The Lack of Gray

I haven’t written in a while, mostly because I just haven’t felt like writing much lately. There’s been a lot of stuff happening, and sometimes it’s hard just to keep everything from overwhelming me.

However, there are two separate issues that have at their heart a much larger issue. They are the Declassified CIA Report detailing what was done to keep America safe, and the actions or lack thereof of grand juries across this nation, doing what they did to keep America safe.

I have nothing new to say on Ferguson and the other cases. There’s so much information and so many opinions out there that anything I offer would be a rehashing of other views, so as for the stories themselves, I’m going to remain in the background. The one part of the story that I want to bring up is the way in which we in America seem to have lost the ability to have a middle ground where two things can be true and yet seemingly contradictory. In the Garner case and other instances of police brutality, the arguments have become siloed into two distinct camps: “the police are bad”, and “the police are doing their job”. I blame the media for pushing this narrative without allowing the middle ground of “there are good police officers, and there are ones who shouldn’t be near weapons of any sort.” In the case of the CIA report, again we have two sides: “It was torture” and “It kept the country safe”. Again, there’s no room for the ugly truth that maybe some of the torture worked. The problem is that we on the outside do not know and can’t independently judge the information. What we get is filtered through one side that’s seen to have a bias, so it becomes untrustworthy and without merit in the eyes of many. Again, the media is quick to pick up on this and create a controversy and endless amounts of shouting the same things at each other in an effort to convince the other person that we have a viewpoint too.

In both issues, I think people acted in moments of irrational haste and fear. You don’t bridge a gap by making it wider.

Shouldn’t America and the people who do the dangerous work be held to much higher standards? If we wish to claim any sort of authority in this world and call ourselves the greatest nation, then why do we not have better standards than those who we perceive to be our enemy? If we’re not going to have a middle ground, why not err on the side of dignity?

Without dignity, we are individually and collectively severed from any sense of morality and justice. This falls way short of creating a “more perfect union,” doesn’t it?