Obama - 'Defund the Police' is bad messaging

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ASPartOfMe
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02 Dec 2020, 3:46 am

Obama: You lose people with 'snappy' slogans like 'defund the police'

Quote:
Former President Obama said political candidates lose support when using “snappy” slogans like “defund the police,” in an interview scheduled to be released Wednesday.

Obama told Peter Hamby, who hosts a Snapchat political show “Good Luck America,” that those who use the slogan could jeopardize their goals of enacting meaningful reforms for police.

"You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done," the former president said in the interview scheduled to go live at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, according to Axios.

"The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?" Obama added.


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02 Dec 2020, 8:27 am

I think Sam Harris nailed this right out of the gate - the message should be 'give the police much better training'. He went as far as recommending 8 hours per week worth of training.

As someone with martial arts experience - the more you know the more options you have to use minimal force. Similarly to the degree that they're in some ways seen as garbage collectors for what our society breaks (which is really messed up) they probably need as much trauma counseling as veterans, and to perhaps push back on the situation they're being put in having better community involvement and philanthropy would be a good move.

The less competent, less trained, and more stressed they are without recourse the worse our policing gets. The idea to 'defund the police' just makes all of that worse.


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02 Dec 2020, 1:48 pm

I disagree with Obama on about a thousand policy decisions, but I always respected the man's acumen and desire for a better world.

He nailed it here with "Do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?"


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04 Dec 2020, 12:24 am

As usual, Barrack is right.


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04 Dec 2020, 1:14 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Obama: You lose people with 'snappy' slogans like 'defund the police'
Quote:
Former President Obama said political candidates lose support when using “snappy” slogans like “defund the police,” in an interview scheduled to be released Wednesday.

Obama told Peter Hamby, who hosts a Snapchat political show “Good Luck America,” that those who use the slogan could jeopardize their goals of enacting meaningful reforms for police.

"You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done," the former president said in the interview scheduled to go live at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, according to Axios.

"The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?" Obama added.


How many months has it taken him to work out (and then speak out regarding) this simple concept?



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04 Dec 2020, 2:33 am

I gotta say I disagree with Obama on this.

Like f**k cops have been putting up blue line tape things, like black tape with a blue line in the middle not to far off from I live and I hate it...feels kinda like intimidation. Like they know that symbol has become very much used by Magas and white supremacists but they still wanna put those up to show they are the gang in the area I guess. Well i'd like to cover them up with stickers that have more progressive messeges. Pro tip sign a pro good cause petition and you wont stop getting mail from people wanting you to donate what you can, and also lots of free progressive stickers you can stick to things. Not saying to just sign up and never donate but a lot of the places will send you stickers and such before you contribute any money and well one could for sure take those stickers and put them over pro trump or pro maga type stickers they see.

But yeah a cop on reddit admitted it was the cops who put them up but tried to say it was a game with the fire department...to see who would tag more lights, but I have yet to see a red line sticker which would be what the fire department would put up if it really was a 'game' but nah you never see any red line stickers. So I figure that cop who commented was full of s**t. Its probably meant as intimidation and they just don't want to admit it.


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ASPartOfMe
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04 Dec 2020, 6:26 am

A conservative take

Quote:
What does “Defund the Police” mean?

There have been numerous and often contradictory answers to the question since the slogan gained traction this spring, in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and the protests it spawned. Liberal media outlets like Vox insisted, “It’s not as radical as it sounds,” insisting that “defunding” was merely an effort to reallocate money to social and mental health services. Others eagerly proclaimed, “Yes, we mean literally abolish the police.” And elected officials in cities like Minneapolis tried to split the difference by pledging to “end policing as we know it.”

In other words, to say that ideological confusion reigns among Defund the Police supporters would be an understatement. When NPR interviewed two proponents of defunding this summer and posed the question of how communities could respond to violent crime without police, both guests replied with vague, feel-good statements, but also revealed their starkly different understandings of human behavior.

