Lately, a number of errors have come home to roost in the United States.
From the torture report, to the widespread perception among minorities that they are not being treated fairly by the justice system, we're getting bashed pretty good, both at home and overseas.
As we should. We are a great nation. We should be able to identify our flaws and work toward eliminating them. It is one of our strengths. We don't hide things under the rug and pretend they didn't happen. We are a nation of problem solvers. We identify a problem, then we go fix it.
The recent unnecessary deaths of several persons of color at the hands of law enforcement have raised not only protests but our nation's conscience. There are times it seems we are taking a step backward in civil rights. But the fact that these isolated incidents have not been swept under the rug, and the protests that followed them, shows we're actually moving forward. Peaceful protest is powerful.
Not all of it was peaceful. Some chose to take advantage of the frustration that occurred after some police, under cover of authority, chose to become judge, jury and executioner of Americans for minor or non-existent offenses. Those protestors who elected to riot and, like the police involved, were also a very small, non-representative minority, did no favors for those who seek to help this country reach its promise of freedom and justice for all.
As a nation, we are better than those few who still use race to stereotype fellow Americans and blame the victims, apparently arguing that inconsequential actions or minor crimes justify the death penalty.
We are better than those who choose to take advantage of the justifiable anger to unjustifiably burn and loot.
We are better than that.
In the same vein, we are always concerned when people start wrapping themselves in the flag to justify national errors, such as the use of torture. No amount of misguided "patriotism" can justify that.
The flag is a symbol, not a shield. It is a symbol of all that is right and good. And if it is tarnished, we will work to clean it and raise it once again from the highest point so all can see that it remains the symbol of right and good.
Nothing can justify torture as the policy of this nation. We cannot ever stoop to the level of brutality that distinguishes ourselves from our enemies, for if we do, the distinction disappears.
Torture is wrong.
We are better than that.
As a great nation, we must be willing to take a few risks to ensure our greatness. We cannot justify using torture to try and eliminate risks.
We are better than that. We are stronger and braver and better than that.
We are better than all the flaws we have been forced to face in recent weeks. And we show that by admitting to those flaws and working to make sure they don't happen again.
We are better than anyone on the outside looking in could believe. Because, fundamentally, we actually believe in everything for which the flag and the Constitution stand. No errors will stop us from our march toward achieving the ideals that we cherish.
Because, we are better than all of that.
-- Kelly Everitt