Yesterday to honor of National Law Enforcement Day, Congressman Duncan Hunter removed an award winning student painting from the walls of Capitol Hill. Many found the students depiction of the police vulgar and incendiary. Despite a portion of the painting prominently featuring a black character holding a sign that says “Racism Kills” the painting promotes the same type of divisiveness that leads to the same sort of bigotry that underlies all racist thinking. Here this painting clearly paints the police with the same broad brush by vilifying and demonizing them. Had this occurred to any other group and the government hung this painting in the halls of our capitol there would be an immediate and understandable uprising.
I am a complete believer in Free-Speech and believe in the artist’s right to create this painting and express themselves through art. However, the government cannot by consent favor one group over another or allow overt actions or depictions of bigotry to remain in place as sanctioned by the government. Let me state this clearly… The artist has the right to paint that picture and display it in any privately owned space they want like a business, home or restaurant. The Government should not be endorsing this negative depiction of our law enforcement, who risk their lives every day to protect us, and hang this where are laws are made. The reality is there are racist cops, but they are the exception and not the rule.
We as citizens should not have to lecture our elected representatives about the importance of NOT vilifying an entire group of individuals. When it is done with the perceived consent of the government it is far worse. Recently Congressman Clay hung a painting in the congressional halls depicting our police officers as pigs. Classifying an entire group of people in a negative light based upon an arbitrary characteristic is the exact basis of bigotry, so I ask you what is calling all law enforcement pigs, nothing but naked discrimination and hate. Depictions like this I believe have worked to dehumanize our law enforcement and made it easier for individuals to violently strike out against them leading to one of the worst year over year spikes in officer murders. This is what happens when law enforcement are no longer individual humans, but characterized as the face of discrimination and racism.
No I am not anti-free speech, but I do have the right to speak out when I see our government supporting images that are bigoted. No I am not anti-free speech, but I support our law enforcement officers. No I am not anti-free speech, but all Americans need to speak out when they see our government officials propagating a narrative for political gain instead of seeking the truth. For the last couple of years our police forces have been vilified by the media and demonized by Black Lives Matter. It is time that we stand up and say to our government that we will not allow them to fail law enforcement as well.