The audacity of safety and what it means for America’s democracy

History has authenticized just how relative one’s culture and individuality can be when maintaining safety and well being. In fact, from the time humans first began colonizing parts of the earth, that very raw desperation to maintain control of one’s environment had been what truly inclined our early ancestors to survive as long as they did. So why has our strive for safety and control become a window for corruption? 

With the world becoming more and more fluent and secure in the ways we communicate and empower ourselves via platforms such as the media and the internet, safety is becoming all the more relevant — however, it is beginning to come with a price.  

In order to counter the amount of danger that lies in vulnerability, humans have put in place systems of government and control that maintain law and order, provide safety, and, when in effect, combat danger. In fact, this is the very philosophy behind police forces, including law enforcement officers who are, on separate accounts, endangering the lives of countless people and systematically locking up people of color.

History continues to prove again and again that the strive for safety isn’t as black and white as many people see it to be. Much like the philosophy Daoism inspires, you can never truly eradicate a human reality, such as danger. One may attempt to maintain safety and suppress danger for a number of people, however, in doing so endanger the lives of countless others. 

For illustration purposes, imagine an incredibly prominent figure such as a governor or even president. One can imagine that in the case of emergency, most, if not all effort is going to be put into keeping that person safe. However, in doing so, the system is consequently depriving every other person in that scenario of their own safety. This same analogy can apply to a number of similar situations by replacing the people left behind with entire minority groups being overlooked. 

With the current state of the world, and COVID-19 taking a tremendous toll on America in particular, people are beginning to implement new techniques to offer safety to those who need it. For instance, many communities are enforcing the use of masks and precautions such as washing your hands regularly. While I am in no way implementing the ideology that these masks should not be given a large amount of acknowledgement and consideration, I do in many cases reconcile with what may be the effects of executing similar regulations into a society. While these dictates of protection may seem unbiased, enforcing new regulations into a community tends to come with a number of biases. 

For instance, some time back (according to a CBS news report) a Black man was inhumanely removed from a bus in Philadelphia simply on account of not wearing a mask. Essentially, we are looking at a police force trying to provide safety to those sitting in the bus by removing the man without a mask from the equation. However, this is also endangering the life and treatment of another human. 

Another example has been the use of riot glass. When riot glass was first used in the stores of many businesses around America, it carried with it a large social impact. In the aftermath of many Black Lives Matter protests, in which protestors had such a great deal of pent up anger that many stores and businesses were burned or looted, many businesses began their use of riot glass. However, while this allows many of these businesses to feel more comfortable within their environment, it came with a number of biases. For instance, as many people noticed, a large portion of the businesses use riot glass in black communities and neighborhoods. 

Moreover, the position in which America has implemented to account for this strive for safety in many ways undermines not only justice and equality, but foremost, tears down the basic principles of America’s democracy. The fact that we have a police force that both criminalizes being black, and puts itself in a position of sympathizing and abetting with groups such as the Proud Boys and other very predominantly white “patriotic” organizations really sheds light on the orientation of America. America’s position on account of offering safety and security to the Black and Brown community is not only flawed and corrupt, but remarkably one sided is truly indictable. In light of this, the power to change legislation and offer safety to not only half of America, but overlooked minorities as well as women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community exists in our willingness to vote, our right to a voice, as well as our audacity to truly take a stand for all of America.