The wife in me wants everyone else to feel the way that all of this violence towards police makes me feel. But I get it. It doesn’t affect your heart the way that it does mine. And you worry that standing in support of police would somehow dilute your allegiance to a cause of anti-racism, that honestly, we all stand together on anyway. So, I’m going to say this. Fighting against racism doesn’t mean hating the police. Fighting against racism doesn’t mean being okay with burning down your city and being passive on how you feel about violence towards other people. I’m not sure who told you that supporting the police also means that you support racism, but it’s not true. In case you need a reminder, YOU get to decide what supporting the police means. Not anyone else.
what it feels like to be a police wife right now…
Being a police wife right now feels like I’m trying to exist somewhere that doesn’t want to create a space for me. It’s like the world has decided that my husband and his job represent something that is so far from who we truly are as people, and my voice could never be loud enough to change that perception – and it’s honestly maddening. It’s like I can see the path that this overwhelming hatred towards police is creating, especially in younger generations, and it’s sad. I know in my heart that this isn’t what people want the world to be like. But instead of helping to stop it, it feels like so many are allowing it, and living that in a very real way is scary.
As the wife of a cop, I want to remind you that police don’t go to work with the intent to hurt anyone. Not even anyone who is breaking the law. I never imagined that I’d be pleading with people to understand this part. I will tell you first-hand that instead they lay in bed at night…awake, going over every possible scenario, playing out everything in their head so that they and whoever they are dealing with can go home at the end of the day. Why are you falling for this idea that cops are the enemy here? Why are you falling for the idea that they somehow “deserve” whatever the rioters want to do to them, or whatever is chanted about them? I keep asking myself why we are standing on either side of this imaginary line anyway. And who drew it? Who got to say that there were only two choices in this and that you had to pick one side or the other?
I’ve read stories this week about states like Virginia who are trying to lessen the punishment of assaulting a police officer to just a misdemeanor instead of a more serious charge. I’ve read, with tears in my eyes, about rioters in Seattle who used cement to try and seal the door of a police precinct with officers inside after setting the building on fire. I’ve seen video of an officer in our state who got knocked out with a brick that was thrown at him, only to be mocked by laughter and chanting from those who did it. You guys. How can this not hurt your heart? I’m guessing that if you’re reading this it’s not you out there committing these terrible acts, but how could you not stand up against this? Where are the leaders of our cities who know right from wrong? These men and women wearing a uniform are humans. They are just like you. They are you. If you don’t know an officer right now, imagine that someday they could be your son or your daughter out there. And take it from me… right now, they feel like they are alone.
What would it take for you to care about the humans that are police officers the way that I do? If one of those officers was the one who saved your choking baby that one frantic day would you stand up for them then? If one of those cops was the first one there that night you were lying in bed and heard a window break and you wanted so badly to not be alone anymore, then would you want them to be treated with decency? If that officer was the one who helped pull you out of your car that night someone crossed the yellow line and hit you head-on, then would you think that they were deserving of your support?
The badge that my husband wears to work is a representation of the honorable way that he gives his heart to the community he serves, and the oath that he took to protect you. If you can’t see that he’s not your enemy by now, then I’m worried that you won’t until the day comes when you truly need him. You don’t have to like his profession. But I can ask you to respect his life, because we’re all humans. See him for what he is. Seek out the facts, not just the feelings. Respect the idea that cops have a right to want to live too. The issues we’re fighting for might be those of a system, but the consequences of hate are anything but – they’re personal. Remember that there are good, honorable police officers out there right now who could really use your support. Showing that to them doesn’t mean whatever the latest popular story in your news feed says it does. Nobody gets to decide that but you.