By now you’ve likely heard about Senator Maureen Walsh and her regrettable comment suggesting nurses likely spend most of their time, “playing cards all day.”
Her exact quote was, “By putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals, I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
I understand that politicians sometimes say things they don’t mean. They sometimes put their foot in their mouth, because they’re speaking about a topic they may not be experts in. I realize they may get emotional and say something they regret. I truly get it. It happens. They’re human. Just like police officers.
So how does this relate to police officers and policing?
Well, put simply, this is a glaring example of how people in the media, politics, and the general public, love to judge professions and jobs from the outside looking in. Despite the fact they have ZERO idea what it is like to “walk a mile” in any of their shoes.
I have been in law enforcement for over 13 years, I’ve seen and done a lot things in that time. You know what I’ve never done? Worked 12 hours as a nurse. I’ve never actually been a firefighter or paramedic, despite working side by side with them on a daily basis. I’ve interacted with many nurses and doctors over the years, going to hospitals with prisoners and checking on shooting, stabbing, or rape victims.
We are all public servants, but that’s where the similarities end. I couldn’t make the statement Senator Walsh did about nurses, because I have no idea what their day to day is like. So why guess and look foolish? Even worse, why make the assumption they don’t do anything but play cards and collect a paycheck?
Why are we so quick to act as if we have any clue what it’s like to do someone’s job based on assumptions, or worse, what we see on TV? Everyone complains about negativity and division in our country, yet they run around slinging assumptions and negativity like society’s existence depends on it.
The media loves to put out news that fits their bias, we already know that is a fact. We don’t need more comments like Senator Walsh’s to make things worse. Comments like hers help create false narratives. They lend credence to a narrative that can grow and become a powerful thing. One that can end in violence or death. Narratives that radicalize people and make them do things most of us can’t fathom. It’s happened with police officers, it can happen with any profession.
In all fairness to Senator Walsh, I’ve seen reports stating she might be shadowing a nurse for a 12 hour shift in the near future. I not only hope it’s true, I hope the shift shows her how truly amazing our nurses are and how they deserve our gratitude and respect. Good for her. She stepped in it, but at least she’s willing to remedy the situation and walk a mile.
If only the anti-police crowd would take a page from Senator Walsh. If only the anti-police crowd would go on a ride along with police to actually see the difficulties of the job. If only the anti-police crowd would educate themselves by attending a citizen’s academy or participating in training exercises designed to highlight the difficulties of use of force situations. If only they would choose to walk a mile in the shoes of those they condemn, before picking up their loud speaker shouting for accountability and transparency, despite the fact they have no idea what it is like to be a police officer.
An ill-advised comment was made. A mistake. A regrettable one at that. However, it is commendable that Senator Walsh recognizes that she spoke without actually knowing what a 12 hour shift as a nurse is like. Hopefully, she will soon find out.
If only everyone had the humility to seek knowledge and experience before casting judgment, our society, our law enforcement, and all public servants would be much better off.
Thank an officer, nurse, fire fighter, EMT, or any public servant today.
Without them, then who?
The Officer Next Door