I’m a very imperfect person and ashamed of some of the decisions I’ve made in my life. I’ve lied to and hurt people I loved and still love, in moments of selfishness, childishness, and spite. I have been, and still am at times, weak, stupid and self-centered.
That being said, I have a real hard time with hypocrites. And right now we’re chockfull of them.
I’ve never seen this country as divided as it is right now—and I was born in 1956! The self-righteous, pious, sanctimonious, and closed-minded, who profit either financially or politically by creating and maintaining this toxic division, have center stage.
Case in point: An untitled piece of art that has become to be known as “Cops as Pigs.”
Created by a Missouri high school student, the painting depicts pigs in police uniforms engaged in a violent confrontation with African-Americans. It purports to be a response to the 2014 unjustified shooting of Michael Brown.
To many people it is a fair representation of the state of affairs between the police and the black community. To police officers the Michael Brown shooting, from the outset, has been misinterpreted for gain as the facts have been almost completely ignored.
Last month Rep. Lacy Clay, D-MO, hung the painting in the Capitol. Days later, Rep. Dave Reichert, R.-WA took it down, citing public safety.
The political divisions were on full display: Democrats vs. Republicans; the first amendment vs. public safety; African-Americans vs. police; social justice advocates vs. the establishment—and so on. All these silly divisions pitted against one another so that, depending on what channel you watch, the other side is always the villain. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
Reichert, as well as other Republican law makers, then requested that the architect of the Capitol determine whether the painting broke the rules. Those rules include: “Exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed.”
Today the painting came down again to loud and fresh protestation.
The State of Congress
Polls say Congress has the lowest ratings in recorded history, some being below 10%. Overall they aren’t trusted, even though the vast majority of them win reelection. They set the rules, determine direction of the government, and, apparently, when it is appropriate, feign insult and invoke the first amendment.
Now imagine this painting: “Congress as Pigs.”
Imagine if someone drew such a painting. Congressman in a trough of money, hoarding, gobbling and swallowing cash. With the poor on their knees, begging for some small morsel in order to survive. Now imagine that one of those pigs—while drinking champagne, smoking cigars, stuffing its pockets, and cavorting with buxom women—had his foot on the throat of a black child.
Would that be hanging in the capital? Not a chance.
My father was a cop as was his father. My uncle was a cop. I’ve been in law enforcement for over 36 years. While I’ve seen a small percentage of those wearing the badge dishonor it, the vast majority regularly risk their lives for strangers. They go home to families. They have children. They volunteer for charitable events. They coach and counsel kids who have no one else.
I’m not an apologist for police officers, but I sure as hell am an advocate for what I believe is one of the noblest of professions there is.
Respect for the police, according to Gallup right now, is 76%. That with the media’s slanted views, the dishonest politicians who defame the profession, and the deceitful activists who profit from gross mischaracterizations.
We aren’t perfect, but we sure as hell aren’t pigs either.
So I say to those who hung it (along with 400 or so other paintings selected from high schoolers around the country) and now are feigning outrage to appeal to their voting blocs as it comes down. If you don’t like how things are in this country, get to work changing it. That’s what democracy is about.