Time to reinforce our civility and common purpose - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Time to reinforce our civility and common purpose

September 17th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Time to reinforce our civility and common purpose

By Rabbi Dr. Irwin Wiener, Guest Writer

Recently, as I was traveling on a highway in northern Arizona, an illuminated highway sign that attracted my attention read, “Rest in peace Trooper Tyler Edenhofer.”

Subsequently, I read about the details of his death.

The tragic ending to a life dedicated to the betterment of humanity was shocking. As devastating as this senseless murder was, it was recounted in many expressions of sympathy and regret, the one thing that resonated with me is that when our heroes are systematically murdered, we seem to gravitate to the perpetrators and not the victim.

For example, in this same edition of the newspaper was an article relating to a supposed incident involving another officer of the law and an elderly woman, in which we learn of a pending lawsuit.

How many times have we read about the double standard that is applied to law enforcement personnel? This particular episode began with a frantic call about someone who was armed and dangerous and resulted in a condemnation of the responders.

Time and again we are led to believe that these terrible things happen to people stemming from a plea for help.

Are we to believe that all responders are capable of terrible things? Are we that gullible to accept the premise that those chosen to protect us are just demons in disguise? Have we gone so far with political correctnes that logic and understanding are now accepted without hesitation?

Both liberals and conservatives have demonized each other to the extent that we now look with suspicion upon anyone who has differing views than those that were accepted in the past.

Truth be told, if I were choosing a profession today, it certainly would not be as a member of any effort to control behavior through disciplinary efforts.

Sometimes I wonder whether the next group to be chastised would involve clergy, or maybe firefighters, or even medical technicians. What a sad commentary to a supposedly civilized people.

Perhaps it is time to step back and collect our thoughts and reflect on our actions. We read, we watch, we departmentalize, and then should ask, “What is wrong with this picture?”

There was a time in our history when we accepted certain expressions and actions as norms.

There was a time when we respected law and order. There was a time when we knew that the policeman or woman on the beat were not enemies but protectors. There certainly was a time when we realized that collectively we survived but separately we perished.

We are a country of laws, not for some, but for all. We cannot choose which to obey or not. We must not resort to mob mentality when trying to understand events that require respect for all opinions.

Our society seems to concentrate on disrespecting our commonality. We shout at each other. We look at each other with disdain. We separate by color, origin, and ethnicity. This certainly is not a formula for survival.

Is there a redeeming quality in this madness?

Perhaps we need to realize that polarization will only accomplish what others have tried throughout our history – divide and conquer. All that we read, all that we hear, tends to reinforce this and will be more devastating than all the bombs that can be dropped from the sky.

If we have learned anything from the experience of Sept. 11, 2001, it is that when it counts, we count. When tragedy rears its ugly head, we find common ground.

We need to return to that day and time to reinforce our understanding of civility and common purpose. As Americans we have demonstrated to the world that we represent the goodness that can be found in each of us.

More than that, however, we have demonstrated that we apply this goodness to everyone regardless of gender, profession, or thought.

“Rest in peace Trooper Tyler Edenhofer,” we have learned a valuable lesson from your sacrifice.

Dr. Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D. is cational chaplain of Jewish War Veterans-USA and spiritual leader of Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.