Bring Our Police & Communities Closer Together
By Frank Spotorno
As all Americans watch with sadness at the recent events in North Charleston, Ferguson and Staten Island, we should understand and realize that our police officers and the people in the communities they serve need to come closer together.
When I was young, we use to have Police Athletic League picnics and barbeques, and occasions where we can interact with our policemen and women, and learn that the police officer is our friend. In my hometown Yonkers, Mayor Mike Spano has created a “Stop and Shake” initiative, which encourages this type of positive interaction, and the Yonkers PAL does a great job with their programs and services.
But due to budget cuts, these types of programs are too few in our nation.
What we need is a national day of celebration for our first responders in communities across the country, and a true celebration of the overwhelming number of good police officers and the diverse communities they serve – which makes our country great.
We are no longer investing in the poverty-stricken communities that now see a rash of police shootings, and the real underlying cause for the troubles in many of our cities, towns and villages exist in the high rates of poverty and unemployment. With 42 percent of Americans living in poverty, something must be done to address the hopes and dreams of those who cannot find a job and who now occupy the new soup kitchens of America in the form of an EBT card to pay for their groceries.
And the underlying cause of poverty is the loss of millions of manufacturing American jobs over three decades of outsourcing by American corporations and from free trade agreements that have allowed these jobs to leave our shores. A lack of jobs in many communities has led to crime and despair.
Congress is to blame for our loss of jobs and for our national struggle to bring the police and the community together. By not properly funding our nation’s inner cities and small communities, the resulting poverty and decay has resulted in police officers choosing to live outside the communities they serve.
If our leaders in Washington can’t sit down and work out a “grand bargain” that raises the minimum wage, taxes billionaire hedge fund owners at the same tax rate all of us pay, and stops giving tax breaks to corporations that move jobs overseas, then they haven’t done their job.
Congress also needs to take a serious look at our defense budget and our funding of overseas nations that are no longer an ally of the U.S. Those dollars need to be used here at home to invest to repair the fears a growing majority of our people have with law enforcement.
If a family lives on a minimum wage salary, they are living in poverty, and the American taxpayers foot the bill. Increasing funding to welfare and food stamps isn’t the answer. The answer is to encourage American corporations to bring our jobs home.
Just like our police and first responders need to reach out more to the people they serve, our leaders in Washington need to sit down and work out a way to stand up for the American who hasn’t seen any of the economic recovery since 2008.
In the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Jimmy Stewart (Smith) tried to fight for a bill that would have funded the Boy Rangers program so that any child, regardless of gender or race, can enjoy a summer camp every year. The bill went down with 96 senators opposed.
That movie was in 1939, but do we see the same story playing in Washington today?
Remember, while our police and first responders must be held accountable for their actions, so should our elected officials in Washington. We need congress to set aside it squabbles and rebuild our communities with jobs and respect for young adults and our first responders. We can’t allow a large portion of Americans to be fearful of those sworn to protect them.
Let us vow to find a way to bring our police and community together, and lets also find a way to make sure every American has what I had – a chance at a job and the American dream.
Join me in this effort by visiting www.bringourjobshome.com, and help us find someone who will go to Washington and fight for us.
Frank Spotorno is a small businessman and an American manufacturer of elevator cabs. He is the founder of Bringourjobshome.com.