Ret. Brig Gen USAF: Let the Protests Continue Until the War on Racism is Won

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Ret. Brig. Gen. Reg Urchler. miitary general in a small plane.
Retired Brig. Gen. Reg Urschler in his vintage P-51 warplane, named Gunfighter. Urschler celebrating his 80th birthday in 2015.

“It is time for the riots and protests to stop!!!” 

Sorry, but I disagree with this statement. 

I most strongly would agree riots, looting, shooting, burning, use of projectiles, on both sides, must stop!

I do not agree the protests should stop. 

Peaceful protests should go on until the nation receives concrete confirmation that this time, a viable, monitored and enforced commitment by both political parties to ensure the people get more than just lip service, as they have in previous instances.

Politicians’ feet must be held to the fire (no pun intended, believe me) which threatens their individual survival at election time. That is somethingthey understand! Message received…LOUD AND CLEAR!

Pressure can be applied through implied threats to not compete, or even actual implementation, by black athletes who are professional, semi-professional, or college level, as well as participants in sports functions by athletes at all levels, supported by their white teammates and coaches.

Similar actions by influential business executives, both black and white, along with entertainment executives and performers would also further the message. Parents, grandparents, blue-collar-workers, teachers, school administrations, school boards, retired politicians, journalists, political pundits and other influential professional individuals must coalesce and stand together to send an unmistakable, very clear, bipartisan signal.

This is an all-hands-to-action call!

No giveaways, no free lunches, but a coordinated, monitored and enforced plan, deployed through an American Volunteer Peace Corps-type of structure, composed of folks from within and outside the areas desperately in need of guidance, support and opportunity, to address those areas where we can begin educating the children of all races and improving the lives of those who truly want a chance to resolve one of this great nation’s major flaws.

We have to stop teaching hatred, fear, uncertainty, prejudice and bias, and I suggest we can, and must accomplish it by giving our people a chance for ownership and skin in the game.

It begets, and teaches, pride, respect and responsibility through ownership and all the attendant attributes necessary to make a difference.

Will it be easy? Hell, no. Was World War II easy? How about Korea, Viet Nam, Grenada, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, etc? Was going to the moon easy? Did they all – ALL – not require sacrifices and some, unfortunately, continue to do so?

Who are we? Are we really what we claim to be? Are we really the greatest, most generous, most forgiving nation (but with the shortest memory) on the planet or are we just pissing in the wind? Blowing smoke up each other’s skirts? Giving each other a feel-good moment as we sit back and monitor the stock market and our investments and collect the residue? “I got mine, baby. You get your own!”

Are we really serious about this? All of us? Or will this yet again be forgotten with the passage of time and overcome by events (OBE) guaranteed by the history of the electorate’s short memory span known and exploited by those who occupy positions of power? (See George Santayana 1863-1952, “Those who choose….”).

The continued violence only confirms the far right position calling for more restrictions, use of force (“vicious dogs and weapons you wouldn’t believe”) and the justification of additional impositions on those already protesting.

The far right wins against their perceived enemy, the far left (both guilty as charged), and then we discover (surprise!) that we once again have proved we have not learned our history lesson, eventually discovering ourselves convening in the streets, rather than at the table…to protest in anger and frustration. (George Santayana, 1863-1952)

Will it happen? Who are we kidding? How dumb, pliable and susceptible to emotional manipulation to both left and right are we? Don’t answer, please. We demonstrate it, repeatedly, every two or four years! It’s called Election Day!

This is not the time for blame, recriminations, accusations and gloating. It’s time we got our “Sierra” together and got serious.

To what extent do we as a society expend and employ great efforts to save one life...just one life...and throw away so many more?

What does it take? Backbone, Leadership, Courage, Sacrifice, Dedication, Involvement, Commitment. We have it. We’ve demonstrated it over and over again when the chips were down. Can we do it again? Do we have the guts?

Bottom line…BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Reg Urschler is a retired Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force.

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