Barack Obama has become quite the public figure in recent weeks and his visibility and comments are more prominent than ever since leaving the White House. The former 44th President of the United States said that slogans such as “Defund The Police” are turning off some voters but progressive voices who champion the saying are pushing back.
In a new video via Snapchat’s Good Luck America program Tuesday (Dec. 1), Mr. Obama expressed his views of progressive activists using slogans to advance their policies.
“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 said to host Peter Hamby.
He added, “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.”
Mr. Obama’s stances were challenged by members of The Squad and many others via Twitter who believe that the critique from old-guard Democrats conflicts with the changing trends and tastes of today.
We’ve got some reactions from Twitter as well listed out below.
Yes We Can Defund The Police— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) December 2, 2020
A million takes on "defund the police" and nobody noticed or thought it was worthy of comment that it was initially "abolish the police" before changing swiftly and imperceptibly in mainstream discourse at some point during the summer.— Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) December 2, 2020
this is the best explanation I've seen for "defund the police" as a slogan and policypic.twitter.com/O5tUNk4IQQ— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) December 2, 2020
If people don’t like “defund the police” I’m cool with going back to “fuck the police”.— Renee Bracey Sherman (@RBraceySherman) December 2, 2020
Nobody cares what people who aren't even committed to ending police violence think of “defund the police.” The fact that ending state violence is a PR issue before it's a people's lives issue says a lot.— William C. (@williamcson) December 2, 2020
obama doesn't like "defund the police" as a slogan because it is a specific actionable thing with a clear goal in mind. hope, change, yes we can & all that are better because they don't require you to actually do anything after saying them— Shaun (@shaun_vids) December 2, 2020
“Demilitarize the police”— Drew Comments (@sjs856) December 2, 2020
“End qualified immunity”
“End no-knock warrants”
“No body cam, no badge”
“Abolish chokeholds now”
Any one of these is a slogan where you can get people to see your point of view. But just saying “defund the police” makes people nervous
Regarding “defund the police” & other “snappy” slogans:— Dr. Steven W. Thrasher (@thrasherxy) December 2, 2020
It’s OK to lose some ppl, especially if they’re holding power and standing in our way and if we want to take it away from them to crate a better world than the one they’ve created.
You: alienated by the phrase “defund the police.”— Kashana (@kashanacauley) December 2, 2020
Me: alienated by that weird thing where cops keep killing black people and getting raises for it.
I don't want to hear anyone criticizing "defund the police" unless they have constructive alternatives for persuasive ways to frame demand. "Reform" suggests toothless symbolic BS that doesn't fix problem. I hate it when people just complain about what activists are doing wrong.— Nathan J Robinson (@NathanJRobinson) December 2, 2020