Turning a Trumpian Weapon on America
No matter what political party people are in, they don’t get it. They are befuddled by the protester’s sign that reads: DEFUND THE POLICE. The unvarnished truth is that people don’t understand words. The first step in true communication is knowing the difference between a verbal trick and nuance. That word started out in Latin word for “cloud” and then moves into French as “to shade” and the English derivative as “a subtle difference in or shade of meaning.” Let me light the way.
About two years ago, I attended a fund raiser for a local botanical garden. I sat next to a genuinely nice and intelligent lady who was a guest of a local lawyer. As the conversation turned to politics, my single malt scotch whiskey started talking and I forcefully answered her question about what I thought of Donald Trump. I clearly barked, “He’s an idiot.” She looked incredibly surprised and said, “No he’s not. He’s a successful businessperson and doing great things for America.” Yes, you guessed it, the rest of the night I avoided talking politics or religion.
The irony of the 42-year-old botanical garden is that recently, the local wealthy Republican controlled government attempted to strip the landmark of its non-profit status. The local council has also blocked a new parking garage from being built, which may force the garden to leave the city limits. Why? Because local governments are not always long-term thinkers. The garden is a civic asset.
Think about it! They fund local schools, police, fire departments, libraries and parks. But while they are mandated to do good things with your tax dollars, they don’t always see the forest from the trees. They will constantly increase the amount of money for police, police stations, military-style equipment, but will cut funding for things like gardens, parks, libraries, homeless shelters, food banks, animal welfare centers and additional mental health personnel in our schools. They have the power to defund any project or organization they see as unnecessary or frivolous.
Oh, there will be hearings, when the citizen taxpayers are given a few minutes to express themselves. But it’s inevitable that only a few people decide how they spend your money. If they are blatantly wrong, you must wait for an election to change them out. What if something is systemically wrong? What if one of the departments was not only wasting money, but was gaming the system so that oversight, review and reform was not possible? My old line, “Too busy to get the job done” applies to this ailment.
Trump has been “very effective” in changing government and one of the arrows in his demented quiver is DEFUNDING. He just goes into the budget of America and says, we don’t need inspectors “for this or that.” He just defunds a department and renders it unworkable. Trump got rid of the team in the White House that was supposed to look out for a global pandemic. He’s been cannibalizing Obamacare from the day he took office. He’s an unworthy caretaker of the Earth who took away all the environmental rules and staff to patrol polluters. He buffoons at the microphone about how we have the cleanest air and purest water. That sounds like an “idiot” to me.
Trump is a tough guy wannabe who thinks the police will defend him if things go horribly wrong. He used to think that about the military, as well, but lately he’s not so sure they are on his side. What I am feeling right now is the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) are merging into an evil cloud over America. Please allow me to expand.
Trump continually brands himself as the “law and order” president. That rhetoric has been used by many local mayors and governors to send a message that they are not going to take any shit from anyone. Okay, but who is the real enemy in this equation? In Trump’s viewpoint, anyone who disagrees with him is the adversary.
With all this crazy stuff with COVID and then the George Floyd disaster, the Donald is staring right into a double-barreled challenge. Unrest is not good. Recent polls show that 80% of the people surveyed think the nation is out of control.
A President is supposed to fix things and bring the country together, not make things worse. The President believes if he just tweets “everything is under control,” everyone will follow him. They won’t. Trump will galvanize the left with this tough talk, while alienating the moderates with his inability to see anything beyond money and his own need for admiration. If I were to march in the street tomorrow, I would he holding a sign DEFUND THE WHITE HOUSE. I don’t want those assholes he’s assembled there deciding what to do with my money.
That brings us to these young kids with their posters saying DEFUND THE POLICE. Most people don’t get it. It’s brilliant. The only thing that gets a politician’s attention is when you threaten to defund one of their pet projects. And the only way to really reform the police departments is to take away the funds, and then, ask the city mothers and fathers to sit down and talk about how to make law enforcement work better. First, get rid of all that military stuff. You don’t need a tank or a rocket launcher in domestic law enforcement unless you are planning to kill us all. And next, why are you killing people who are not involved in violent crime?
There are 17,985 U.S. police agencies in the United States which include City Police Departments, County Sheriff’s offices, State Police/Highway Patrol and Federal Law Enforcement agencies and all those agencies employ about 800,000 policemen and women; 15.5% are African American. We have the most people per capita imprisoned than any country in the world with almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails.
It’s a little bit like when they say, “The more testing for COVID-19, the more cases you’ll get.” I say, “The more police you have, the more people you’ll arrest,” and the more people will end up in jail. Don’t get me wrong, we need police, but we need a better system. This is systemic stupidity and failure.
So, first, take the money that’s currently invested into the military-industrial police state and use it to build and run better schools. And let’s teach people to not call 9-11 to report things that are NOT crimes. What a waste of time and money when cops come to help get a cat out of the tree in the front yard. We need more service-oriented people and specific phone numbers for auxiliary services. Let the police do police work. That must be defined during defunding.
Next, stop the iron fisted control of law enforcement by the FOP and bring in total transparency. There should be a national database for all 17,985 police agencies and their personnel so we know who those fucking bad apples are. Stop saying it’s only a few bad apples. Bad apples next to other apples, makes the whole barrel rot. Not only is it a bad metaphor, we saw the other three “good apples” in Minneapolis keep the unarmed black man down until he was dead.
And after defunding your police department, why don’t you re-interview all the officers who want to come back to work. Get to know them and find out what their personnel files really hold. You might be surprised that some of the people on the thin blue line don’t deserve to get their jobs back. And the good apples, bring them back, give them a raise, and count on them to do a good job keeping you safe.
We need to stop listening to the idiot in the White House, who wants to pick fights with professional athletes, movie stars and even NASCAR drivers who will take a knee this time. Trump is on the wrong side of this issue because he cannot read America properly and because he just can’t read. IF THE GOAL OF THOSE PROTESTING THE POLICE WAS TO GET YOUR ATTENTION, THEY GOT YOUR ATTENTION! NOW WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.
The book that tells it like it is…
Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.