We Are One Again
Remember 9/11? After the attacks, the biggest seller in the stores was anything that had a U.S. Flag on it. Everywhere you turned you’d see the flag; on clothing, flying in every yard, even flags flying from vehicles. Everyone supported law enforcement, firefighters and our first responders.
It didn’t matter what color you were, what your religion was, what part of the country you lived in, or what political party you supported – we were one! We were Americans standing as one against the terrorists. Then that unity slowly changed as 9/11 became a memory. Over the years our country has become divided. Our political parties have polarized. There are people in both major parties that don’t recognize their own. We have elected offcials focused on their own political careers and party agendas, often seemly forgetting that their focus should be on our agendas, the people that elected them.
Officials on both sides of the aisle that have done everything in their power to villainize anyone that doesn’t agree with their ideology - grandstanding at every chance they get to gain media attention and political points. No one was safe from these attacks – even law enforcement with politicians pandering to special interest groups jumping on the anti-law enforcement bandwagon born from the Ferguson shooting - inflammatory rhetoric and political pandering that not only made the job of law enforcement more dangerous, but also eroded much of the relationships and trust that most members of law enforcement have worked so hard to develop in the communities we serve.
These actions have torn apart our nation, have done nothing to help those struggling across the country, and have eroded much of the respect many of us had with our leadership - some at the state level, many at the federal level. Fast forward to March 2020. COVID-19 is here. Schools are closed. Businesses are closed. Many essential items are hard to come by. People are scared. People are struggling. We are under attack again. This attack has resulted in families being forced to spend more quality time together. Citizens are reaching out to others in need, especially our elderly. Neighbors are flying the U.S. Flag and families are in their front yards reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Actors, musicians, and other stars are doing fundraisers and donating money to help. Local, regional, state, and national business leaders are pitching in to help - retooling their factories to make respirators, masks, and ventilators – including many Minnesota businesses large and small. National businesses like Starbucks are offering free beverages to first responders – Police Officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and researchers.
Child Care workers are helping with daycare for first responder families. Food and treats being sent to law enforcement and first responders as a thank you – in the last few days we’ve had rolls, and pizza sent to our staff from grateful citizens. No more political ads. No more negative campaigning. No more clashes between parties pandering for our support and our vote. No more “witch-hunts” on both sides of the isle - doing everything possible to slander, degrade, and defame the other side. No more law enforcement bashing (funny how that changes when we enter a crisis.).
A political “time-out” if you will - both sides working together against this attack. Once again, we are one and focused on the fi ght. I find it sad that it takes a major crisis like this to bring our country together. To make us find our civility. To make us find our compassion. To make us realize again what’s really important. In the shadow of this terrible crisis, let us embrace the unintended consequences – the political “time out” and the unity our country is showing. Let’s stay positive during this time. Let’s continue to help one another. Let’s continue to be kind to one another. Let’s support and thank those heroes working through this crisis – from fi rst responders to our amazing medical professionals, from the convenience and grocery store workers to our truck drivers helping to keep their store shelves stocked, and everyone else in between. Let’s take it serious and follow the medical profession’s recommendations to keep our families, our friends and our neighbors safe. Let’s take and learn from the lessons of this crisis so we are better prepared for the next one. Let’s get through this crisis together. Hopefully, when all is said and done, we won’t soon forget how being unifi ed and working together makes us so much stronger as a country. Stay positive, stay safe, and stay healthy everyone!
Your Sheriff, Scott Scott Rose is in his second term as sheriff of Dodge County. His column appears in this newspaper regularly.