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Barack Obama's advice about the using the term “defund the police” is receiving mixed reviews. The former commander in chief explained his issue with the “slogan” in an interview on the Snapchat show Good Luck America.
Obama cautioned against using the term as he feels it to be exclusionary. “If you want people to buy your sneakers you’re going to market it to your audience. It’s no difference in terms of ideas,” he explained. “If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it's not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like ‘defund the police.’ But you know, 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.”
He also suggested that instead of “defund the police” people should say: “Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s treated fairly.”
The 59-year-old politician seemingly theorized that the use of “defund the police” may have cost Democrats House seats in the recent election. “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? If you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, than you got to be able to meet people where they are and play a game of addition and not subtraction.”
Read some of the reactions to his comments below.
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. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020
Imagine if Obama came out and gave a quick speech about how Defund the Police means reallocating resources to organizations that can help, instead of using cops to deal with things like mental health situations.
Says a lot about the man that he instead criticizes slogans.
— Dave Anthony PHD, MD, Esquire. (@daveanthony) December 2, 2020
obama doesn't like "defund the police" as a slogan because it is a specific actionable thing with a clear goal in mind. hope, change, yes we can & all that are better because they don't require you to actually do anything after saying them
— Shaun (@shaun_vids) December 2, 2020
What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020
The phrase 'defund the police' is awkward and misleading. It doesn't accurately convey the need to reallocate funding so that social services and policing are properly weighted.
The phrase mangles the meaning in a way that guarantees that many won't ever even hear it.
— Floss Obama🎅🏾 (@FlossObama) December 3, 2020
Obama is right. Defund the Police is a bad slogan. Reform the Police is better.
— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) December 2, 2020
obama is right. y’all need to stop saying defund the police when we mean abolish the police
— anti-lawn aktion (@antihoa) December 2, 2020
No one can push neoliberal thought like Obama. Suddenly, EVERYONE has decided that "defund the police" is just a slogan, and that it is responsible for Dems losing even tho none of them supported it.
The aim is to undermine activists just like he did w/ the potential NBA strike.
— Honeyves (@AdamantxYves) December 2, 2020
I need Barack Obama to leave the sloganeering to the movement.
Defund. The. Police.
We are keeping it. We are demanding it.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) December 2, 2020
We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020
Ferguson activist Cori Bush is making history as the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. Bush, a Democrat, beat out Republican Anthony Rogers and Libertarian Alex Furman in Tuesday’s (Nov. 3) election.
“Mike Brown was murdered 2,278 days ago. We took to the streets for more than 400 days in protest,” Bush tweeted on election night. “Today, we take this fight for Black Lives from the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress. We will get justice.”
The historic victory came 52 years after Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress. “I shouldn’t be the first,” noted Bush in another tweet. “But I am honored to carry this responsibility.”
The First. pic.twitter.com/h3o0GxeFLR
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 4, 2020
A nurse, pastor, single mother and “lifelong St. Louisan,” 44-year-old Bush, who will be sworn in at the top of the year, previously ran for a Senate seat in 2016 and 2018. Her Congressional journey was chronicled in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House.
And she's not alone in making political history during this year's election. Aside from Baltimore electing its youngest mayor ever, a record 298 women ran for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Of the nearly 300 candidates, 115 identified as Black, Latina, or Native American.
Other pioneering political wins included Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones becoming the first openly gay and openly gay Afro-Latino members of Congress, and Sarah McBride, who became the first trans U.S. Senator.
The voters have spoken. Politician Brandon Scott won his mayoral bid on Tuesday (Nov. 3) becoming the youngest mayor (in more than a century), and youngest Black mayor, to hold office in the city.
"I see this as the opportunity for rebirth,” Scott, 36, told Baltimore’s WBAL-TV 11 News following the big win. “The rebirth is going to come when we all have to work together each and every day and do that tough work to make Baltimore a better place.
“I am not the savior,” he continued. “We have to work together as a city unified to make Baltimore better. One person cannot fix things. [These] problems have existed longer than I been alive.”
@CouncilPresBMS addresses the crowd after receiving the concession call from Bob Wallace in the race for #BaltimoreMayor. Click link for full video. #Election2020 #BaltimoreCityVoteshttps://t.co/xkzI2Lvv2p pic.twitter.com/Bd1YgzeWIT
— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) November 4, 2020
Nabbing just over 71% of the vote, Scott bested opponent Bob Wallace who trailed with 20.11%. Wallace called Brandon to concede late Tuesday.
The historic election follows the resignation of former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh who stepped down last year amid a book scandal. Jack Young took over as an interim mayor.
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday (Nov. 4), Scott thanked everyone who helped secure the win. “I’m proud, energized and humbled by your [belief] in me and what we can accomplish together,” he tweeted. “We could not have made it without your support.”
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who made calls, sent texts, put up signs & shared information with friends/family. I’m proud, energized and humbled by your belief in me and what we can accomplish together. We could not have made it here without your support. pic.twitter.com/VvSHCLpAmc
— Brandon M. Scott (@CouncilPresBMS) November 4, 2020
Scott, who is currently Baltimore’s City Council President, called winning the election “the honor of a lifetime,” and vowed to lead fellow Baltimore residents in embarking on a “new way forward for our city.”