It may sound extreme to some, but the excessive, brutal and militarized police have lost sight of their mission. The police should be here to help our communities thrive and should be deescalating issues, however countless high profile incidents have shown us that the opposite is happening. Things are getting worse every day, and the frequency and severity of publicly known abuses of power are increasing. That is why I’m joining the millions of voices across America calling to defund Sting and The Police.
I’ve heard the counter-arguments so many times. “Everyone I talk to loves the Police.” This argument just illustrates the problem in our country of divided realities. Yes, the Police are popular in many circles. The Police have sold over 75 million records and Synchronicity was the No. 1 charting album in the UK, Canada, US, Australia and Italy, I can’t argue with that. What about people who don’t like the Police, though? What about the metalheads? The hip hop fans? The jazz cats? While the Police might not be hurting you personally, I can assure you that if you leave your white suburban bubbles you can see the pain that they have caused so many. There are whole communities who are scared every time that they hear a knock on the door that it will be Sting on the other side, ready to lay down a smooth, reggae-tinged bassline. The fear is understandable; for many, the Police are everywhere. Ghost in the Machine came out 30 years ago, yet tell me how many Sweet Sixteen parties you’ve been to where they haven’t played “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”?
The issues here won’t be solved by just getting rid of the Police, that’s not what I’m calling for. The Police still serve a role in a well-functioning society. The problem is just that the Police are becoming too powerful. Did you know that Andy Summers owns a tank? Ten years ago, tanks were reserved for the military, not for new wave rock guitarists. Things have clearly gotten out of hand and the system needs some interventions and oversight. There are some clear steps that can be taken other than getting rid of the Police to help restore the balance of power.
One thing we can do is divest. We can give some money to some alternatives to the Police: other new wave rock bands. The Talking Heads could do a lot for the community with just a fraction of the funding that the Police is getting. Research has shown that people respond well to The Cars, too. If we address the root cause of the issue, we wouldn’t need so much Police.
One other way to solve the problem is to see who is benefiting from this Police state and take them out of the equation. That’s right, I’m talking about the record labels. The Industrial Record Complex gets upwards of 80% of every dollar the Police makes. It is clearly in their best interest to have more Police presence. Did you know that they have whole marketing departments whose job it is to ensure that there’s Police playing on every corner? If it were up to them, the Police would be in every home in America. Is that the world you want to live in? The incentives are all backwards, if there’s a whole industry designed to make money off of the Police.
Defunding the Police would be radical change for sure, so I know it won’t be easy. One of the biggest obstacles here is the entrenched police culture. I’m sure many of you probably dressed as Sting for Halloween when you were kids. Stewart Copeland may have even come to your school for Career Day. It is going to take large cultural awareness and a mass ideological shift. While recent Police incidents in the news have helped raise awareness, there is still a large divide. Recently, Police fan clubs have been forming. These clubs are echo chambers, where people who love the Police can discuss their favorite songs and not get any outside perspective from those whose communities have been harmed by the Police.
The key here is education, but as society becomes siloed, it’s an uphill battle. I would love to get a victim of the Police (maybe a family member of someone killed by Andy Summers?) to come to one of these Police fan club meetings to talk about their perspective, but I doubt I can arrange that. The Police culture is so entrenched, that we most likely will need to just wait for the Boomers to die, at which point nobody alive will have heard of the Police and the problem will just go away on its own.