Police Brutality Continues to be Met With Platitudes.
Barack Obama wants to “reimagine” policing? Talk like that historically means nothing.
I’m not sure anyone has more influence over the direction of the Democratic party than former President Barack Obama. He remains adored by loyal liberal voters, and candidates continue to see the value in seeking his policy advise, campaign counsel and of course, his endorsement. When Obama weighs in on an issue, one can almost guarantee that it will be the standard position of the Democratic party. Unfortunately and yet unsurprisingly, after Daunte Wright was murdered at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Officer who pulled her gun instead of a taser, Obama’s response was as full of platitudes as one might imagine, calling for “reimagining” policing and an investigation.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, that means little if any fundamental change to policing in the United States.
Obama was President for eight years.
He had eight years to address these problems. Eight years to address the “historical inequalities” and bring about the “nationwide change” he calls for. And we’re supposed to be impressed when he releases a statement over four years after he left office? Is he now elevated to some higher status of wisdom that we’re supposed to be impressed with? Obama was President during the murder of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and Laquan McDonald among many others. He was the leader who allowed Ferguson and Standing Rock protestors to be brutalized, and squashed an NBA strike in response to police brutality before it even happened.
Adam Toledo was thirteen years old and had his hands in the air when police shot him dead.
I’m tired of nothing more than words.
I’m tired of people in significant positions of power pretending as though talk is enough, or “Black lives matter” murals painted in front of Trump Tower should be sufficient to quell the unrest and signal that they hear the pain. I’m not interested in Barack Obama calling for the “reimagining” of policing when we know full well he is going to sit by while police departments across the country continue to see increases in funding, are present in schools, the military can still sell them their surplus weaponry, and that officers with guns will be the dominant force answering calls for mental health issues.
What exactly is he proposing, with his calls for “reimagining”, to substantially change those things? Is he interested in defunding police departments, and re-allocating much of the money to mental health and education and rehabilitation programs instead? Is he calling for leaders across the country to listen to organizers on the ground who understand the city and the law enforcement dynamics better than any politician, and work with them to create real change? Is he standing in solidarity and support with organized protests? Is he pushing for Biden and other Democratic lawmakers to legalize marijuana, and ensure that communities who have been brutalized by law enforcement as a result of its illegal status are compensated for what they’ve been through?
Obama has a platform larger than arguably anyone else’s in the country. I don’t really want to hear him say, yet again, that his heart is heavy. I want to know how he plans to use his power to create the changes he ran on over ten years ago.