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Real Clear Policy on 1/25/2021 by Marc Levin
Legitimacy is the currency of policing and democracy. There will never be enough police to be on every corner, but most Americans believe our government is legitimate and our laws are at least mostly just, and hence they follow them even when no one is looking. Most are also inclined to report crime and cooperate as witnesses.
Even so, a recent study found that only 30% of Black Americans trust police. Besides being a moral imperative, trust between police and communities is also a public safety one. Consider this: after highly publicized police shootings of Black Americans in Milwaukee, residents in these neighborhoods were less likely to report crimes.
Producing public safety is not a spectator sport, and neither is maintaining a democracy. Yet even with record turnout in 2020, a third of eligible Americans did not vote.
Much more ominously, the January 6 insurrection revealed how a dastardly delegitimization of our election supplied militias, white supremacists, and other dead-ender miscreants with the sense of grievance, entitlement, and license they needed not just to be barbarians at the gates, but heathens marauding through the temple of our democracy.