The Blue Line flag appeared in our local high school yearbook this year which prompted an apology from MHS principle, Dr. Miron. I don’t think there is anything to blame Dr. Miron for I don’t think he should have to apologize either. Tucker Carlson was wrong to refer to the Blue Line flag as the “Blue Lives Matter” flag. It isn’t and it never was but that no longer matters because the mere presence of Fox News effectively made an already tense issue politically polarizing.
I spent a lot of time researching the history and current positioning of the Blue Line flag for an op-ed I was writing for an ad industry trade publication. In the article I explained how the Internet enables many misconceptions that lead to misplaced outrage and public demands.
In this instance, I discovered that the truth is unpopular because it favors neither political party. I also came away with the feeling that people should care more about the details and know how their decisions are being influenced before the shaming and cancelling begins.
If I may suggest, before apologizing and canceling a symbol might we ask simply, “Who does it honor?” The Blue Line flag honors people who swear an oath to protect us who almost always meet us at the worst times of our lives.
I’ll leave you with a quote from another esteemed PhD. The quote originally appeared in Politico and I referenced it in my article.
"Dallas Police Sgt. Stephen Bishopp has a doctorate degree and has studied police stress, use of force and officer misconduct. The “thin blue line” symbol existed before several of his colleagues were gunned down by a sniper in July 2016, he said. To him, it symbolizes respect and understanding for the families of officers killed in the line of duty — including suicides.
“When I see that flag as a sticker on a car or flying in someone’s yard, I know that there is someone there that knows what I’m going through. They know because they are a part of the family,” Bishopp said. “I don’t really care if it bothers people or hurts their feelings to see that flag. I absolutely could care less. I am proud of what I do, the people I work with, and the ones who have died defending the rights of strangers. I will continue to fly that flag until my very last day.”
I have a hard time believing things I read these days, so I reached out to Dr. Bishopp through a professional network to let him know that I used the quote. He thanked me and let me know he stands behind the quote for better or worse.
We should let the honorable honor their own. We should let them keep this one because it wasn’t ours to take. Or anyone else’s for that matter.
Kevin Ryan, Short Hills