As the horrors of U.S. law enforcement continue, apparently unabated, I’ve encountered people who blame the current so-called crime wave on the defunding of the police. The problem is that as far as I can tell, nobody has defunded the police at all, anywhere. There were a couple places that made a nod in that direction, but I don’t think any of them have followed through so far. Biden’s “No, let’s fund them more” argument has won out. This video from The Renegade Cut digs into the issue, and also into some of the discussion around whether or not “Defund the Police” was a good slogan.
In particular, there’s an argument that the movement didn’t succeed (yet) because the slogan wasn’t specific enough, and was too scary. My view is that no matter what slogan was used, the propaganda against change would go just as hard, and lie just as much. For example, U.S. conservatives have consistently accused Biden and the rest of the Democratic Party of defunding the police, which – as I mentioned – is very much not the case. Trying to come up with a more innocuous or more comprehensive slogan would not help us. It’s like the way the Democrats are attacked for being socialists, despite the obvious effort they’ve made to keep even the most approachable of social democrats from getting any real power. The slogan starts conversations, and it says what we want to do. Trying to tone it down would just be seen – possibly correctly – as dishonesty, and used to further conspiracy theories. Better to let the idea become mainstream through persistent use, and through aggressive countering of misinformation from the right. That will remove the shock, and make it far easier to push the idea in the years to come.