Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Senator Lindsey Graham reminded us recently that “America is a nation of laws.” The South Carolina Republican was saying that none of us, whether in high office or just slugging along trying to make a living, is above doing what is right legally. This is a profound principle, and worth reviewing.
While there are many aspects under this overall umbrella, rules and regulations that touch on the common good seem to me to stand out. No question we have suffered a general loss of respect for others. And yes, universal good manners is but a distant memory. It certainly “is what it is”! But that doesn't mean we each shouldn't strive to improve things.
An obvious example of violating laws can be seen in the conduct of those who do not obey traffic and pedestrian rules. Many do so by openly defying them with a “chip on the shoulder” attitude. What's the point? People, certainly including the offender, can get injured, even killed. Young people have long rebelled against “authority” - parents, teachers and in particular during recent decades, the police. The media, on constant lookout for the negative and bad news, have highlighted the conduct of those white police officers who have mistreated young blacks. Bad cops are few in number when counted against the overwhelming number of men and women who wear the badge, faithfully exercising their duty to protect the public. But the ages old saying still stands true: It only takes one bad apple to ruin a barrel, in this case, the reputation of entire blue commands.
There are a lot of young people who are angry these days. Some with good reason; others wanting to be part of violent peer-dominated mobs. There are also those who simply want to call media attention to themselves. In our nation of laws, there are legitimate ways to voice opposition. Breaking store windows and burning automobiles are not two of them. The examples of Mahatma Gandi and Martin Luther King, saints in our time, preached non-violent opposition. It is still the best way to achieve success in opposing injustice.