In the wake of protests and violence that occurred after the murder of George Floyd, one slogan reigned supreme amongst left-leaning organizers. “Defund The Police”, whether you agree whole-heartedly with the sentiment, there needs to be recognized amongst the broader left that these slogans hurt our cause.
“No no no! What it really means is-“
I speak with conservatives on a nearly daily basis, I’m surrounded by them. Both online and in life, my state is as red as they come. And if you spoke with a conservative during the BLM protests, aside from constantly dealing with the “ENTIRE CITIES ARE BURNING DOWN” rhetoric, one of the major things you likely did was explain the slogan. “Oh no”, you’d say, “Defund the Police doesn’t mean defund the police. What it really means is-” and insert whatever reasonable position you might hold. Whether that means redistributing some of the funds to other programs, or putting in more money to social programs to, over time, decrease the needed funds a police department will need. Never defend a slogan. Never.
A Wasted Opportunity
While some changes may have come about due to the historic marches that took place, the asinine demands that democrats, both in the mainstream and the average person, ended up defending came from the most radical parts of the left. That’s a bad thing. The demands being ill-advised and radical is to be expected, people who go out to march for a political cause are more often than not young, and being young leads to more radical beliefs. But even the half-hearted defense of these demands hurts the cause. Why were we not talking about body cameras? Police accountability? National registration for “Bad Apples”? Actual actionable changes that aren’t just “Cops bad”, we need to stop with this “Abolish” rhetoric. We aren’t there yet. And it’s legitimately sad to see the movement wasted like that.
The World’s Attention
I saw a man die a slow death. I saw him cry out for his mother while a man the citizens entrusted power in cinched his neck in between his knee and the concrete. I was disgusted. I was sad. I was angry. And in the weeks following that, nearly everyone agreed, almost the entire world’s attention was on that fact. But instead of pushing for the change we could all agree on, we pushed radical changes barely a quarter of the country could. And that’s not even considering the fact that African Americans, the people who actually live in those communities, did not support the abolish, or even the defund movements. With 81% saying they want either the same or a greater police presence in their neighborhoods. I guess it’s easy to just ignore reality if you’re a rich kid stepping off the college campus for the first time in a year reciting theory, but for people who face the day-to-day realities of their situation, they can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I want change, radical change. But change comes slowly. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” – Martin Luther King Jr.