Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Squad Vs. Obama, Part Deux or Moral Grandstanding Vs. Practical Politics

Obama on "defund the police"

“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...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?”
The Squad on Obama on defund the police:
Ilhan Omar: “We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand.”
Rashida Tlaib: “Rosa Parks was vilified & attacked for her civil disobedience. She was targeted. It’s hard seeing the same people who uplift her courage, attack the movement for Black Lives that want us to prioritize health, funding of schools & ending poverty, rather than racist police systems.”
Ayanna Pressley: “The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific. Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists. Whatever a grieving family says is their truth. And I’ll never stop fighting for their justice & healing.”
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez: “The thing that critics of activists don’t get is that they tried playing the ‘polite language’ policy game and all it did was make them easier to ignore.”
Now, Obama on critics of Obama on defunding the police:
“I was making a very particular point around that, if we want to translate the very legitimate belief that how we do policing needs to change and that if there is, for example, a homeless guy ranting and railing in the middle of the street, sending a mental health worker, rather than an armed untrained police officer to deal with that person might be a better outcome for all of us and make us safer, right?...
That, if we describe that to not just white folks, but let’s say Michelle’s mom, that makes sense to them. But if we say ‘defund the police,’ not just white folks, but Michelle’s mom might say, ‘If I’m getting robbed, who am I going to call and is somebody going to show up?...
The issue here becomes ‘how are we translating and using language?’— not to make people more comfortable. . . The issue to me is not making them comfortable; it is ‘Can we be precise with our language enough that people who might be persuaded around that particular issue to make a particular change to get a particular result that we want—what’s the best way for us to describe that?'”
I make it Obama, a zillion, the Squad, zero. That's of course if you want to win. You might score it differently if your priority is--as Obama notes--"to feel good among the people you already agree with".

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