Article first published as Open Letter to Cenk Uygur on Technorati.
I started blogging because of the consistently terrible, uninformed media coverage of public safety stories.
This situation is exemplified by one of the most influential (unfortunately) independent progressive commentators around, founder of The Young Turks and former MSNBC commentator Cenk Uygur. His handling of the story about the police officer caught on camera having sex in uniform was boorish and uninformed beyond the pale. So I called him out.
He dismisses my argument, apparently because he couldn’t be bothered to read the 400-word statement himself. Here it is again in 200 of my lowly words.
A uniformed officer is a literal embodiment of a governmental entity. As a government entity personified, the officer must surrender his or her own humanity in order to treat each citizen equally on behalf of the state. In order to preserve the integrity (ethical wholeness) of the agency, uniformed officers must embody the canon of jurisprudence. The uniform itself is a physical manifestation, reminder and statement of this relationship, not unlike wearing a wedding ring.
An officer yields his or her humanity, accepting the state’s authority in exchange for a promise of personal impulse control. Integrity is an all-or-nothing proposition. Turning a blind eye to willful breach of duty establishes a precedent of corruption. We cannot condemn officers whose lack of impulse control leads to brutality, while excusing those whose impulses run toward sexual misconduct, theft, or other criminal activities, so long as we’re amused by their antics.
To summarize, uniformed personnel are embodied government entities with unique rights (lesser) and responsibilities (greater). Unacceptable response within protocol is the failure of the agency, not the individual (as you got so terribly wrong in Obion County and Alameda). States do not have sex, therefore uniformed officer Bert Lopez is derelict of duty. Presumption of innocence does not apply here, even if you find the behavior sexy.
I hope that clears it up for you.
Xavier Onassis, EMT-P