Editorial: Three-word slogans cut both ways

Raising a fist as Austen Wallenfang reads the names of victims of police violence is Julianna Kimpton, standing with daughter Abigail and husband Johnny.

During these troubled times when it seems Americans are riding on a wayward bus with no one in the driver’s seat, we are subject to a lot of three-word sloganeering.

Some catchphrases cut to the core of the matter: “Black lives matter,” “I can’t breathe,” “know their stories” and “silence is violence.”  

These succinctly remind us that racism is pervasive, systemic and potentially deadly.

Others are recklessly ambiguous: “Defund the police.”

This ham-handed response to the slow death of George Floyd at the knee of a Minneapolis cop is a classic example of how simplistic slogans can be insensitive, insulting and run counter to the cause.

Those who argue that “defund the police” is clever shorthand for “examine how resources now used to pay for police duties might be reallocated to social-service agencies better equipped to meet mental-health needs” ignore how their words further divide a society already on edge, give political opponents a rhetorical cudgel while insulting the many courageous, competent officers whose only brush with brutality comes from mean streets and now by a righteously angry public ...

We are still our brother’s and sister’s keeper, be they minorities, police, those vulnerable to COVID, the poor, folks feeling particularly detached from a world that is reeling, and others.

When we chant, let our three words be “Love they neighbor” as we repair the brokenness around us and get a better grip on this country’s future, particularly as it pertains to atoning for generations of sin against our black sisters and brothers.          — Tim Lyke

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