“I think this is about a process of looking concretely at what police do and trying to find alternatives that don’t rely on violence as the mechanism for producing safety,” said Alex Vitale, the author of The End of Policing. “When we look at wealthy suburban communities, we don’t see police on every street corner managing the problems of those communities.”

Lawyer Derecka Purnell, by contrast, suggested we rethink the very concept of crime. “What we consider crime and harm, first of all, is a social construct,” she said. She also embraced what might be called the Les Miserables principle of crime (a favorite canard of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, too): “Places where there’s less inequality, places where there’s a more egalitarian society, there’s less harm and less crime,” she said. “So you don’t have to worry about someone breaking into your house because there is no reason for someone to break into your house and take from you because they’re not doing it out of economic desperation.”

For both, Defund the Police meant whatever they wanted it to mean.

Obama’s words had an immediate and clarifying effect on the Defund the Police debate; as progressives’ response to his remarks revealed, the pretense that Americans had simply misunderstood a well-meaning but non-radical slogan became impossible to sustain.

Representative-elect Cori Bush from Missouri tweeted, “With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence. It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar was equally forceful. “We lose people in the hands of police,” she wrote. “It’s not a slogan but a policy demand.” Fellow Squad member Ayanna Pressley was also upset, writing, “The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific. Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists. Whatever a grieving family says is their truth.” And petty theft expert AOC weighed in with a tweet-storm scolding Obama for failing to recognize that the whole point of Defund the Police was “to make [people] uncomfortable.”

What their reactions make clear is that if activists had ever really meant “reform,” they would have embraced “Reform the Police” or “Demilitarize the Police” or some other phrase that wasn’t explicitly focused on pulling resources away from (hence, weakening) law enforcement.

Well-intentioned advocates of police reform would also make a concerted effort to distinguish themselves from more radical activists, particularly in the Black Lives Matter movement, which calls for the outright abolition of law enforcement and prisons. And they would engage with the reality of recent crime statistics in cities like Minneapolis, New York, and Chicago, which have seen a disturbing and steady increase in homicides and other violent crimes over the past few months, often after Defund efforts have been enacted by local elected officials.

Years of scholarly research has shown that the presence of police—particularly beat cops who know the neighborhoods they patrol—leads to a reduction in crime.

Cori Bush claims that defunding the police is a “mandate for keeping our people alive.” Setting aside the racial signaling of the phrase “our people” (doesn’t she represent all of the people in her district?) it is in fact minority voters who have been the most outspoken about wanting more of a police presence, not less, in their neighborhoods.

And Democrats would do well to think about the trajectory their party is taking as it prepares to reclaim the White House. When Obama is deemed a sell-out for stating simple facts about Americans’ views of law enforcement, it’s a clear sign of how much more radicalized both the tone and policy proposals of the Democratic Party have become on the issue of law enforcement.


Some observations without getting into an argument over should the police be abolished.

Obama is an analytical guy. It is possible he agrees with the premise of abolishing the police, ie racism is the defining feature of police and America as has been from the get-go but thinks "Defunding the Police" is the wrong way to get there.

We have the generational divide showing up in this way. Looking at the situation the old-fashioned way one would wonder why should Democratic leadership pay any attention to The Squad at all. The voters in the primary and in the general voted for the "moderate", Republicans gained in the Congress and the statehouses they told the pollsters they don't want to defund the police. And there are only five members of "The Squad". But AOC has more star power, charisma whatever you want to call it than the Democratic leadership combined. BLM has changed the language we use (even Biden regularly says "Systematic Racism") and is changing corporate, state, and local policies because using social media are natural to them. So just maybe the Democratic Leadership and conservatives like the columnist above are irrelevant or on their way there and don't even know it.

This is what we should find out in the next four years.


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04 Dec 2020, 8:02 am

Obama is just stating what should be obvious to everyone on the left, right, and center.

We cant abolish the police.

