Politics

House Black Caucus chair breaks with Black Lives Matter

Rep. Karen Bass does not want to "defund the police."

Image Credit: bass.house.gov

In an interesting sign of the growing distance between the black radical racists of Black Lives Matter/the “defund the police” movement, and the Democrat black political establishment in DC, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) earlier this week expressed her distaste for the term “defund the police.” “I told some friends that’s probably one of the worst slogans ever,” said Bass in a Washington Post live broadcast.

Bass is also savvy enough to understand that the slogan and its message is political suicide not just with swing voters but with black urban voters who would suffer the most if police departments would lose funding to such a degree they could not fulfill their public safety functions in those sometimes crime-ridden areas.

“Police officers are the first ones to say they are law-enforcement officers, they’re not social workers,” said the Los Angeles member of Congress. “What we have done in our country is, we have not invested in health, social and economic problems in communities. We leave the police to pick up the pieces. In my city, for example, on any given night, we have over 40,000 people who are homeless. Why should the police be involved with that?”

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Her words are a very tactically clever pivot from what she comprehends is a losing message. “If you’re talking about a substance-abuse issue, talking about intellectual challenges, why should police officers have to clean up society’s problems?” Bass further commented. She also said that one of the main points of the “defund” movement was that cities and states had “lopsided” priorities. “Why doesn’t a city deal with its social problems so not so much money would have to go to law enforcement?”

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She mentioned that communities “do need police,” but divesting from the social safety net would leave law enforcement “in a very unfair position.” Bass noted that one of the main reasons law enforcement gets in “physical conflicts that have terrible results” is that they’re encountering people with mental illnesses they’re unequipped to handle.” That is a very good point.

Bass repeatedly has sought to differentiate between defunding police and reducing police budgets: “It was said that the mayor of Los Angeles defunded the police department. I just want to make a note that he absolutely did not defund the police department. He did reduce the budget and he shifted the funds to deal with some of the real issues that police officers always complain about.”

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But Bass’ sensible comments did not go unnoticed by partisans of the “defund” movement like Democrat New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC): “It may sound strange but many affluent suburbs have essentially already begun pursuing a defunding of the police in that they fund schools, they fund housing, and they fund health care more as their number one priorities.” But AOC has gone much farther than that in public statements, calling for a wholesale reduction in police numbers and a slashing to the bone of police budgets across many cities in the United States.

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