Former President Barack Obama criticized the “defund the police” movement by comparing it to a “snappy slogan” that could cause them to lose a portion of their audience. The statement has the ability to divide and polarize people who support, or do not support, the police.
Despite the goal of reforming the police, the “defund the police” statement is often misunderstood as getting rid of the police, rather than creating criminal justice reforms.
Obama made these statements during his interview on “Good Luck America” via Snapchat, even comparing the “defund the police” saying to people marketing sneakers or songs, as though it’s not much different than the marketing they might use.
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Obama stated during the interview, that “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.”
The former president continued, saying “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? And if you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, then you’ve got to be able to meet people where they are. And play a game of addition and not subtraction.”
His comments about “defund the police” suggest people saying it could be gaining interest in some, but also immediately pushing away others from supporting the big picture.
In other words, the “snappy slogan” is not exactly appealing to the overall mass audience, but more geared towards one side of politics, and that could essentially lessen the chances of real reform taking place.