On Tuesday, the second day of the Republican National Convention, I was listening to talk radio on the way into work, and the host was entertaining the topic of “do you feel safer” today than a few years ago. Here is one man’s perspective.
I feel less safe than two years ago.
I work in downtown Denver, only two blocks from the now infamous 16th Street Mall. In the past two years I have seen drug busts below my office window, an attempted sexual assault on the way into work, fights between vagrants and have been personally threatened and screamed at by so-called “travelers.” I have worked downtown most of my career and the frequency of crime in the area has definitely increased.
I live in an upper middle class suburb populated primarily with professionals and entrepreneurs. Just recently, I was involved in a very frightening road rage incident in my own neighborhood. I won’t explain the details, but suffice to say an angry motorist threatened both me and my family because he was upset about something that arose as the result of HIS aggressive driving. The sheriff has been notified.
The ongoing random attacks by lone wolf terrorists, radicalized and incited by extremist Islamic jihadist rhetoric and messaging is now a feature of the American landscape. It isn’t going away anytime soon.
The war on cops is real. Eight policemen have been assassinated in two American cities in less than one week. Need I say more? Unfortunately, “more” is most likely coming.
I do not, however, let these events define me. I refuse to live in fear, because that cuts off the influence of my better angels, but I do live with purpose and resolve.
We have become a more coarse, violent, materialistic and rude society. Snark has replaced thoughtful analysis and wisdom. Paid liars like Jonathan Gruber have become the learned technocrats with all the answers. Instead of a culture of individual achievement and virtue, we celebrate a culture of hedonism fueled by non-stop entertainment on every electronic device we touch.
For the left, the agency of government is now seen as a tool for punishing their political and ideological rivals and imposing their selfish will upon their countrymen, instead of being the protector of their God-given civil liberties. I fear for the safety of our Constitutional rights of freedom of speech, worship, assembly and self-defense.
Public enrichment has become the norm while the notion of public service is seen as naive. I am 51 years old and since when did America have a “political class?”
That both major political parties have elevated hopelessly corrupt and incredibly ignorant candidates demonstrates that the worst of our culture is dominating the best people have to offer.
A grumpy old man? Yeah, I can be rightly accused of that, but I believe there are a lot of grumpy men and women of all age groups and socioeconomic stations who can empathize with these points.
We need leaders who will promote and inculcate unity based on common virtue, who will encourage us to replace hate and anger with empathy and compassion for each other. Ultimately, America needs leadership who can evoke the best in us, not leverage the worst for partisan gain. Our political and business leadership needs to get on with the business of making America more competitive in the global economy, put rungs back on the socioeconomic ladder, encourage tolerance at home and be a moral force for good against militant Islam.
Where are the modern Martin Luther King’s? Who are the 2016 equivalents of Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln? Sadly, our current leaders have been weighed and measured and they have come up short.
Here is a sobering fact. My safety is not so much a function of government programs or the amount we spend on law enforcement and the military than it is based on other people’s sense of security. We can make each other safer by our individual pursuit of virtue and our personal attempts to inject goodwill into our relationships and daily interactions with our customers, clients, family members, spouses, children, strangers and others.
But nobody wants to talk about that, which is why I prepare for the worst and do what I can to be my best in my little corner of the world.