Rev. Al Sharpton: Yeah, we might need to dial back those calls for defunding the police

Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/AP

Wow! This is not something I thought I’d ever hear from Rev. Al Sharpton. Hat tip to a Twitter friend who highlighted Sharpton’s comments with two words “DEAR GOD.” Yeah, that’s about right. A man who made his name as a race-baiting activist thinks some of today’s social justice warriors need to dial it back a bit:

For many civil rights leaders, this week’s events brought a recognition — and renewed anger — that the political terrain over the past year has moved from one where Republicans were not only attacking proposals that came out of the summer of 2020 but were now realizing significant gains at the ballot box because of them.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said the election results validated concerns that some pushing for change have gone too far, alienating moderates and independents with talk of violent protests or proposals to defund police departments. The movement is at a tenuous spot, he said, needing to convince activists to tone down their rhetoric and become more pragmatic.

“We’re going to have engage more methodically and strategically in the process, because we could lose it all,” he said. “We’ve got to really bring everybody together and understand that this is a wake-up call and those really committed to voting rights and police reform need to deal with it in a practical way.”

I don’t imagine that, in his heart, Sharpton feels any differently about this issue than Wajahat Ali does. They both basically believe everyone who opposes them is racist. But give the man some credit. Whereas Ali’s only reaction is to throw a public tantrum and shout that white women are irredeemably racist, Sharpton is smart enough to see that this is a losing proposition. I’m not saying he’s wise but he’s at least a bit more mature.

The rest of the Post story this came from is a bit of a dog’s breakfast. For instance they quote one Democratic strategist who sounds pretty reasonable about the need to address what Republicans are saying (rather than just shouting at them), but that’s followed by a line that made me laugh. [emphasis added]

“I’ve spent a lot of time today laying out plans to talk about not only your accomplishments — but also how to engage on these cultural issues,” Dan Sena, a Democratic strategist who advises a number of congressional candidates, said Wednesday. “It’s going to be a big part of the playbook and Democrats have to realize Republicans are swifter on these and know how to use them better than, candidly, we have.”

The solutions, he said, are still a work in progress for a party that prides itself on a big tent and can struggle to talk about cultural issues.

Democrats struggle to talk about cultural issues? I hadn’t noticed. It seems to me Democrats have excelled at framing almost everything in terms of cultural issues lately. What were those BLM marches all last year about? What about the Women’s March? Their entire agenda is portrayed as a moral imperative from top to bottom. The Green New Deal, single-payer health care, ending mass incarceration, taxing the rich, paid family leave, free college tuition, defunding the police, anti-racism, trans rights, pronouns, pulling down statues, renaming schools, etc.—it’s hard to think of an issue embraced by the left that isn’t at least partly a cultural crusade complete with a specialized phalanx of activists who press these issues using their own special language. As we’ve seen with the wrangling over the reconciliation bill, the left’s cultural agenda is far more expansive (and expensive) than their actual infrastructure agenda.

So, no, the left doesn’t “struggle to talk about cultural issues.” As even Rev. Al admits, the left struggles to stop talking about cultural issues even when rambling on about it sets their own agenda up for failure. There’s more to the article but it’s really not worth reading so instead I’ll close this out with some of the reactions to Rev. Al’s comments.

Allahpundit-style exit question: How long before Wajahat Ali or Joy Reid push Rev. Al to recant? I don’t think he will do it but I’d love to be a fly on the wall for some of those conversations.