On Sunday December 20th, 2015, TV Host and personality Steve Harvey had a bad night. By now, everyone knows that during the crowning moment, quite literally, of the Miss Universe Pageant, Mr. Harvey announced the wrong winner, causing what became quite the awkward moment.
Despite doing what little he could to recover, the initial shock began to echo around social media and it gained steam...quickly. From memes to comments of scorn and outrage, the world quickly turned on Steve Harvey, who ultimately did something each of us do regularly: made a mistake.
You see, the truth is that we are all Steve Harvey. Each and every one of us has not only made mistakes, we've even intentionally done things to hurt someone else, their feelings or otherwise. Most of us are just fortunate that our worst gaffs haven't had a couple dozen video cameras rolling to ensure that the moment could be relived forever. The reality is that our misdeeds, misstatements and our general proclivity toward all things imperfection, isn't just a TV Host thing but it's a human thing.
But Steve Harvey did what many are unwilling to do, which was to not only recognize that he was in the wrong but to admit it and take the heat for it without trying to qualify and excuse himself. Because just as it is universally certain that we will make another mistake in our futures, so is the need for forgiveness and acceptance. No, that doesn't mean that our actions don't have consequences, but it is all too easy to try and make ourselves feel better about our own flaws by highlighting and focusing on the flaws of others. It's not too different than the school yard bully picking on others because he really lacks self-confidence himself. It's a sad irony that plays out again and again on social media, where people will hold others to a standard they know inside they themselves can never keep.
But what does all of this have to do with cops? Isn't this a "police page"?
Cops are all too familiar with this trend of easy criticism as they have become popular cultural scapegoats in 2014 and 2015. Instead of a pageant camera or live television feed, it is a dash cam or brief sound bites from "eye witnesses" after the fact. Rather than accept that cops, too, are human and certain to err, people find law enforcement officers and easy scape goat to portray themselves as floating on their cloud of perfection. Critics take the easy way out by expecting cops to be more than human because it allows them to keep up appearances as being better than they know themselves to be. Critics take the easy way when they have hours to mull over a situation that provided an officer mere seconds or less. Critics are afforded the ability to hide behind a keyboard while rarely offering something of substance to the world occupied by people looking face to face.
We will be the first to admit that cops are not perfect, nor should we expect them to be. Cops, after all, are not machines (which also fail regularly...being made by imperfect humans and all); they are flesh and blood. And while most police officers certainly strive for integrity in their profession, the best ones will recognize their shortcomings and treat other people accordingly. In other words, it will make them better public servants because good character isn't just for cops, but for the best of everyone else too.
Cops and the community has never been intended as an either or proposition. It can't be because we're in this together. The high road waits in front of us.
UPDATE: It seems Mr. Harvey is still able to have a good sense of humor and not take himself too seriously. I think we can all learn from that:
Merry Easter y'all! ??? pic.twitter.com/Z6Xjj5Ehqg— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) December 25, 2015