In my travels around the world, I have experienced many cultures and encountered people of various races, religions, ethnicities, political persuasions, sexual orientation, social status, etc. It is very clear to me that no single group has a lock on virtue.
Whenever two or more people occupy the same space, there will be conflict regardless of how alike or different they may be. The question is, how do they resolve their differences. Do they find a way to coexist, or do they destroy each other?
America has done more to overcome past injustices and right wrongs than any other society that I am aware of. The America we live in today is not the same America of 1860 or even 1960. We have come a mighty long way, including here in the great State of Georgia and our beloved Atlanta.
I love the Southern way of life. I love the accents, the food, the hospitality, the patriotism, the faith and fidelity to family and community. I’m very proud of the progress the South has made on race relations and economic development while maintaining common-sense governance. Is there more to do? Certainly, but let’s start by acknowledging how far we have come. We can debate the best way forward, but we must keep things in perspective and our debates must be factual, not emotional, and cordial, not confrontational.
In order to unite our city we must treat everyone the same; everyone must be judged by one set of rules and held to the same standards. There cannot be one standard for Blacks and another for Whites or Asians or Hispanics; there must be one for everybody. We have to stop allowing politicians and others to divide us by race (and gender, sexual orientation, etc.). Too many people, both Black and White, have struggled, suffered, and even given their lives to bring us to where we are, and we must not dishonor their legacy by ignoring the hard-won progress we enjoy today.
Individuals should only be judged on two traits: first as Dr. King stated, by the content of their character, and second, by the merit of their actions and abilities. Race, religion, ethnicity should not play a role.
We must stop making excuses for failure. There is no excuse for lawlessness or thuggish behavior… none! To effectively address the out-of-control crime our solutions must be based on actual virtue and not virtue signaling.
In our city, it is just a plain fact that the majority of violent crimes are committed by young Black males. This is not a question for debate, the data is very clear. The discussion should be about why is this the case, and how do we address it. It is a complex issue, and we are never going to solve it until we first acknowledge reality and then work to develop viable solutions based on facts and demonstrable results.
I look forward to having constructive discussions with my fellow Atlantans on how we can resolve the challenges we face and make Atlanta safer and better for everyone.
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