INSIDER COLUMN: The More Things Change

My relaxation TV binge of late has been reruns of the 90’s- 2000’s ABC series NYPD Blue. The big take away for me is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It’s interesting seeing the same issues we discuss today being hashed out through the eyes of a NYPD detective squad. Crime, conflict, religion, racial strife, politics, it’s all there.

The lesson to me is that the human condition doesn’t change. Every generation faces the same things because people are people. What changes is how we react and respond to them.

Watching these excellent actors portray men and women handling other people’s conflicts and problems while dealing with their own in various ways is revealing. We all, no matter what we do, have stresses and conflict in our lives. Society does what it does and life rolls right on by regardless of our individual concerns. Only those closest to us can see, offer to help or really even care. It’s life and it’s happening to all of us every day.

Real life cops deal with this every day, handling other people’s problems while also handling their own. It takes a special strength to do that. Only they have the added stress of people hating them just because they wear the badge.

But it goes beyond being hated. It takes on the extra element these days of being the target of the very people they are sworn to protect. That people upset with “the system” see the cops as the bad guys shows a lack of insight on the part of those people. It also shows their inability to handle the things in their lives that are stressing them. They act out to find blame somewhere other than in themselves.

Frustration turns into protests that turn into riots that wreak havoc, destruction and death on our communities. That the cause is often not based in fact is of no consequence to those wielding the violence. It also makes no difference to the cops facing it. They deal with it no matter why it’s going on. It may not be right, but that’s how it is.

This kind of unrest will eventually fade. The streets will calm and we’ll see less of the conflict that dominates today’s news.

And for the men and women on the job things will go back to what it always is- handling other people’s problems while dealing with their own lives and the issues we all face.

The more things change, the more people will be people and the human condition will continue...

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