The Christian Science Monitor : 2020-12-07

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29 30 31 32 33 33 Editorials Global Patterns by Ned Temko Global Newsstand The Home Forum In a Word A Christian Science Perspectiv­e PERSPECTIV­ES ON THE WORLD “First the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.” America’s new pastime: Police reform W hen a society turns to fingerpoin­ting, which seems to be a pastime in America these days, the rush to blame can obscure progress. Partisan battles over the pandemic, protests over racial injustice, and contested election results portray, to one point of view, a house divided. Yet plenty of evidence exists that American society is striving to be more democratic and compassion­ate. The most obvious example is the diligent effort by local officials and countless volunteers to ensure an orderly, fair, and transparen­t election. A less apparent but no less significan­t example is the momentum to reform police department­s in order to prevent unjust killings like that of George Floyd in May. Ten cities and four counties put 20 police reform measures on the Nov. 3 ballot across eight states. Voters approved all of them. Those initiative­s are by no means a complete list of the reforms underway. Local governing councils across the country are taking steps without direct voter initiative. These efforts include both new and old ideas. In Los Angeles County, Measure J will divert at least 10% of the county’s general fund to “community developmen­t” and alternativ­es to incarcerat­ion. In San Francisco, Propositio­n E will remove mandatory levels for police staffing. Other measures around the United States require dash and body cameras for police, ban chokeholds, and rule out “no knock” warrants. The most popular reform involves closer citizen review of police policies and actions through advisory commission­s. Such commission­s are not new. There are more than 150 nationwide. Many serve as a check on the power of police unions that often lead to the protection of errant officers. Polls show a majority of Americans seek to strengthen rather than “defund” police department­s. “For me, it’s about the kind of world we want to leave behind and how policing would look 10 or 20 years from now,” the Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, a co-director of Power Interfaith in Philadelph­ia, America’s racial history has shaped policing. Yet just as important is what police face on the streets. In the two weeks following the election, there were more than 2,500 incidents of violence involving guns, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Gun sales have surged over the past year. Just since the election, 15 officers have been shot or killed in the line of duty. From the ballot box to city hall, this year has brought overdue scrutiny to law enforcemen­t. Debates over how officers conduct themselves should ripen into new partnershi­ps between citizens and police. Demonizing the police is no more productive than demonizing the protesters of police brutality. Reimaginin­g policing to ensure a just and compassion­ate society is a project all Americans can serve and protect. THE MONITOR’ S V I E W told Vox News. His colleague, Bishop Dwayne Royster, is more succinct. “I think the community wants healing,” he told the Los Angeles Times. The recent videos of fatal encounters between police and civilians have stirred action to reduce an experience far too common for Black citizens. A new space has opened to understand and address the way r Iraq, Saudi Arabia span a divide A key desert crossing at the heart of the Middle East reopened Nov. 18, three decades after being closed. At the Arar transit point, Saudi Arabia began to allow vehicles from Iraq to cross the 505-mile border. It was a tangible sign of a growing tolerance between Shiitedomi­nated Iraq and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia – and a counterpoi­nt to Iran’s religious aggression in the region. Just days before the opening, leaders of the two Arab nations issued a statement citing “the need to keep the region away from tensions.” That is quite a contrast to Saudi Arabia writing off Iraq as a “lost cause” in 2003 after Shiites took power in Baghdad following the ouster of Saddam Hussein. The border was first closed in 1990 after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. A rapprochem­ent between the two oil giants has been five years in the making. It reflects other shifts in the Mideast, such as recent recognitio­n of Israel by a few more Arab states and a restless youth mobilized on social media. At a practical level, Iraq needs Saudi investment­s to provide jobs and to recover from a devastatin­g war with the Islamic State. Saudi Arabia seeks to counter Iran’s strong hand in Iraq. Yet each shows a willingnes­s to curb the historic Sunni-Shiite rivalry in the Middle East. As a struggling democracy, Iraq is now better able to balance the interests of its Sunni and Shiite population­s. And Saudi Arabia is trying to show a new face of moderate Islam. The line of cargo trucks at the Iraq-Saudi border was more than a sign of commercial exchange. The two countries “follow the same religion and share the same interests and challenges,” said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And, he might have added, it’s about time they show it. THE MONITOR’ S V I E W r THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | DECEMBER 7, 2020 29 PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW