If you’re like me, you’ve spent time lately wondering if America, as we’ve known it for 250 years, is coming to an end. Turning on the news, what we see seems a lot like Moscow in 1918 or Paris in 1790 rather than the United States in the 21st Century. The insane idea of “defunding the police” is actually being taken seriously as a literal statement of sound government policy. Our right to defend our property, be that our homes or our businesses, has been called into question. Our fundamental rights as American citizens, to free speech, to assemble, to pursue happiness, are anathema to an anarchist mob that spends its time screaming at the cops, declaring “autonomous zones” and tearing down statues of men long dead. Does any of this make sense to you? I have a hard time fathoming how in the hell anyone can believe and do such things. But then again…
My ancestors were not brought to America in slave ships. Nor were my forefathers subjected to unjust laws that kept my community down for a century plus after the Civil War. Also, my background is not Native American – a race of people who suffered genocide at the hands of Europeans. I could go on – women were not given the right to vote until a hundred years ago, LGBTQ people have been unfairly treated until very recently, and on and on and on.
We live in the year 2020. While we arrived here with centuries of history in tow, there is no escaping the fact that this is 2020, not 1861 or 1964. Have all the promises of America been kept for everyone? No. Have we made progress towards keeping those promises? No doubt. But those are lesser questions than these. Would we be better off tearing this country down than building it up? Are the flaws in our system so severe that the system itself is irredeemable? Absolutely not.
As business owners, we are literally the backbone of this country. We must speak up against anarchist insanity and speak up for justice. Not only are those two ideas not mutually exclusive, they are wholly interdependent. No one has the right to invade our business by force and destroy our property. No one has the right to claim some supposed moral high ground because of who their ancestors were or what our ancestors did. All of us deserve justice, fairness, and the right to live and raise our children in safety and peace. All of us need to show genuine caring and empathy toward others.
We must acknowledge that some of us have been dealt a better opening hand in life simply because of the color of our skin. While many of us have reason to be angry over past injustices, we can choose to see the world for what it is and act with a positive purpose.