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July 10, 2020

6/23/2020 2:27:00 PM
It's time to turn down the volume

Dear Editor:
The Dodgeville Chronicle is serving our community well. Your excellent article describing the Cry for Justice rally at the Courthouse two weeks ago was a real inspiration.
As the Chronicle article reported, the 2020 Dodgeville High school class organized the event. It was so heartening to watch these young people and their supporters take their citizenship responsibilities seriously. They are obviously well aware of the ugly divide that is ripping our country apart, stirring up fear and hatred.
Many were waving signs that read "White Silence is Violence," "Anti Bigotry," "Police Reform Now" and "Black Lives Matter." Many - but not all -- cars and trucks passing on Iowa Street honked their support.
As adults, we have to ask ourselves: What are we doing to fix what's wrong in our world?
For one thing, each of us should stop listening to the same loud, angry leaders and commentators who are constantly fomenting division and start listening to our children and grandchildren who will inherit the world we are creating with our actions - or inactions.
Being an American is hard work. It means thinking for ourselves - not turning over the job to people who are eager to think for us. It means facing our fears. It means listening. When we hear a term such as "Defund the Police", it's so easy to be suddenly terrified that security will be gone forever - to be blinded by our fears. That's exactly what many of our leaders are hoping we'll do.
But there's another way. Defund doesn't mean unfund. It means rethinking how our police respond to community needs. It means rethinking the billions of dollars that are flooding into private companies that are building more and more jails - which then must be filled. It means decreasing the power of police unions that are protecting our bad cops and not doing justice to our good cops. It means working hard to find a more humane way to serve all Americans. It means American police should no longer be warriors -- wielding military gear. They are meant to protect and serve as they do so ably in southwest Wisconsin.
It's time to turn down the volume and start being Americans who are interested in coming together to fix problems.
Shirley Barnes

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