Monday, June 08, 2020

Three Simple Words


The world is flat. Santa Claus is driving his sleigh around it, and later the Easter bunny will bring eggs to all the little girls and boys in town. Similarly

Defunding and abolition probably mean something different from what you are thinking. For most proponents, “defunding the police” does not mean zeroing out budgets for public safety, and police abolition does not mean that police will disappear overnight — or perhaps ever. Defunding the police means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and shifting most of what government does to keep us safe to entities that are better equipped to meet that need. It means investing more in mental-health care and housing, and expanding the use of community mediation and violence interruption programs.


If we believe in the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, and a flat earth, we also believe that defunding and abolition does not mean zeroing out budgets for public safety. Otherwise, Georgetown law professor and co-director Georgetown's Innovative Policing Program ChristyE.Lopez is simply blowing smoke up where you don't want it blown.

Defund the Police is a clever slogan because it is concise and easy to understand. "Defund" means "to stop providing the money to pay for something." The something in the slogan is the police. "Defund the police" means to stop providing the money for police. It doesn't take 81 words to explain t.

The slogan is not "stop giving so much money to police," "shift money from police to social service providers," or "build more housing, dammit." It means, well: defund the police.

Somebody are not fooled, such as the governing body of Minneapolis because

A majority of the members of the Minneapolis City Council said Sunday they support disbanding the city’s police department. Nine of the council’s 12 members appeared with activists at a rally in a city park Sunday afternoon and vowed to end policing as the city currently knows it.

“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Lisa Bender, the council president, said. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”





They intend to terminate the Police Department: disband it, dissolve it, or eliminate it. That was only 14 words, and only about 7 were necessary.

If she is being sincere, the director of Black Visions Collective and founder of the Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter does believe in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. “A world without police means," Kandace Montgomery maintains, "that everybody has what they need to survive and what they need to live healthy lives. It means we have the money that we need for education, health care, housing, workers’ rights.”

Oh no, it doesn't.  Disbanding the police department means eliminating not only the jobs of police workers, but also those of many other workers.  We didn't need SARS-CoV-2, with the catastrophic impact it will have on city, county and state, budgets, to recognize that the highest priority of most elected officials is to keep taxes down.  Tax-cutting has been for a few decades the greatest priority of one of the two major political parties, as well as of a critical number of Democrats.

Coming to towns, counties, and states near you: creative means to balance budgets by cutting costs.  If funds are removed from one area of a jurisdiction's budget in an outpouring of ideological frenzy, they will not be moved to an area (allegedly) supported by activist groups such as Black Visions Collective and Black Lives Matter.  In most places, it will be considered found money, manna from heaven available to the delight of politicians to minimize inevitable tax increases.

On Morning Joe, Defund the Police advocate, the Reverend Al Sharpton, claimed "the slogan may be misleading without interpretation."  Untrue. To those of us for whom English is either a first or second language, "defund the police" means- wait for it- defund the police.



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