Who would have guessed the male dominated police forces from multiple agencies who responded to the Nov 21 Broome County Legislative meeting were scared to death of the nonviolent general public who just wanted a voice. It may even be historic that four local women were arrested for seeking freedom of speech. The over-reaction of arrests led by Mayor David and Senator Akshar and confirmed by Chairman Reynolds is deplorable. But wanton PRIDE is a rat hole.
Pride is a sin that is so pervasive, runs so deep within us, that we often don’t even sense it is there. Not only is it a sinful drive in itself, it also plays a role in every other sin we commit. Pride is the sin we most share with Satan and the fallen angels. Pride is inordinate esteem for one’s own excellence. It is a habit or vice that disposes us to think more of ourselves than we ought. There is a proper esteem we should have for ourselves, but it is rooted in an appreciation for the gifts we have received. Pride plays an especially large role in sins of malice. (Make no mistake there was a police plan to ‘make them suffer’ some punishment until 4 am.) Pride plays a more indirect role in sins of weakness. Sins of weakness are those in which one acts sinfully not so much out of defiance as out of a weak inability to do what one admits is right. That might have something to do with NOT facilitating more open government; Or not having legislative rules that encourage open dialogue.
There are other times when we refuse to admit that others have gifts and abilities that we do not possess and that we may in fact need in order to be completed. That might be establishing community oversight of police and government criminal justice partners. Broome County is not one of those across the state that have Justice Mental Health Oversight Committees sponsored by the DCJS. Further, we sometimes refuse to admit that others are just better at certain things than we are. In this way, pride is both impoverishing and isolating. The prideful person focuses more on his own power and exaggerated notions of control. Money, prestige, power, access, and possessions become his focus.
Acting like all knowing, pompous bullies flaunting uniforms is not the way to build community. Neither is disbanding a human rights commission. Neither is abdicating one’s position or party a sign of leadership. Throwing in the towel without even a whimper to the majority is blind stupidity.
Unfortunately, the blindness to the neglect and deaths at the Broome County Jail continues with no review. That was the major focus of JUST that the print media does not investigate and the TV media gives lip service to. There used to be editorial boards to “hear people out”. The legislature’s rubber stamp just gets bigger and bigger. To promulgate laws that are not needed and already on the books is like following a gang leader blindly. The verdict is not in on whether Senator Akshar is a dimwitted pawn of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) a right wing lobbying group promoting corporate protection through passage of such laws criminalizing the right to protest.
The December 19 meeting of the legislature will show whether those elected can swallow their pride and get to work on building a community without prejudice of race or poverty.