SUPPOSE CONGRESS WANTED to seize the moment and make real progress on police reform. No one should think federal reform will end all police abuses. In an act of bipartisan failure, Republican and Democrat leaders have decided to kick the can down the road for political purposes.

The Democrats call their bill the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The Republicans call theirs the Justice Act. Majorities of both parties’ voters back measures to hold officers accountable, and Congress should take advantage of this opportunity and not let the issue fester.

Many people across the political spectrum are shell-shocked by the senseless events of the past six weeks, like the smashing of monuments, the brazen takeover of downtown Seattle and the embrace of lawlessness as an official ideology with no credible pushback from prominent liberal leaders.

While we cannot erase the past, many people believe it is OK to remove Confederate statues that celebrate links to slavery, but not the senseless mob violence. These relics of the past, whether good or bad, could be taken down and moved to museums in an orderly fashion. You cannot judge the norms of the past by the ideals of today.

Our city streets should not have been taken over by idealistic protesters, full-time activists, anarchists and malcontents without consequences. This has led us to wonder why there is so little resistance to what is going on.

It should be noted that undercover Department of Justice agents have arrested and charged hundreds of vandals and troublemakers away from the public eye in an effort to de-escalate the confrontation.

Mobs have hijacked the exercises led by peaceful protesters. Why has there been no defense of public or private property? Why are these malcontents allowed to dismantle memorials that honor revered men and women like Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and others who were celebrated abolitionists?

Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times’ 1619 Project, goes so far to say “it is an honor to have inspired the series of riot attacks on statues.” She also said destroying property that can easily be replaced is an acceptable form of protest during these divisive times. Tell that to small business owners who saw their life’s work burned to the ground.

Another part of the problem lies with the partisan media. Anchors have fueled the bad behavior with rhetoric and commentary that borders on justification and cheerleading. They encourage the violence in the streets and the attacks on the 98% of law enforcement that does outstanding work.

While federal legislation should reform policing, it shouldn’t punish the police who are trying to do their jobs under very difficult conditions. It is impossible for officers to do their jobs effectively when they don’t enjoy the trust of the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.

Policing isn’t for everyone. It’s dangerous work. They deal with people at their worst moments and sometimes in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. It’s hard to keep your cool when subjected to the vilest insults. Most Americans want to create stronger incentives for police to do the right thing and to pay a price when they don’t.

Of police calls, 80% are for nonviolent acts. They are expected to be first responders, social workers, investigators, dispute arbiters, a lifesaver who can perform CPR, work swing shifts, and deal with lost persons and the homeless. As a thanks, they are disrespected by demonstrators and politicians who have no clue.

Polls show that the public wants the use of chokeholds banned without reasonable exceptions. But consider restraining a big, powerful suspect who is resisting arrest, maybe while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or mental illness. This life and death situation can be dangerous even for the best trained officers.

Calls to defund the police or disband police departments are crazy solutions. Policing is a classic state and local power under the Constitution so the federal role is limited to using money to leverage change. Changes are needed, but let’s not forget to honor and respect the thin blue line. Without them, we’d have chaos.