Before we start lining up for or against Penn State President Eric Barron putting up his hands, let’s step back a minute.
Let’s admit that there was as much righteous pain and indignation in the letters defending the police as there was righteous fury and frustration from those who have seen enough young black men being stereotyped and incarcerated and shot. That’s because all of them are confronting the same huge problem of conditions in the inner city. Why not start by agreeing about that? And then, why not unite to do something about it?
America has always been a positive, can-do society and it also has unprecedented wealth. Let’s spend some of it on the inner city, which doesn’t need wishy-washy liberal sentiment as much as huge, hard-headed infusions of money to build up its infrastructure, educate children, make a safe environment, provide jobs and, break the vicious circle of poverty, drugs, violence and incarceration. Which of our leaders dares to take that initiative? Who is brave enough to even talk about it, let alone divert some of the billions we pour into bombing the Middle East into putting our own house in order?
All of us — police, students, university presidents and ordinary citizens — should be putting up our hands in frustration as we demand to change the way things are.