Is Cori Bush right to call for defunding police while employing private security?


Fact Box

  • Cori Bush is US House representative for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District and is the first Black woman in the position. She also holds the titles of registered nurse, ordained pastor, and activist. 
  • On Wednesday, August 4, 2021, Bush spoke with CBS News about her stance on “defunding the police” and personal private security defending her costs in order to keep her alive. She said, “Either I spent $70,000 on private security over the last few months, and I’m here standing now and able to speak, able to help save 11 million people from being evicted. Or - I could possibly have a death attempt on my life.”
  • Republican lawmakers like Rep. Trey Gowdy criticized Bush for “hypocrisy” because her ideas would hinder average Americans from affording their own security. 
  • Defund the police” supports the redirecting of funds from the police into other government agencies, like social service to improve overall “mental health, addiction, and homelessness.” It does not mean to eradicate the police force. 
  • A March 2021 USA Today/Ipsos poll found that 18% of responders supported “defund the police” with more White Americans and Republicans opposing the movement.

Bill (No)

It's beyond hypocritical of Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush to call for defunding the police while enjoying the protection of a private security force for herself paid for by using nearly $70k of her campaign funds in the past three months, alone. This is the height of inside-the-beltway, tone-deaf, elitism from a Washington public servant. Her constituents in St. Louis (the city with the highest murder rate in the US) must be comforted that their representative in Congress is advocating to abolish law and order in their city, putting their lives even more at risk by defunding the police.

It doesn't take much analysis to realize that defunding the police disproportionately affects the high crime, low income, and heavily minority-populated neighborhoods in St. Louis. It takes an awful lot of nerve, cognitive dissonance, rank cynicism (or perhaps a combination of all three) for Bush to advocate against her constituents' interests on such a basic function of government (which is supposed to be the protection of its citizens' lives and property).

Bush demonstrates why voters distrust politicians—she and her colleagues run for office by appealing to the aggrieved, promising to improve their lives by addressing existing problems and inequities. Still, once in office, they focus their time and energy on building their campaign war chest to acquire and retain more political power. It appears Bush is on a mission to single-handedly lower the public's already appallingly low opinion of Congress (which stands at a woeful 26%). One can only hope that voters send a strong message to Bush in next year's mid-term elections and make her private security force unnecessary. 

Tyler (Yes)

Cori Bush's decision to employ a private security detail does not contradict her beliefs about defunding the police in any way. Bush is not calling for the abolishment of the police, just for certain funds to be reallocated into other departments that can protect and care for citizens. Bush's strategy of funding other departments will help reduce crime and violence due to workers only providing public service towards their specialty, whether protecting, teaching, or calming. 

Bush claims to have suffered numerous attempts on her life and many 'death threats,' which explain a need for having security. The Missouri native was in the United States Capitol Building during the infamous riots that took place on January 6. After becoming Missouri's first Black congresswoman last year, Bush shared the plethora of death threats she has received since accepting the position. When asked about her alleged 'hypocrisy,' she asserted that her life would be in danger without security. In an era where White supremacist groups like the Proud Boys and other violent organizations are making their presence felt, Bush is properly caring for the well-being of herself and her staff by employing security. Bush explained that the police's sole job should be to protect, not to give advice or be a form of social worker. Her security team serves the title that she feels police should have. Bush did not hire her security force for moral support or to protect her during a mental breakdown; she simply needs her life to be protected so she can do her job.

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