An Independence Day Hat Tip to America’s Police Officers

As those of us who are not leftist ingrates celebrate Independence Day, it is important to remember and thank our men and women of the armed services for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. Yet, it is well to remember and thank another crucial group of uniformed individuals. who also sacrifice to keep us safe—America’s police officers.

Recently, I had the chance to visit with members of one of my home state’s police organizations. It has been a rough couple of years for them. While the radical chic of attacking the police and demanding they be defunded has somewhat abated, my friends reminded me that dangers wrought by this injurious policy have only managed to dent, not end, its advocacy. 

Attacks on police officers persist, though the media is often muted in their coverage of these crimes. Where there is coverage of law enforcement, one finds a slew of hostile public rhetoric directed with impunity at all police officers. Not surprisingly, then, many police departments find their recruitment levels are down, and the caliber of applicants is plummeting. Even with increases in starting salaries and other benefits, local departments are finding it difficult to counter the national political narrative that the police are the problem and criminals are the victims; and to convince young people that law enforcement is a profession worthy of pursuit. My friends also noted with disappointment how both Democratic and Republican elected officials had been, shall we say, less than steadfast in their recent support of our men and women in blue. 

Regrettably, all of these problems can lead to instances of police misconduct that will receive intense media attention—and rightly so. But, given the dearth of articles ascribing credit to police officers when they do their jobs well, these tragedies are falsely portrayed as the norm. For police officers, who risk their lives every day to protect and serve the public, they must now add to their list of hazards the prospect of being falsely accused of misconduct and/or publicly doxxed because of their jobs—all without a shard of due process in the skewed court of public opinion. In consequence, police officers are confronted with the conundrum of either risking their careers, limbs, and lives to perform their duty, or of playing it safe and staying employed and out of jail by doing nothing. And this choice confronts police officers at the very time crime rates are rising.

When the late conservative philosopher Russell Kirk listed the prerequisites for a republic, he prioritized them as “order, justice, freedom.” The reason order was paramount? There can be no justice in the midst of disorder; and there can be no liberty, merely license, in the midst of Darwinian anarchy. Without an ordered soul, there can only be chaos in the individual and in the nation.

In our free republic, the ultimate guardians of order and justice are our free people. Yet, since human beings are not angels, the next defense is America’s police officers. With great courage and, yes, at great sacrifice for themselves and their loved ones, they do their duty and do it well, often despite the efforts of fair weather elected officials, a sensationalized corporate and social media, and a vocal sliver of the public they serve. These officers are our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens who guard our liberty and security around our hearths and homes. And, if these police officers didn’t do their jobs, our military’s citizen-soldiers would be out of their jobs—for there would be no America worth defending or defeating.

So, this Independence Day, take a moment to thank a local police officer, whether they are off duty relaxing next to you at a fireworks display or in uniform ensuring public safety at the event. After all, in the latter case and unlike you, they’re working—for us, our families, and our free republic.

So, to America’s police officers: Have a happy and safe Independence Day, and thank you. 

About Thaddeus G. McCotter

The Hon. Thaddeus McCotter is the former chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee, current itinerant guitarist, American Greatness contributor, and Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show."

Photo: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

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