Tuesday, December 1, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 39

Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on June 24th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 17 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 17

It's time for bold action in the face of dysfunctional leadership

By Guy McCullough, Lompoc

Sheriff Brown’s commentary (“When the badge gets tarnished,” June 11) is right to point out the fallacy of generalizing one’s personal experience. It is not appropriate to brand all police based upon the actions of a few, just as it is not right to blame peaceful protesters for the destructive actions of a few. 

The present occupant of the White House may just be the exorcist that this nation needs to finally confront the racism that has plagued it for far too long. As a nation we abolished the institution of slavery, but we never fully addressed its foundational racism. Perhaps at long last we can have a national reckoning. 

If the president had a better understanding of history he would not reach for a military solution to combat domestic protests. Apparently the model for our present police force evolved from the British military occupation of Northern Ireland. In the American experience, our policing model has the unfortunate additional history of hunting down fugitive slaves. No wonder people of color, particularly African Americans, have experienced the police as an occupying force. 

At the very least we do seem to have a police culture that seeks to protect the haves from the have-nots. This has become problematic as our nation faces ever greater levels of inequality. 

Previous efforts at police reform have been blocked by powerful union interests more concerned with protecting a culture than with having its members be held accountable for their actions within the communities they serve. In light of these failures at police reform, we now hear calls for defunding the police departments. I prefer to think of this in terms of reinvesting money in community programs that free the police to do the jobs that they are better trained for. 

For far too long we as a nation have failed to properly invest in our communities. This means problems that should have been dealt with at the family or community level are allowed to go unresolved. Then we expect public school teachers and the police to pick up the slack. School teachers should not have to deal with serious disciplinary problems, nor should the police be required to do social work. 

The pandemic has exposed dysfunctional leadership and institutions, as well as vulnerabilities in our various supply chains. During such crises, we have the opportunity both as individuals and as a nation to take bold action to address these concerns.

Guy McCullough

Weekly Poll
How should Santa Barbara County enforce the state-imposed COVID-19 restrictions?

Make sure businesses are compliant, but let individuals make the choice for themselves,
Ticket people who break the mask order and increase business enforcement.
Take an educational approach.
Do nothing—this is a free country!

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