E Pluribus Unum — “out of many, one” — is not only America’s motto but the goal of our nation.

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Hopelessness permeates all too many of America’s communities.

In conjunction with this vital goal that he so eloquently articulated, our nation enacted laws to end segregation and break down barriers to enable all Americans live up to their potential. However, there are many reasons why America is headed the wrong way in this turbulent era.

The phrase-turned-movement, “Black Lives Matter,” flies in the face of Dr. King’s words, beliefs, and dreams.

Simply stated — all lives matter!

On the evening of July 7, 2016, Dallas police officers were gunned down by an assailant who reportedly told police negotiators that he was determined to kill as many white people and especially white police officers as possible.

The morning after this devastating tragedy played out, many reporters asked how America had gotten to this point.

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There are many reasons that we have come to this point.

America has been Balkanized by pollsters who have divided voters into discrete groups using terms such as “Latino voters,” “black voters,” Christian voters,” and “Jewish voters.” This constitutes a disgusting form of profiling. The irony is that journalists and politicians who express consternation when it is intimated that law enforcement officers may have engaged in profiling have no problem in engaging in profiling for political purposes.

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What is not generally recognized is that when law enforcement officers engage in proper profiling they take many factors into account. They consider the totality of circumstances and behavior along with many other issues.

However, when pollsters talk about the mythical “Latino voters,” all that they are taking into account is the ethnicity of people — just as the notion of “black voters” only takes skin color into account. This way of identifying Americans could not be more divisive, wrong-headed — and, ultimately, dangerous.

Illegal drugs and violent transnational gangsters pour across our borders — borders that have become little more than speed bumps.

When politicians and journalists accept this outrageous viewpoint, they separate America along racial, religious, and ethnic lines. This certainly does not help unite our citizens, but is toxic and pits Americans against Americans.

Hopelessness permeates all too many of America’s communities — especially our minority communities. All too many of our young Americans live under horrific circumstances with few opportunities to break the chains of poverty that enslave them. As a federal agent I have spent quite a bit of time in those tough, violent and run-down neighborhoods. For young people who have scarce opportunities to move up and move out — the appeal of crime all too often becomes irresistible.

The U.S. Department of Labor claims that our unemployment rate stands at 5 percent — while ignoring the tens of millions of Americans of working age who have left the labor force. Wages are being suppressed by the huge influx of foreign workers — both those who work legally as well as those who work illegally — resulting in ever more American workers being displaced.

America is suffering from unprecedented levels of drug addiction that has become so pervasive that in many towns and cities, police officers and even public school nurses have been issued doses of Narcan 
(naloxone hydrochloride) to save the lives of individuals who have overdosed on heroin. This leads to more crime and more hopelessness.

Illegal drugs and violent transnational gangsters pour across our borders — borders that have become little more than speed bumps.

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All too many of our communities have become tinderboxes that need just a spark to set off violence. The shooting of a black person by a police officer may well provide that spark.

Here is what we need to consider. The vast majority of America’s police officers and other law enforcement officers are heroes, doing dangerous work to safeguard the lives of the people who live in the communities they protect. Our nation has hundreds and thousands of police officers and the rate of improper police shootings are very rare.

Law enforcement officers have been aptly described as those who run towards that which sane people would run from.

Sometimes events arise that complicate the situation a police officer may find himself in with virtually no time to do anything but react quickly, knowing that if they don’t react quickly enough they may lose their lives or the lives of their partners or innocent people.

Sometimes a police officer is ultimately determined to have acted improperly — but in those very rare cases, those police officers are made absolutely accountable.

When I first became an INS Special Agent, one of the “old timers” took me aside and told me that police officers referred to their badges not as “shields” but as “tins.” He said that badges don’t shield law enforcement officers. He went on to say that badges provided those who carried them with far more accountability that authority. Those were the words I lived and worked by for my entire career as to the vast majority of those who serve in the law enforcement professions.

Our journalists and politicians need to understand the impact that their words have. Politicians need to remember that even as they take the campaign contributions from organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other such lobbying groups that seek to flood America with cheap labor, they were elected to represent “We the People.”

True opportunities for all Americans — especially our nation’s youth — are the best antidote for poverty, violence, and despair. This is not about “Left” or “Right” — but about right or wrong!

Michael W. Cutler is a retired INS senior special agent and a senior fellow at CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization). Cutler’s career with the INS spanned some 30 years and he has provided expert witness testimony at more than a dozen congressional hearings.