Former POTUS Barack Obama, who’s been on a marathon of press appearances as of late in promotion of his record-breaking new book A Promised Land, has again shared his thoughts on the impact of the "defund the police" message.
Speaking with Peter Hamby this week for a Snapchat interview, Obama referred to the oft-heard message (aimed at redirecting the financial power from which many police departments unsettlingly benefit) as a "snappy slogan" and gave his take on how, in his opinion, it stands in the way of securing a broad audience.
"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 gonna get the changes you want done," Obama said. "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’s a homeless guy 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."
The 44th president added that, from his point of view, "the key is deciding do you wanna actually get something done or do you wanna feel good among the people you already agree with?"
This take, expectedly, hasn't exactly been met with widespread approval:
Obama also recently spoke on this topic during his 360 interview with Speedy Morman.
Asked if he himself would "defund police" if the opportunity arose, Obama shared a similar breakdown of his interpretation of the movement, which has been a frequent source of discussion throughout 2020 while also being repeatedly misconstrued by those who oppose it.
"No, because I think the phrase implies that somehow we could do without the police or that the police are the only source of our problem," Obama said. "But what I would do is rethink how we do policing in a lot of communities."
The A Promised Land author also noted that "robust reform" has never actually been given a real push at the governmental level.