The old saying, ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right,’ renounces wrongful conduct and responds to the wrongdoing of others. However, can three, four, five or six wrongs make a right?
Some would argue that trillions of wrongs together can’t make one right. Meanwhile, right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Another approach would be to follow Saint Augustine who said in any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst you can do is nothing.
Wrongs don’t make rights. It’s all about the journey, not cutting corners to get what you want. The shaping of considerations is the shaping of our moral character. Another input on this subject comes to us from the writings of President Theodore Roosevelt. He wrote, the probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
Amidst the cries for justice throughout the nation, in the poignant case of an African-American, George Floyd, formerly of Minneapolis, who was murdered by a police officer in that city, who held his knee into Floyd’s neck until he expired, has resulted in violent clashes with police, the burning of squad car, and the looting of businesses across the country. The murder of Floyd, say those who protest, comes after years and years (some argue 400 years or the arrival in the Americas of the first slave ship) of racial injustice and brutality at the hands of law enforcement whose actions and behaviors have reached and exceeded the boiling point.
President Lyndon Johnson got civil rights right, those that had been pending for 100 years but dropped the ball in 1968 when protests regarding the war in Vietnam overwrought him in the spring of that year. Subsequently he abrogated his responsibilities, bowed out of power and wouldn’t run for president again. Our current president, Donald Trump, given an opportunity to assert his leadership in face of the riots, lootings and burnings, currently underway throughout the country, has either been quiet or used tweets to let the protestors know that he will use “vicious dogs, ominous weapons and shoot protesters” should they come near the White House where he has gone at times during the uproars to hide in a bunker in its basement while calling on his base of supporters to put on their MAGA caps and come to the executive mansion to praise him.
By abrogation again, the nation’s president has given up the opportunity and responsibility to make wrongs right. That opportunity and responsibility now defaults to our local officials throughout the land, including the states’ governors, mayors, police chiefs and the many other officials who can and should get together to make certain that persons of color as well as Native Americans receive the same, equal levels of treatment, enforcement, consideration and justice made available to white Americans.
Meanwhile, to calm and bring order to those practicing their Constitutional right to peacefully assembly to protest—while those into raging violence and extreme disorder are shut down—the four who were party to the demise of George Floyd must be arrested and brought to trial. As soon as possible, reforms throughout the country, not now established in rules and regulations of police conduct, must be set in place and administered fairly and equally everywhere in the U.S.