And further, that its political suicide for a faction to demand that.

We might need to reform, or "reimagine", the police. But we cant abolish them, which is what cutting them out of the budget (ie defunding ) would mean.

So to use "defund" as a slogan just alienates eighty percent of the US population, and drives them into the arms of a law and order demagogue.



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04 Dec 2020, 10:48 am

The problem with short snappy slogans is their vagueness; you have a six second slogan with room for assigning five millennia of connotation to it.


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04 Dec 2020, 1:34 pm

I agree with this.

Idk how it went in terms of actual stats (I was a kid at the time) but I liked Tony Blair's soundbite 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime'.

Fund stuff so there's less criminality, things like drug rehab programs, social work, welfare etc.

Take funds away from arms. It's a police state which is working with civilians in one's own country. It looks ridiculous to us Europeans to be so armed to the teeth.

But don't defund the entire police service or abolish the police. Without the police, I think the most physically strong or armed people will take over, esp gangs and stuff like that.


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04 Dec 2020, 1:37 pm

It seems to resonate in some circles, so it isn't entirely bad messaging but it does trigger moderates. Sadly that approach doesn't seem to work as well for progressive causes as it does for anti-intellectual reactionary causes.


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04 Dec 2020, 2:46 pm

Brictoria wrote:
How many months has it taken him to work out (and then speak out regarding) this simple concept?

Here in the U.S.A., it is traditional for ex-Presidents to retire from politics, at least for the most part, and not to "speak out" publicly about anything very often.


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04 Dec 2020, 3:28 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Brictoria wrote:
How many months has it taken him to work out (and then speak out regarding) this simple concept?

Here in the U.S.A., it is traditional for ex-Presidents to retire from politics, at least for the most part, and not to "speak out" publicly about anything very often.


Also it's a no-win game. Say something right away, "Hey, stay out of it, EX president!", say something later, "Hey, what took so long to say something?", don't say anything at all, "I notice (name) hasn't said anything about this, how about that!" - there is no course of action that can't be criticized. Someone will always find something to complain about.

Same goes for "defund the police". The police have to much immunity, and too many dangerous toys that they have shown they can't use responsibly. "Defund the police" is a much shorter way of saying things like "stop letting the police buy weapons of war to use on domestic civilians, and expecting them to handle any and all disturbances, even if they're not qualified to do so." The latter doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, or lend itself to being remembered easily. And again, no matter how you phrase it, people will find ways to redefine it into something else entirely. Basic strawman 101.

One could say "Redistribute police funds to agencies which can support and supplement the jobs of law enforcement by for example handling civil disturbances, or being able to respond to the needs of those who need mental health support", but that's also really long, and "redistribute" is another word that gets painted as bad, so yeah.

"Reorganize the police and change their focus from aggressive law enforcement to social improvement programs" could work to some extent, but that's still really word heavy, and still vague enough to be subverted into a strawman. Inevitably someone will interpret it as meaning something like, "oh, so just let crime happen, and make the criminals feel better about themselves, and give them free stuff, huh?", even though that's not what was said, at all.

You can't make everyone happy. Obama does have a bit of a point, in that "defund the police" is a bit too easy to subvert and misinterpret.

"Rebuild the police". That could maybe work.



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04 Dec 2020, 5:08 pm

I think the real message should be "demilitarize the police."


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04 Dec 2020, 8:03 pm

VegetableMan wrote:
I think the real message should be "demilitarize the police."


That's certainly part of the problem that needs dealing with.


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05 Dec 2020, 2:03 am

Defund the police does not mean get rid of them, it just means put the money somewhere else than putting it all into the police.

Quote:
It's a common misconception that "defunding the police" means completely stripping law enforcement of all of their funding. While while some organizations are indeed calling for the abolishment or dismantling of police altogether, "defunding the police" simply means reducing police department budgets and redistributing those funds towards essential social services that are often underfunded, such as housing, education, employment, mental health care, and youth services.


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