Bender "dismantles police:" Last night, Brian Williams began his initial panel segment with these remarks:
WILLIAMS (6/8/20): I heard Democrats today call this a straight-up "Valentine," politically, to Republicans. We've seen the fruits of that already, today and tonight.To what formulation did Williams refer? What phrase is now functioning as a political Valentine to Republicans?
I have heard Democrats reassure people that this isn't what it says. And I've seen a lot of complaints on social media what when you use the phrase, explain the phrase.
Needless to say, he was referring to the tribally pleasing, revolutionary phrase, "Defund the police." According to Williams, Democrats are now assuring people that the phrase "doesn't mean what it says."
So we ever actually say what we mean? Do we ever mean what we say? At any rate, so it can go when our flailing tribe attempts to conduct public discourse.
As of yesterday morning, the fraught phrase had taken on a new, even more revolutionary form—"dismantle the police." In Minneapolis, members of the city council had said that's what they were planning to do. And they don't seem to be backing down from their alleged Valentine to the others.
Where had Williams already seen the fruits of this verbal folderol? Yesterday, an interview on CNN was being widely played on Fox. It featured Lisa Bender, president of the Minneapolis City Council, saying that she stood behind the peculiar-sounding pledge.
Bender was interviewed by Alisyn Camerota on CNN's morning program. For our money, Camerota is one of cable's sanest and soundest performers. Her first question went like this:
CAMEROTA (6/8/20): Joining us now is Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender. Ms. Bender, we're so happy to have you this morning, because the move by the city council certainly got a lot of people's attention last night, and we're so happy to have you clarify this.In short, do you actually mean what you've said? Do you actually plan to "get rid" of your city's police department?
So what are you trying to do? Are you hoping, by "dismantling" the Minneapolis Police Department, that you will be getting rid of the police department?
When Bender failed to provide a direct answer, Camerota asked again. That's when the nightmare began taking shape:
CAMEROTA: But to be clear, you're not talking about reform. The word "dismantle" is intentionally different than "reform."According to Bender, she does indeed "imagine a future without police!" That future is a long way off, but that's where she says she's heading.
This is more than reform. This is dismantling. I mean, activists who support this are calling this a police-free future.
BENDER: Yes. And, you know, a lot of us were asked if we could imagine a future without police back in 2017, when we were running for office. And I answered yes to that question. To me, that future is a long way away and it would take an enormous amount of investment in things that we know work to keep people safe.
I mean, for a lot of folks in our community, stable housing is a safety issue. Having access to healthcare is a safety issue. And so, having—you know, I think one thing folks are asking is to stop investing so much money in this militarized police force and instead invest in the things that our community really needs.
So, you know, I know the statement was bold and I stand by that bold statement, but the work ahead of us will be long...
At this problematical moment, Camerota questioned Bender for the third time. It's the following Q-and-A which has been airing on Fox:
CAMEROTA: Do you understand that the word "dismantle," or "police-free," also makes some people nervous, for instance? What if in the middle of night, my home is broken into? Who do I call?On Fox, Bender's answer is sometimes cut off at the point where she says the desire to call the police at a moment of danger "comes from a place of privilege." Sometimes, the fuller response is aired.
BENDER: Yes, I mean, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors. And I know—and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege. Because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done.
In any case, this is one part of the political Valentine to which Williams referred. Bender says the desire to call the police if your home is being invaded "comes from a place of privilege." She has "imagined a future without police" for at least three years!
Alas! This is what happens when our tribe invents distinctive new language and starts to blab it around. It can reach the point where the desire to avoid being killed in your bed "comes from a place of privilege!"
In that gift to the other side, what did Bender actually mean? Quite literally, Bender said the following:
The current, traditional system is working for people like her. Rather than seek a way to extend that benefit to everyone, she would "dismantle" her city's police force. Since everyone isn't being fully well served, she wants no service for anyone.
Or something! Who knows what this actually means? (Williams sees it as a Valentine, and he's probably right.)
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our human skills are highly limited.
Being of a certain age, we've seen our tribe melt down in this manner before. This time, it seems even dumber.
Way back when: Way back when, the joke, and the bumper stickers, went like this:
Don't like the police? Next time you're in danger, call a hippie!
That fifty-year old joke is being refashioned on Fox. "Call a social worker" is being offered as the new punch line.