*In a new interview with Snapchat’s “Good Luck America,” former president Barack Obama said slogans like “Defund the Police” could turn off people more so than inspire them to join the rallying cries for reforming the criminal justice system.
“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everyone 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, CBS reports.
Does President Barack Obama believe defunding the police is the answer? We sat down with him to explore the issue.
— Complex (@Complex) December 2, 2020
His comments on “Defund the Police” drew backlash from some liberals and progressives on social media.
“We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tweeted in response to the Obama comments.
“We didn’t lose Breonna because of a slogan. Instead of conceding this narrative, let’s shape our own,” tweeted Charles Booker, a progressive candidate who ran unsuccessfully for the Kentucky Democratic nomination for Senate.
Obama said in the interview that liberals would be more responsive to discussions about taking action, not slogans and catchy phrases.
“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?” he stressed.
When it comes to phrases like “socialism,” Obama said “nobody really cares about the label.”
“Socialism is still a loaded term for a lot of folks. Once again, instead of talking labels and ideology, we should focus on talking about getting certain things done,” Obama argued.
“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,” Obama said on Snapchat. “And play a game of addition and not subtraction.”
Hear more from Obama about the issue via the Twitter video above.