Derrick Parks: Blood will spill

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The recent events in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and a plethora of other incidents and lives impacted across the nation, coupled with the removal of the confederate statues, makes it clear that we are a deeply divided nation. I am an American. I am a citizen of the United States. I am a former assistant police chief in Maryland. Above all else, my fear is that as a nation our trajectory is headed towards catastrophic civil unrest that will lead to blood spilling in the streets.

Perhaps now more than ever Republicans and Democrats share little common ground. This reality has halted any semblance of discourse or progress, instead we find ourselves mired in conflict with no end in sight. Each side of the aisle has its own narrative it seeks to reinforce while intentionally polarizing and revving up its base. Law and order is anything but that these days. Rioting and looting has taken on new life and an emblematic byproduct of our fractured political system.  Where do we go from here?

It is my belief that a portion of the Republican establishment fans the flames of their radical base as a last ditch effort to retain the semblance of power. This effort is driven by one word: fear. The fear of losing the majority – the majority of power, position, control and standing. Whereas the Democrats, in concert with movements like Black Lives Matter, #metoo, amongst others, have reached a boiling point where the tolerance of any position that is unfair, unequal or viewed as mistreatment is cause for protest. This stems from years of taking a back seat to the establishment. In this equation the Republican party is the establishment. This confluence of factors presents a perfect storm for what may be the biggest US divide since the Civil War.

With the upcoming divisive 2020 Presidential election this November, both parties, the right and left, are doing what they deem necessary to rally their respective bases and get them to the polls. Both parties are equally desperate to win and this desperation is sure to ignite tensions before votes are tallied and a winner declared.

Our political system is broken. Win at all costs, divide and conquer is the name of the game.  Was it always this way? Maybe. But this election season seems more brutal than ever. The toll it will take on our country is unknown, but it will be great and the carnage real. At a time like this we need true leaders, and leadership from both sides of the aisle to transcend the turbulence. No one side has all the answers or is always right, however, through dialogue, compromise and actually taking the time to truly listen to one another we can accomplish more.  This is not a novel idea, but we find ourselves in a position where we need to go back to the basics for the sake of our nation.

Derrick Parks is the CEO of Metropolitan Protective Services Inc. and a former assistant chief of police in Maryland.

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