We may not always agree, but it's important to protest in peace

By Eddie Neal
Lemoore Councilmember Eddie Neal
Lemoore Councilmember Eddie Neal

After reading the recent article in The Hanford Sentinel: “Local black residents sound off on shootings, unrest,” I felt a responsibility to share my thoughts, not as a black man of Kings County, but as a man who believes in upholding law enforcement, the right to free speech, and the Constitution of the United States.

My family has been in Lemoore since the early 40s.  My siblings and I attended Lemoore area schools, and my parents, both pillars of the community, always modeled hard work, integrity, and discipline in their careers and ministry. I have always loved my hometown, and it helped to raise me and instill in me a love of this community. Regardless to where my career as an offshore driller placed me, I always managed to find my way home.

Lemoore is where I experienced all of my “firsts” in life. It is where I threw my first ball, rode my first horse, read my first book, drove my first car, and held my first job.  Lemoore is where I met my wife so many years ago, and then married many years later.

Now that I am a family man I can tell you that Lemoore - and Kings County - is the best place in the world to raise a family.  I love where I am from, and I always will.   

I have always been someone who prefers to stick to the facts.  The fact is that from a predominantly white and Hispanic population of about 28,000 residents in Lemoore, I was elected to serve my community as a member of the Lemoore City Council.  If Lemoore and Kings County were completely blinded by racial issues, I don’t think I would ever have been elected. I am not going to sugar coat the matter at hand and say that racism does not exist is this world; however our country has come a mighty long way.  A few bad people should not be considered as representing all citizens of our county.

As I watch the news I am disturbed by what is being portrayed as facts on some issues and accusations on others.  The whole truth is never addressed in the media.  With many statements, we all need to consider the source of information and then attempt to stick to the underlying facts.  In order to consider any source of information, good moral judgment and ethics are required - plus possession of a true desire to find the truth. All is lost when the truth gets lost.

Unfortunately, even in the highest branches of service, there seem always to be one bad apple in every bunch.  But the good actions and deeds of the majority will prevail as we move forward. 

If you look at this whole ordeal from a middle view, this is not a black or white issue.  This is an issue of facts versus accusations.  It was a misunderstanding of the difference between facts and accusations that led to destructive behavior that hurt many people.  In 2010, when Los Angles rioted for the third time following the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA championship, it hurt everyone as we watched the “fact” that a group of people, so adept at losing in life, couldn’t understand the concept of winning.

Whenever we see people destroy property and riot in the streets, we are seeing a product of a struggling environment, the lack of understanding and poor leadership.  There is an old saying that hurting people also hurts other people.  It is not right and it can be corrected with understanding and education - and a closer examination of the facts.

Martin Luther King Jr. practiced non-violence and as American citizens we are all entitled to peaceful protest. We are not always going to agree, but we can always be peaceful.

I thank God that facts always trump accusations.  What holds our nation together is our tremendous faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I hope that law enforcement officers all over the nation stay encouraged as they continue to protect and serve us, and keep God first in all matters.  And I hope that American citizens everywhere would remember where we come from, make necessary strides toward where we want to go, and then represent this nation with pride, honor, and dignity.  America is a great nation and Americans are great people.  And I am proud to be American. God bless America. 

(Eddie Neal is a Lemoore City Councilmember serving his first term on the city council)

Comments powered by Disqus