Defund the police was the catch phrase this summer, but what does it mean? Are we asking to take away all funding to police departments throughout the country? Are we asking that some money be taken away and allocated to different services? Are we asking that police departments be demilitarized so that they do not appear to be an occupying force during events of civil unrest? Should the citizens whose rights are routinely trampled be concerned with how their words are understood or misunderstood?
Let’s look at a simple truth. On July 1, 2019 according to the US Census, the population in the US is as follows:
These number convey a simple truth. The United States is a democracy. While that might seem redundant, a democracy needs a majority of its representatives to vote affirmatively for any law or rule to be implemented. While an overwhelming majority of black Americans agree with the underlying sentiment of the phrase Defund the police, black Americans are not the majority. If black Americans want legislation to be enacted that reflects the priorities in the defund the police platform, it is necessary that we form allegiances that create a majority group. Thirteen percent (no matter how vocal or morally correct in their position) is not going to create the numbers that we need to see the legislation that we want to see regarding police reform.
Go back to the opening paragraph. If people hear “Defund the police”, and they do not know what it means when the hear it, then does that means that we need to modify the language so that in the words of Barack Obama we add people to our cause? The Buchanan and Seaton Show discussed this subject with author and activist Zach Norris. In his book Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment Norris conducts a granular examination of the flaws with our current law enforcement model while defending the language and approach of the defund the police movement. I encourage you to go to his website and read his book. In the meantime you can listen to our conversation on The Buchanan and Seaton Show with Zack Norris as we take a deeper dive past the rhetoric into the real issues behind the slogan.