Low morale is permeating police departments across our nation as protesters repeatedly vilify, demonize, and verbally attack the thin blue line.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers was a shameful and unacceptable crime that has stunned our nation. I grieve for the Floyd family and for the pain that Mr. Floyd’s death has caused all Americans.

I want Americans of all races, backgrounds, and circumstances to have equal opportunities and to be treated fairly and equally under the law. However, it is a mistake to conclude that the riots, looting, and widespread violence since George Floyd’s death are moving the conversation forward to remedy racial disparities within sectors of our society. Instead, the tragedy that is Mr. Floyd’s death has been hijacked by radicals who are working to destabilize America through bullying and choreographed chaos.

We must ask ourselves what kind of society are we becoming? I reject the idea that our local police forces or America as a whole are inherently or irredeemably racist. America is not a perfect nation, but no nation is. And, America has come a long way in its relatively short history — all the while leading the rest of the world on humanity’s long march toward freedom.

We recognize that two things can be true at once: that we have made progress, but that progress can still be made. That discrimination exists, but that our nation is not systemically discriminatory.

Abolitionism, Women’s Suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement all suggest we are a nation that learns and grows from the blights of our past. And, while the fight to stamp out racism everywhere it exists is ongoing, we have taken the critical steps, from a law and order perspective, to address that challenge.

The “defund the police” movement and calls for “cop-free zones” are part of a dangerous plan to undermine civil society. Lawlessness without police equals crime, murder, and the destruction of our democracy. Defunding the police would make America less safe and is a dangerous and unworkable solution to a very serious problem.

I will not support the defunding of our police or the dismantling of our police. We will not turn our streets over to lawless criminals and gangs.

President Trump recently shed light on the fact that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on “training” where federal employees are told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or where they are required to say that they “benefit from racism.” The founding of our nation is based on the principle of fair and equal treatment of all Americans, but that is not being reflected in our very own bureaucracy. State and local governments need to be focused on combating issues in their specific communities and it is up to Legislative and Executive Branches to fix these issues plaguing our federal agencies. As your representative, I have the responsibility to understand problems facing our country and determine if a legislative solution is the right direction, and if so, take action.

I support open, fair, and rational public debates about how to minimize opportunities for discrimination, maximize accountability, and do our best to keep Americans safe from all threats of harm. But if we do not support our police and stand up to this unprecedented violence, we will lose our democracy. We must use our freedom to defend our freedom or we will lose our freedom.

John Rose represents the Sixth Congressional District of Tennessee.

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