AN OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR BETSEY DRIVER
Dear Mayor Driver,
I want to congratulate you on taking what is known to be a revered symbol of the sacrifice of many dedicated men and women who have lost their lives in the fulfillment of their oath to serve, and joining the movement to co-opt that very respected symbol and insidiously turn it into something it never was and never will be.
By unilaterally deciding that the “thin blue line” displayed in your township as a memorial to those officers who have served with honor and who gave their very lives in the protection of their communities is “divisive” and in need of removal, you have demonstrated not only weak and feckless leadership, but, more significantly, the exact divisiveness you profess to abolish. Given your comments regarding wanting to “get rid of the blue line for awhile now,” there can be no doubt that you are perfectly aware of the true meaning of this symbol to the more than 800,000 law enforcement officers nationwide and the hundreds of thousands more families impacted by line of duty deaths.
This is not a new controversy, but one drummed up by anti-police rhetoric and bias. Again, I have no doubt you are well aware of this. And instead of exhibiting leadership to the men and women of your police department, your community, as well as the whole of your constituency and educating people as to the true meaning of this symbol and the absolute fact that honoring police lives, as well as black lives, are NOT mutually exclusive concepts, you chose to take your lead from those who similarly, in the days of the Vietnam War, spat in the face of and condemned our American soldiers as “baby killers,” resulting in the most horrendous treatment and consequences for our military ever experienced in the aftermath of a war.
Again, congratulations for jumping on that bandwagon. And thank you for alienating, marginalizing and disrespecting those under your command, as mayor. At a time when understanding and empathy are seemingly at an all-time low in our society, you, Madam Mayor, who had an opportunity to bridge a gap and unite people, chose instead to reinforce divisive thinking and false narratives. I truly hope that you are never in need of law enforcement services … not because they would turn their backs on you as a result of the highly disrespectful and hateful thinking you have exhibited, but because, quite conversely, as they continue to do their jobs despite your prejudice and provide you with whatever professional services needed, you will be faced with recognizing how truly ignorant and grossly unfair you have been. You will recognize that despite the constant battering they ALL take as a result of a very small minority of bad actors among them, they continue to strive to uphold their oaths and their duties, willingly risking their own lives and well-being and they endeavor to serve all equally. And when you recognize these things, because you surely will, I hope you shamefully think about how you handled this squandered opportunity.