JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: “DEFUNDING POLICE” IS A SLOGAN AND NOT A POLICY – IT’S NOT EVEN DEFINED BY ITS USERS – ALL POSSIBLE POLICE REFORMS ARE COSTLY – MOST OF THE ESTABLISHMENT ALMOST CERTAINLY BELIEVE EXISTING PROBLEMS ARE NOT WORTH THE COST SINCE THEY AFFECT THE POOR AND POWERLESS – AND FOR SURE TRUMP’S POLITICAL TRIBE BELIEVES THAT – THE ESTABLISHMENT IS EMBARRASSED BY ALL THE UGLY PUBLICITY, BUT THAT WILL PASS – SPEECHES WILL SAY OTHERWISE BUT THEY WILL BE AS INSINCERE AS AMERICA’S SIGNATURE ON AN INTERNATIONAL TREATY – MAINLY THE POOR AND DISADVANTAGED ARE HURT BY POLICE BRUTALITY AND WE HAVE AMPLE PROOF NO ONE CARES MUCH ABOUT THEM – GUNS AND POLICE IN AMERICA AS CAPTURED BY A DISTURBING BRIEF SCENE IN THE OTHERWISE CHARMING FILM, “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” – DANIEL BOONE AS THE BEST EARLY REPRESENTATIVE OF WHAT AMERICA WOULD BECOME   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE IN PRESS T V

 

“Joe Biden does not support defunding police”

 

“Defunding the police” is a slogan rather than a policy, and slogans do not help real problems.

America’s police are over-militarized, have poor hiring practices, and are often badly trained and supervised.

Were it otherwise, we’d see a serious improvement over time in the shabby performance of the country’s many police forces.

The term “defund” isn’t even well defined by its users, and that is why it is a slogan, not a policy.

To somehow create an entirely new system of law enforcement would be extremely costly, and it would require the dedicated hard work of tens of thousands of qualified people.

America’s establishment is highly embarrassed right now by the sudden blinding glare of publicity revealing some of the worst of American society, but that will pass. They will make speeches and favorable sounds, but I believe, on the whole, privately, they would not agree that existing problems are worth the cost of fixing them. They have been going on a very long time. And, after all, most of the people hurt or killed by American police are poor or disadvantaged, and they simply do not count for much in America, no matter what the political speeches and grade-school civics texts say.

That is underscored, too, by Trump’s readiness to blunder right into raw events with what was implicit support for police brutality and severe criticism of demonstrators. Trump knows his political base. While establishment figures don’t approve of his crude ways, many harbor sympathies which are not wildly different. Otherwise the problem would not exist, and it has existed almost forever.

The US can be a pretty harsh and brutal place (as I well know because I grew up there), and many Americans like it that way, taking a kind of muscular pride in the swagger and readiness to use force. Many Americans actually support police brutality as a “necessity” in fighting crime in “the urban jungle.”

For me, American attitudes around violence and police were perfectly captured by a scene in the otherwise charming, sentimental film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The hero of the movie, played by Jimmy Stewart, is dazed and confused and runs away from the small town’s cop, Bert, played by a gruff Ward Bond. Bert promptly pulls out his pistol to start shooting at Stewart’s back, and in a busy commercial street. It is a quietly disturbing scene in what otherwise is a Christmas fantasy film.

This is a country with a large population which virtually worships guns, with an estimated three hundred million of them in private hands. There are many jurisdictions where you can actually “open carry” (visible in a holster) a gun or carry a concealed one.

And it is a country constantly engaged in wars and brutality around the globe. This is not, overall, a tender or even terribly caring society, despite a great deal of sentimentality in its popular culture. Tens of millions of its own people have no healthcare, attend terrible schools, and live in squalor. Some don’t even have decent drinking water. You do not find such things in a caring society.

It is a society whose police and prison guards have had a reputation for excessive force all of my lifetime. Local politicians in hundreds of jurisdictions were never ready to undertake the expense and trouble of doing anything about it.

A national, enforceable code for the hiring and training and supervision of police would be fitting, but I doubt the will is there for that. Properly administered, it would be costly, and the issue of federal versus state and local jurisdictions immediately enters the matter, something always of passionate concern in America. The country’s chaotic jumble of political jurisdictions, reverently embraced as a form of freedom by many, has always helped preserve and protect dark practices.

In the end, it is fair to say America very much is a “I, Me, Mine” society. That has been part of its character from the beginning and distinguishes it from many societies in Asia and in Europe.

Daniel Boone – a tough, harsh man, encroaching on Indigenous lands through early Kentucky, fighting and killing and constantly restlessly moving on to clear a new piece of land, leaving a despoiled one behind – was perhaps the best early representative for what America would become.

Posted June 15, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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