It doesn’t come as any surprise that the Democrats have started pushing police reform again (if they ever stopped) following the death of Tyre Nichols. They have never been people who don’t take advantage of heightened emotions following a tragedy. Allowing people to process events and make an informed decision does not seem to be an option.
What is nice to see is that some members of Congress seem to be working together to craft a bill that might work, although that still remains to be seen.
Representative James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, is encouraging members of his party to find middle ground in this situation.
“There’s no perfect bill. To keep trying to get the perfect piece of legislation rather than a good piece of legislation — I just don’t know if that’s a good thing to do.” Clyburn told The Washington Post.
No one is saying that changes aren’t needed, but what it comes down to is what changes are necessary and who should be making them. And, of course, if a new measure fails in its purpose, it needs to be reversed.
We can see what happens when things are not well thought out. The “Defund the Police ” movement led to skyrocketing crime in cities where budgets were cut. In this instance, some city governments have started walking back their failed policies, but sadly, it is easier to tear something down than to build it. It will take longer to rebuild police departments in those cities, and the residents will have to deal with the consequences for years to come.
On the other hand, especially when departments get desperate in trying to hire police because many of the good guys quit, some of the new quick and easy hires can end up abusing their authority without understanding the laws they are tasked to uphold. There will always be those who abuse their power in every institution.
Clyburn is trying to craft a bill that politicians on both sides of the aisle can accept, although they might not like it. He is working with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina whom he also worked with on a police reform bill in 2020 after the death of George Floyd. At that time, the bill fell apart because Democrats wanted to reduce police funding.
“I’ve been working toward common ground solutions that actually have a shot at passing,” Scott tweeted recently. “Solutions to increase funding and training to make sure only the best wear the badge. Solutions that would have made a difference in places like Memphis & Kenosha.”
What remains to be seen is what comes of this act of bipartisanship. In recent years, Republicans have been ignored in Congressional discussions because the Democrats controlled both houses. Now, with the government split, both sides will need to negotiate to make something happen.
If not, nothing will happen, and honestly, that is not necessarily a bad thing given how poor negotiators Republicans are and what big whiners Democrats are. Republicans roll over and give Democrats nearly everything they ask for in a bill, and the Democrats will still whine and complain they didn’t get everything.
So, here’s hoping both parties are serious about improving policing and not just scoring political points.
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