My list of things I wish I had said grew a lot this week — a week that from start to finish was full of highlights of a world seemingly gone mad. Relief from despair comes from hearing and reading words that struck a chord.
George W. Bush, David Brooks, Charles Cooke and Bryan Stevenson were on point with these gems that make sense and give hope.
“Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”
— George W. Bush, at the Dallas memorial for fallen police officers
“How can America answer a set of generational challenges when the leadership class is dysfunctional, political conversation has entered a post-fact era and the political parties are divided on racial lines — set to blow at a moment’s notice? …
“America still has great resources at the local and social level. Here in San Antonio, there are cops who know how to de-escalate conflicts by showing dignity and respect. Everywhere I go there are mayors thinking practically and non-dogmatically. Can these local leaders move upward and redeem the national system, or will the national politics become so deranged that it will outweigh and corrupt all the good that is done block by block?
“I’m betting the local is more powerful, that the healthy growth on the forest floor is more important than the rot in the canopy. But last week was a confidence shaker. There’s a cavity beneath what we thought was the floor of national life, and there are demons there.”
— David Brooks, New York Times
“The beauty of the American Founding was not that it provided a detailed road map that could predict the minutiae of the future in glorious perpetuity, but that it laid out for all people a set of timeless and universal ideals. Among those ideals are that ‘all men are created equal,’ and that they ‘are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights’; that legitimate power derives ‘from the consent of the governed’; and that if any such government is seized or corrupted by tyrants, ‘it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.’ At times, the United States has failed disastrously to live up to these principles. But that an ideal has been violated in no way undermines its value.”
— Charles Cooke in NationalReview.com
“These shootings, in my judgment, are symptoms of a larger disease. In this country, there are very few places where you can deal honestly with the history of slavery. There is no place where you can deal honestly with the history of terrorism. We actually haven’t dealt with all the resistance to integration. And we’re indifferent to this victimization of Black and brown people. …”
“It’s unfair to burden Black and brown people in this country with the obligation to navigate police encounters safely. The burden is on you as a Black and brown person to make sure you say and do the things that avoid some tragedy, and that’s not right. …”
“We have too many police officers in this country who think of themselves as warriors, not as guardians.”
— Bryan Stevenson, founder and director, Equal Justice Project