For the second week in a row former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was making a fool of himself on national television in an attempt to capitalize politically off the tragedy in Brooklyn. It only reinforces the notion that Rudy is not Ready and we are not Ready for Rudy.
Gandhi preached that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." The killing of two police officers in Brooklyn is an atrocious act of violence that cannot be tolerated, condoned, or encouraged, in the same way that police killings of unarmed citizens is symptomatic of a breakdown in both law and order. Both are unacceptable and until each are treated as such suspicion, mistrust, and a seemingly uncontrollable rage simmering in our communities will likely boil over again.
We need a presidential commission on race akin to the Kerner Commission that attempted to dig deeply into the structural and systematic racism that helped prompt urban unrest in the 1960s. It is patently obvious to even the casual observer that our society is currently roiled in a pervasive and growing rift between those representing law enforcement and regular citizens. Deeply troubling is the degree to which the rift widens when taking race into effect.
The current atmosphere of fear and cynicism, compounded by the historic gap in income inequality, plays a large role in the dramatic surrender of civil liberties Americans have accepted, either consciously or unconsciously, for greater security. In addition, dramatic differential perceptions among groups of Americans, particularly along the lines of race, ethnicity, and income, with regard to government institutions and leaders, has rendered a society more polarized than at any time since the Civil War.
We are experiencing structural dysfunction at all levels of government. We are systematically losing whole generations of voters who have absolutely no desire nor perceived connection to those who are making or avoiding decisions that will impact them directly. The most important step to rehabilitation is acknowledgement of the problem. Too many politicians, like Giuliani, see little capital in diagnosing the root causes of the problems affecting our country. It could be because a thorough examination of the problem might point directly to misguided, ill-conceived, and poorly executed theories of criminal justice like the broken windows policy of enforcement promoted by then-Mayor Giuliani as a contributing if not primary factor in the communication breakdown that has fostered community distrust.
A direct consequence of former Mayor Giuliani's bare-knuckles approach to crime was the discredited and destructive policy of "stop and frisk" that raised racial profiling to an art form. But he prefers to throw darts at the president, and then it was Al Sharpton, then de Blasio. It may land him on the national talk circuit, but he himself is fueling the flames of discord, the very thing he accuses others of doing. Instead of wildly casting about for a villain a far more productive and mature strategy of carefully and deliberately examining the underlying causes in search of a solution is called for. The Urban Dictionary describes a putz as one who says stupid things in one of its kinder iterations. In the spirit of the season Rudy stop being a putz.
The message that violence begets violence is clear. We must address the issue of violence in whatever form it presents itself because it is clear to all that we are spiraling out of control. So let's call a truce to public recriminations and blame; we all need to be involved in seeking a solution.