Bad is Bad

Johnny-on-the-Spot

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In the fall of 1983, Huey Lewis and the News released one of the finest albums ever recorded.

“Sports” became the top album on the Billboard Top 200 list the following June

.The album was loaded with songs that fill the playlists of Classic Hits and/or Classic Rock stations nearly 40 years later.

One of the big singles on that album is one of my personal favorites…”Bad is Bad”.

Huey sang, “I said cool is a rule, but, sometimes bad is bad.”

So, 36 years later, why do I recall the prophet Huey and his “Sports” album?

Because, today, “Cool is a rule, but, sometimes bad is bad.”

Most of us have viewed the video of the arrest in  Minneapolis.

My initial reaction to is to think, the act depicted was criminal.

But I also believe we have a system in this country whereby everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

For our system to work, some buy-in is important.

My reason for presenting this is not to judge guilt or innocence but to suggest there are procedures to be followed.

Allow me to also suggest there are differences between “protest” and “looting”.

By definition, “protest” is a “statement or action expressing disapproval of, or objection to something.”

“Looting” is defined as to “spoils or plunder taken by pillaging, as in war; anything taken by dishonesty, force, stealth, etc; a burglar’s loot.”

My  Webster’s Pocket Thesaurus tells me “protest” can be a noun; meeting, rally, demonstration or dissent.

It can also be a verb; object, demur, disagree or oppose.

My thesaurus also says “looting” could be referred to as plunder, steal, thieve, rifle or rob.

As a young man, I can imagine my parents’ reaction if I walked into the house toting a “receipt-free” TV and a new pair of shoes.

This once young man remembers the 60’s and I vividly recall the race riots that left large portions of many cities smoldering.

I also remember the marches lead by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who suggested non-violent means to achieve the greater good.

Sixty-plus years later, I doubt anyone can recall the name of  any individual who tossed a brick or looted a business but I would argue we do remember the efforts of Dr. King.

He said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.”

Lifting a bruised and beaten brother should not be confused with lifting something from a store shelf after using your cement block key.

Are things perfect today?

No.

Are they better?

Yes.

But my life mantra has always been, “The cup is half-full.”

My fear is that reasonable people of all ilks, outraged by the action of a Minneapolis police officer have had their focus muddied by other videos of folks ransacking businesses and defacing property that quite often belongs to all of us.

I fail to find a clean connection between the two actions.

Bad response to a bad cop.

Anne Bradstreet said, “Authority without wisdom is like a heavy ax without an edge; fitter to bruise than to polish.”

I’d like to share another observation I’ve had.

“Protests” take place in the light of day’

Rioting, violence and vandalism prefer the dark of night.

How much positive stuff in our lives happens after midnight?

I would be so bold as to suggest very little.

Some would argue that the actions we’ve viewed is nothing more than “civil disobedience”.

By definition, civil disobedience is a noun, defined as “the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest.”

My trusty thesaurus suggests we can also substitute insubordination, defiance, insurgence, mutiny, revolt, rebellion or noncompliance for civil disobedience.

I’m having a problem including folks walking out of retail establishments with items not paid for as somehow truly aiding a cause that needs discussed and acted on.

How does it help?

Cooler heads must prevail.

Will they?

Time will tell.

Winston Churchill said,  “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”

Well-stated Mr. Churchill!

I’ve quoted a line from “The Ox-Bow Incident” when Walter Van Tilburg Clark states, “We desire justice, and justice has never been obtained in haste and strong feeling.”

Another quote, this one anonymous reminds us, “Your problem isn’t the problem; your reaction is the problem.”

So, to bring Huey Lewis and the News back into the discussion, remember, “Bad is bad.”

The action that provoked the response was bad.

But the response, the reaction, was also bad.

If you can’t grasp that, this next quote from an unknown pundit will help.

“Anyone who doesn’t think there are two sides to an argument is probably in one.”

Do I have the answers?

No.

But I hate to see the real issue get blocked out by noise.

This country has been through challenges and we will figure this out.

Why do I know that?

Because in just two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.

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