08/21/2014 07:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ferguson Riots: We Need Statesmen, Not Politicians


The Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a policeman is undeniably an ugly event for all involved.

The subsequent events following the shooting remind me of the words of Poet Laureate William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), in his poem "The Second Coming":

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

How would Poet Laureate Maya Angelou describe these unfolding events?

What would William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Ed.D. say?

There is no question that these events again expose the dire problems in many segments of our society. It's also jarring to see some of the responses and gear of the police force. We should not blame the force itself, but we can certainly question those who gave such orders.

The arresting of journalists is preposterous.

Adding to the passionate intensity is Gov. Jay Nixon (D). He should be insisting on calm and civil dialogue, not adding to the chaos. The premature words of Gov. Nixon to "vigorously prosecute" the subject policeman are very dangerous and undemocratic.

The governor has prematurely raised the crowd's expectations dangerously high. The passionate crowd -- including from out of state, according to media reports -- appears to want nothing other than a guilty verdict.

It's understandable, but is it fair?

The full facts are in the process of being gathered.

As of this writing, due process to all parties has not fully played out yet.

The local grand jury needs to be given ample opportunity to vet and deliberate on the facts and circumstances and render its collective opinion.

What happens if the facts and circumstances do not pan out for a guilty verdict in the end?

The White House's reactions to the horrendous beheading of photojournalist James Wright Foley by terrorists have been very measured.

The same measured treatment should apply to this Ferguson case.

At this time, we don't need politicians; we need statesmen.

We need all in charge to boldly and fairly advocate for justice and equality for all. However, justice and equality include due process to all.

Verdicts cannot be induced by street protests or those who have the loudest voices or can throw the most molotov cocktails for social media. Democracy requires patience, and gathering the wits about us for a thoughtful and deliberate process to improve and right the wrongs, regardless of age, race, or sex.

If we, the adults, cannot behave in a civil and fair manner, how can we teach our children?

If we, the adults in democratic America, cannot keep our heads when all about us are losing theirs, how can we teach the world, which is observing?

In simple terms, we want our leaders to encourage calm and civility, along with the assurance that justice will prevail. We want statesmen who will advocate fairness, patience, and the need to gather all the facts before we rush to judgments.

We also want statesmen who will explain that stealing, looting, and destroying properties are not civil rights.

Thankfully, we have also seen many outstanding citizens during these unfortunate events rise to the occasion and represent the best in our society.

In times like these, the teachings of our early years come back to remind us: Each one of us has the responsibility to share and live the basic tenets needed to get along with each other.

Lao-tze wrote:

If there is to be peace in the cities,

There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,

There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,

There must be peace in the heart.