Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner won reelection last night. Well, he won his primary over a challenger backed heavily by the police union—but he will win reelection as a Democrat in a Democratic city. As far as the primary part, though, there was some question. Or so some thought.
Larry Krasner beat his primary opponent by a two-to-one margin. He smoked him. Trounced.
Honestly, the first I’d heard of Krasner was after yesterday’s victory, and framed in the context of how the race had been covered. That came on Twitter, via Portland criminal defense attorney David Menschel, and his thread on its own gives you a sense for what Krasner’s about and why the race has drawn attention outside the City of Brotherly Love.
The complete string is worth a look but, for full effect, I’m going to pull out a few headlines here.
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Yeah, what Wesley said.
This perspective was exactly what I thought of when I saw this story flutter on down my Seattle Twitter list.
Nationally, locally—we see a lot of stories like this. This one features the perspectives of three people: the police chief, one police officer and a Seattle city councilmember.
(Side note: on the subject of “interceding,” the police chief who was interviewed here had just the other day vetoed a ruling from the Seattle Office of Police Accountability stating officers interceded a bit too much by tear-gassing a densely-populated neighborhood and fitting blast balls at protestors. Guess interceding, and then some, is okay!)
The central theme on these is usually the same, that progressive criminal justice reform has overstepped its bounds, but the people interviewed vary—it could be the police union head or a random bar owner or a suburban mom who doesn’t drive downtown anymore.
What you don’t see when it comes to pieces on things like police department morale and declining officer applications and shrinking forces are everyday people who are generally pretty cool with it. Because yeah, all those protests last year, that movement, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ yard signs—this is what we’re talking about.
This is what we want. Duh.
Here in Seattle, an October 2020 Crosscut poll revealed 54% of citizens support—and only 38% oppose—diverting funding away from police agencies and toward social services and community programs.
You page through the big publications here in Seattle and you’ll see potshots taken at our supposedly radical city council. And this is a city council that saw seven of nine seats up for reelection in November of 2019.
We just voted for them! And they started to do some of the stuff we wanted! Not even close to all of it, but that’s a subject for a different time.
This isn’t just an issue in Seattle. Take immensely popular causes like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and cannabis legalization, and you will rarely if ever see a major publication present them as mainstream concepts with countrywide support. On some big topics, the country is to the left of Democrats.
People in diners like healthcare and pot, too.
Hate clicks count the same as normal clicks and everyone—whether they know it or not—likes and has been conditioned to be scared, angry or both.
But, and maybe I’m crazy here, stories about people wanting nicer things and a more just world are ones I think audiences would read. They aren’t crazy concepts. That much is clear.
The issue could be anything from a lack of diversity in newsrooms to media executives having similar politics to their colleagues at the top of other industries, but we need to figure it out.
If journalism is going to be some beacon of justice and a hallmark of a democratic society, more needs to be done to frame stories around the true will of the people.