Lack of Credibility and Failure of Accountability
At the height of the ongoing pandemic, Paul Graham put out this timely and accurate commentary on the lack of credibility of journalists and politicians. This quote below really stuck with me:
“The answer, I realized, is that they didn't think they could get caught. They didn't realize there was any danger in making false predictions. These people constantly make false predictions, and get away with it, because the things they make predictions about either have mushy enough outcomes that they can bluster their way out of trouble, or happen so far in the future that few remember what they said.”
After the rise of protests across America the past week, I revisited PG's post and found his thoughts to be a direct corollary to the ongoing crisis of systemic racism in America—amongst other issues. With just a few small tweaks, I can recreate his words to describe the rampant police brutality and racial profiling of black Americans.
“The answer, I realized, is that they didn't think they could get caught. They didn't realize there was any danger in manhandling another black man. These people constantly disregard protocol, and get away with it, because the actions they take either have mushy enough legal ramifications that they can bluster their way out of trouble, or happen so frequently that few will remember what happened.”
For a long time, cracks have continued to form in the glass of our collective leadership in America. It's now shattered due to a lack of credibility and a failure of accountability. This starts at the top, with our President, but it trickles down across all levels of leadership—on both sides of the political aisle. From an objective view, it’s clear that the failure of leadership in America has bipartisan support. It's also painfully clear that change is needed. And based on the national reaction to recent events, it appears our time of reckoning has come. Yet to see true, positive change affected, our leaders need to become both credible and accountable.
The great thing about democracy is that we, the people, have the power to hold our leaders accountable. While it might not always be obvious, this country survives on the promise that Americans can enact the change they want to see. But this is no easy task. Creating change requires a collective effort. Yet for the past several years, America has never been further apart from a collective effort than right before the Civil War. And it's no coincidence that the national divide of then and now both centered on racism.
Despite this divide, I am hopeful this time the outcome can and will be different. The stampede for change is growing and the voice of our people has the chance to be collective once again. This voice can become the catalyst that propels efforts to eradicate the deep-rooted racism underpinning our society. But a voice alone isn't enough. As we all know, talk is cheap. Action is required, and action is what I implore you to take if you agree with anything I wrote above. Without action, we’ll never see the change that’s so desperately needed. As John Stuart Mill once said,
“Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."
Whether it's through a donation of your time, your money, or your platform, any action you take can bring us one step closer to closer to a collective force for change. Black lives matter.
*Along with utilizing my platform I've contributed to the efforts of the Equal Justice Initiative, which you can learn more about here.