This last week, I felt like my heart broke into a thousand pieces, kind of like the shattered glass above. Two black men have been killed by policemen and five policeman have been killed by a sniper in retaliation. The hearts of many, many family members have been broken, with seemingly no way to patch them together.
I listened to a radio broadcast of Nakia Jones (an African American female police officer in the Cleveland area) and her reaction to one of the shootings. It also broke my heart. I felt deep empathy for Nakia as she admonished any of her fellow policemen who have violated or violate the oath they swear to protect the people where they are stationed with their lives if necessary.
Nakia’s reaction encompasses alot of different aspects of the state of many things in the union, if you will. I just want to talk about one tonight. And that is integrity. Nakia is a leader. In her profession, it is required to take the an oath before beginning the job of police officer. An oath that Nakia and many others view as sacred. When you are on a team, and all the team members promise to abide by the rules set, it is devastating when you find out your team members are not playing by the rules after all.
I think that Nakia’s reaction to her errant teammates was appropriate. If you can’t play by the rules, if you can’t swear the oath with integrity, get out of that team’s uniform. Go find some other team.
Originally, when I watched the video, I felt an overwhelming anguish come into me. I am an American and I treasure the history America has of being a nation of courage, honour, integrity. But since 9/11 (in particular), it has felt as though the country is a pot simmering with unrest. And right now, it seems as if the lid has been removed and all the ugly elements have been exposed.
This caused me some despair, until I realized, once again, that if you want to solve a problem, then you have to see and face the problem.
I am in the midst of reading Dr. Henry Cloud’s book – Integrity. Its subtitle is: “the courage to meet the demands of reality.” I am praying that leaders in the United States are seeing the reality that must be dealt with. There can be no more sweeping racism and racist acts under the rug. They/we must have the courage to look this issue (and some others, too) full in the eye in order to meet the demands of that reality. We have done that in the past and I believe that there is hope that we will do that again.