." The onus has been put squarely on John Q Public to behave lest he bring down the wrath of those who are sworn to protect and serve. Of course we have seen several examples where even the most compliant behavior results in tragedy.
So, the bottom line is that we must fear that our behavior will cause retribution by those who wear the badge and carry a gun. We see so many videos where an officer becomes enraged when his commands aren't obeyed—even in circumstances where a citizen is stopped for a minor offense. Don't question the police—they don't like it. Don't argue with the officer for he may react violently. It's a stressful job, don't you know?
Even in a routine traffic stop the police will say things like, "You don't mind if I search your car do you?" If you say no, you may be asked, "You aren't hiding anything are you?" Guilty until proven innocent when you insist on your Constitutional rights?
The police tell us they don't like being filmed while accosting "suspects." They have been videoed slapping phones out of people's hands, threatening bystanders not to record, and even assaulting those that do. "It deters them from doing their job," say their superiors. So, is it fair to ask, "What's the problem if YOU have nothing to hide?" Oh, it doesn't go both ways?
In the rush to heap accolades on the police and excuse their blatant disregard of human rights, mostly by white people/groups, the realization that their apologia is motivated by racism may not register with them. After all, it's not the unarmed white man who is getting taken down, beaten, tased and shot. So, the police must have their reasons, right? The offending law enforcers blatantly profile people of color, stopping them for a variety of reasons, including "looking them in the eye." Most of these "violations" would never be used against a white person. And all too many of these stops end horribly--and the officers' defense is that they were in fear for their lives.
Isn't it time that our lawmakers insist that the cops be reigned in and treat all citizens with respect? Let's get over the phony adulation we heap on police departments. And for all our sakes, we should insist that the "protect and serve" mantra must be obeyed.