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Why Two plus Two was Four

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The police want to make protesting legal again. This makes sense on several levels. One of the main reasons to join the force is to help. Help keep the order. Help protect the weak. Help society not fall into chaos by maintaining a mutually beneficial order where things make sense. Criminals get caught and go to jail, allowing good people to build lives. Lives that are protected by the diligence and nobility of the police. Basically, a community where you can take it for granted that two plus two is four.

Naturally, with any organisation there is corruption, but this is generally manageable and even begrudgingly accepted and excused by our need to believe in the magnanimous goal of the police department’s mission statement. To serve and protect. And while this might be only a myth, humans need myths, even more than facts, and the more noble the myth, the more we defend it. Religions wouldn’t exist without our eternal need for myths. Myths are how, in this vacuum of senselessness, we find the structure we need to build societies.

In the past, though, most of these societies have seen the many suffer, working long hours, often as slaves for the benefit of a chosen few. If the poor are lucky, these rulers are fair. If not, they suffer. But in our time, our inherited myths have seen us grow up in a democracy. A people’s republic built on the beautiful myth that all are created equal. A myth that has inspired entrepreneurs to work hard to help create a thriving economy. And economy where we have the money to maintain roads and sewer systems and gain weight as we move peacefully through our tranquil lives. Lives where our governments, who we know are corrupt, play the mutually beneficial game called, “We’ll pat your backs, and allow you to be free, if you’ll pat our backs as we eat from the trough of our country’s wealth.”

Now, though, things have changed. For some reason, a lot of the police are dressed like invading soldiers and carry various weapons they seem itching to use. For some reason, they have now turned on us, and not once but several times, from a fallen grandmother, that they pepper sprayed once down, to shooting peaceful protesters, and in our astonishment, we suddenly feel powerless, for who do you call to help you, when the ones attacking you are the police? The ripples from the fractures of this protective myth are unsettling, heart-breaking, and dangerous. For everything we hold dear, all that is, or was good about our community, our city, was protected by the dedication of these police officers. And in return for their dedication, the majority of us offered them our respect. Many of us taught our children to look up to them for protection, for in our society, along with the paramedics and the firies, they are our heroes.

Now they are being used as enforcers. Oh, if only they could pause and realise their great power, for by holstering their new weapons, by leaving their new armoured vehicles in their garages, and by lowering their plastic shields, they would see, that not only are we their parents and their siblings, their friends, and their children, but that we are crying out for their help. For it is they who can start healing our community by leading us out of this growing darkness of authoritarianism, with all its caustic lies, and help lead us back to a country of inclusion, tolerance, fair play and the grace of the mutually beneficial order they used to provide.

This is why we need to support this push by the police to make protests legal again. For whether these protests achieve their goals or not, we all know that protesting peacefully is a human right. A right, that in the past, saw our poor ancestors win the freedoms we were born into. Freedoms our grandparents fought to defend. Freedoms that allowed us to work together to build the World’s most liveable city. A precious right that our police force are honour bound to protect.

For in our democracy, they are our freedoms’ guardians. They are our guardians. An organization, that despite its faults, has the power to both destroy all that is good, or to ignore tyrants and instead, defend the fact that two plus two will only ever equal four. A fact, that once so well defended it will be forever enshrined, will become the repaired foundation our police officer’s myth. A deeply, nurturing, and protective myth, that will allow all of us, once again, to enjoy the great fortune we have of being Australians.

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