- - Sunday, June 28, 2020

I condemn the manner of George Floyd’s death. I do not, however, condemn all law enforcement because of the reprehensible actions of one cop, and I believe that current destructive efforts will do nothing but harm attempts to address the actions of generations past. 

We should refuse to capitulate to those who also want to destroy or rewrite our past — good or bad. We cannot go forward by erasing our history because we cannot make our future different without accepting it.  

We also cannot create a better future without rational debate and conversation. How is America to seek change when no real discussion is possible in the current climate? My background is in science. In the scientific world, a state of change is defined by the withdrawal of heat to allow something to transform from a liquid to a solid. In today’s environment, we must find a way to withdraw the heat of anger and the influence of disruptive motives before we can solidify real change.

Destruction is not free speech. It is anarchy. The present state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority will not bring about positive transformation. The author of “1984,” George Orwell, participating in protests against authority himself came to realize that the destructive forces within that resistance movement were not about change for the good of all and the nation, but were actually using that protest to instate an authoritarian regime of its own. 

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped … Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

America is not a perfect nation. Yet, those who know history know that no country or government in the history of the world has given its citizens the freedoms we enjoy in America. No nation has ever gone to war with itself to ensure those freedoms apply to all its citizens. Because as a nation and a people who have in previous generations been taught our history, good and bad, we continuously strive to correct our flaws.

The rights of American citizens are unique in all the world. Those rights, among them the “freedom of speech” and “freedom of assembly,” which allow for the ongoing protests, were written by the very men whose statues and monuments are being toppled and defaced.   

Blaming long-dead generations and current national leaders for decades of mismanagement by Democratic local governments in our major cities is an attempt to shift responsibility, not seek solutions. The authority to address the issues needing reform in these cities has been theirs for decades.  

America, we have a problem, and failure to solve it is not an option. It is time to dedicate ourselves to the “unfinished work” that President Lincoln spoke of at Gettysburg. It is time to heed the eloquent and wise counsel of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “we must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

It is for that reason that I will strive as a member of Congress to work toward the restoration of rational debate and a working relationship with those across the aisle who will stand up for the unity of this country rather than acquiescing to the forces who seek to divide us and destroy our national unity. Only then will we be able to go forward with real solutions to heal our land. 

• Brian Babin is a Republican U.S. representative from Texas.

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