Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Obama cautions activists against using 'defund the police' slogan

 Washington (CNN)Former President Barack Obama cautioned young activists against using the slogan "defund the police" to achieve changes in policing practices, instead urging them in a new interview to have a more inclusive discussion to better enact changes.

In doing so, the former president, who still holds enormous influence in the Democratic Party and has voiced support for protesters in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, is taking a strong stance on a contentious phrase that is a dividing point among Democrats, and speaks to the friction between the more liberal wing of the party and President-elect Joe Biden's calls for a moderate path forward.
"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," Obama told Peter Hamby on Snapchat's "Good Luck America" when asked what his advice is to an activist who believes in using the slogan although politicians are likely to avoid it.
"But if you instead say, 'Let's reform the police department so that everybody's being treated fairly, you know, divert young people from getting into crime, and if there was a homeless guy, can maybe we send a mental health worker there instead of an armed unit that could end up resulting in a tragedy?' Suddenly, a whole bunch of folks who might not otherwise listen to you are listening to you."

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