Gunning for Obama: Why the alt-left would rather sacrifice Black lives than give up their sacred slogan


Photo: Gage Skidmore. License.

A mini online hatefest has broken out from the socialists against the last Democratic president, Barack Obama. At an interview, President Obama correctly pointed out that the fancy sloganeering from the alt-left - specifically their absurd marriage to the phrase "defund the police" is losing voters who do not want the police to be abolished, making it more difficult for Democrats to win tough races, which, in turn is making it more difficult to actually enact needed reforms in policing. In other words, people who want police reforms and additional resources for community and social services are, by insisting on a woke phraseology, working against their own stated goals. 

Particularly, President-elect Biden's former boss put the attitude of the self-proclaimed woke left succinctly: 

"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?"

The Very Online Left did not like this. The truth is that they are in fact more interested in feeling good among their cultish bubbles rather than actually accomplishing any policy goals, even their stated ones, but it just doesn't sound good when a someone as brilliant and anticlimactic as Barack Obama breaks down your entire argument in a single question. It sounds even worse when one considers that majorities of Black Americans, who suffer the most the hands of police brutality and fight the hardest for reform in policing, consistently support more, not less, funding for police.

It is notable, however, that the socialist left did not nearly have the same reaction when their favorite white progressives said essentially the same thing. I wonder what sets Barack Obama apart.

The so-called Squad of misfits who have, between them, yet to formulate a significant legislative accomplishment, was all the way out front to take umbrage and express faux outrage. Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Congressional newcomer Cori Bush typified the alt-left response, such as it were, by conflating President Obama's point about losing voters with people who are being murdered by police. Full of self-righteous pomp, they proclaimed that sticking it to the police linguistically was of utmost importance.

And that painfully demonstrates the point President Obama plainly made: the woke left, by choosing to sloganeer for Twitter acolytes, are hurting the cause of real progress.

The facts are clear. Association with socialist sloganeering of "defund the police" - simply by the virtue of the fact that these modern socialists reside on the fringe of the Democratic party and their messiah Bernie Sanders made a serious run at the Democratic nomination for president twice - was the direct cause of much of the downballot bleeding Democrats suffered on election day even as Joe Biden, who deployed a strategy to distance himself from the fringe early and often, won a big victory in the race for the White House. Alt-left sloganeering almost cost the Democrats the House, and it is a key reason why Democrats failed to gain seats in the Senate that appeared to be ripe for pickup, ensuring that control of the Senate now hinges on Democrats having to win both runoffs in Georgia.

President Obama is correct. Broad, feel-good sloganeering by the alt-left that are by their own admission meaningless - to a person, the Squad, if asked, will explain 'defund' merely means 'redirect' - hurt Democrats.

But this is where it gets really depressing: doing something about police violence, reimagining community policing, and reinvesting resources in social services so that the police isn't the default service anytime anyone is experiencing a crisis that law enforcement isn't especially trained or qualified to handle could be as simple as abandoning a slogan, and the woke alt-left won't do it. By simply abandoning a slogan and pursuing the policies they say they actually want, they could make police more accountable and save the lives of future victims of police brutality and misconduct. By insisting on the slogan, they are in fact putting the lives of Black and brown people at greater danger.

The alt-left doesn't care about policy. Policy is messy. Policy requires compromise. Even policy that moves the ball forward won't check every one of your vanity boxes. Sloganeering, on the other hand, is simple, bumper-sticker and Instagram ready, and a fantastic tool to give yourself the high of feeling like you did something without actually doing anything.

Because this, for the alt-left, isn't about doing something to help save Black and brown lives, or about creating more just law enforcement and additional community service resources. This is about taking out their aggression against the big bad system, preserving their purity, and feeling good.