By Mike Maturen
Over the past few years, and more markedly over the past few weeks, our nation has seen an increase of violence in the streets. There are many factors that have contributed to this uptick.
Let me preface my remarks by stating this: All lives are sacred, whether they be black, brown, white, blue or otherwise. While this has, indeed, become a difficult race relations issue, I believe we can work together to reduce violence, hate and death in our cities.
The heart of our party is community. It is what Distributism is all about. Our nation was founded on the principles of Freedom. Freedom is what allows demonstrations, such as Black Lives Matter and others, to happen. This ability to express ourselves is a good thing. It was one of the driving forces for change during the civil rights movement. It can be a driving force for change today.
But, in order for that change to occur, we must hold fast to the principles taught by the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr…that of non-violent protest. These principles apply to all forms of protest by varied and diverse groups. While the vast majority of these protests have, indeed, been peaceful, there has been a recent increase in tensions.
Why can’t we have that today? Why have so many protests lately ended up with tension, violence and even worse, death? It is a heart problem. In order to change it, we must work to change the heart and soul of our people.
One possible solution is community policing. Many years ago, it was not uncommon to find police officers walking a beat, out among the people. This system seemed to work well. The people knew their local cops, and the cops knew the people. They had relationship. For the most part, that resulted in trust.
When help was needed, the people knew they could rely on their local police officer to be there. As part of the community policing process, increased accountability of police officers must be implemented. Other suggestions might include Problem Oriented Policing as seen in Madison, Wisconsin. While there has always been tension between law enforcement and the general public, these can be greatly reduced through the community policing model.
Such was seen recently when police officers had a picnic with the members of the Black Lives Matter movement in Wichita, Kansas. The goal was to build relationship. I applaud and encourage such actions.
Another solution is for all of us to sit down as a community and hammer out a strategy. One problem in American politics today (and I used to be this way too) is that we are not willing to listen to those we disagree with. We have made up our minds that we are right, no matter what. It has been said that if you really want to learn, you should listen to those you disagree with. REALLY listen. We must have open minds.
Finally, I believe the ultimate answer to crime and violence lies in the reduction of poverty. Desperate times lead to desperate measures. Otherwise good people, when their backs are against the wall, will do what they need to do to feed their families and keep their heads above water. This is not making excuses…it is reality.
The principles of distributism and subsidiarity can, and will, help this. We as a party must do a better job of getting the word out about our economic plan. We must work with currently elected officials at both the state and federal levels to pass legislation that moves us closer to this ideal.
I pledge, as your Presidential nominee, that I will seek out legislators from both major parties that are sympathetic to our policies and work with them to move this country forward.
Our slogan says it all: Common Good, Common Ground, Common Sense.
THIS is how we can move America forward.