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