A politically acceptable whitewashing of the actual problems, ignoring the hard issues and instead giving us bite sized "solutions" that are really just theater to make it look like politicians are doing something useful. Racial diversity training sounds good to liberals, pisses off conservatives (who are tired of being called racist), and in the end completely ignores the institutional corruption that has led to the biases built into the system. Conservatives will probably still swallow it because it throws more money at policing, which is an automatic good thing in their books. Tough on crime, smarter on crime, sound bytes are there, so it'll do, and in the end nothing will actually be fixed.
Fundamentally I think this is a failure of our political systems. Professional politicians are incapable of actually doing what's necessary to reform not just policing, but the laws and institutions that drive police to do what they do. There's just too big of a risk for them professionally. They don't want to, nor feel like they can, actually upset the apple cart. The system is designed to be as rigid and inflexible as possible, with only a symbolic turnover, in the way of elections, to make it look like change is possible. In reality, any new comers into the system are quickly forced to accept it, work within it, and ultimately nothing gets done. This is why we've had decades upon decades of the same failed policies, and change in large part hasn't come from the political system, but the judicial system or via methods that bypass the political process entirely (eg suing for equal marriage rights, or ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana).
Someone please explain to me why we still elect people who will say anything to get elected, and then quickly abandon all of that once they get into office? Why do we expect things to actually change when the system has clearly evolved to protect and serve the interests of those in power, and as such will not significantly change on its own?
Oh, because we keep buying the idea that we just need to get "the right people" into office. We just need to get enough of them in there. And then it'll all happen. At what point do we say that this experiment has failed? How much longer are we going to continue to run it, and continue to be disappointed with the results? How much longer are we going to risk that the "wrong people" get into office and we have another unjust war? Another invasion of a country that didn't harm us? Another program of torture, kidnapping, black sites, etc? Another (insert your least favorite and despicable "leader" here)?
There's got to be a better way to do it, but the problem is we don't know what that is. We don't know what the particular rules need to be to actually solve the hard problems of crime, poverty, hunger, inequality, war and peace. What we have now certainly has failed. If some other country had figured it out, you'd think we'd all catch onto it and the idea would spread. But no, it hasn't been done yet. Why? Because the conditions under which we're running the experiments (how to govern ourselves) are inadequate. I'd also say that they are unethical, and would not pass an ethics review board at even the most lackadaisical institution of higher learning.
Imagine if we start from the beginning. You have a new country. All the citizens are in a room, and we're deciding how to run things. Of course there are going to be disagreements on various aspects, but let's find what are the necessary basic things that absolutely must be there. May I propose the following.
1) The government can only lawfully govern with the consent of the governed. Consent requires complete disclosure of what the conditions of the experiment will be. Dissent, the opposite of consent, must be possible and even encouraged.
2) The rules of the experiment must be the same for everyone involved. There can be no rules that apply to only one particular subset of those natural beings involved in the experiment.
3) Artificial legal entities (such as corporations, governments, unions, police departments) are not entitled to the same rights as natural beings. This stems from our inability to properly punish these entities - fines become a cost of business, and are simply added to the prices to accommodate any illegal activities. As such, we should be able to limit what they can do. But how can this be done if we don't know what we must limit in the first place? How can this be done and still engender a free market where competition should be the ultimate deciding factor? I propose that they should have no right to privacy, as any of their actions can have dramatic impact on the experiment itself (not to mention its participants). They cannot have free speech in the same sense as an natural being, in the sense that if a natural being says something that is not true, typically the impact on the rest of the public is minimal, whereas lies on the part of such an entity are an assault on the public trust given to that entity. Governments should not be able to lie. Corporations that sell poison should not be able to market or drive the demand for their poison (eg tobacco). Fraud, lies, of any sort, are an assault on the public. Finally, anti competitive practices should be eliminated. Buying/taking over a competitor? Banned. Out competing them by driving prices artificially low to squeeze them out? Banned. Agreements to create zones of monopoly where they would not compete? Banned. Many of these things are already technically illegal, or were, but government has lost the capability to enforce them.
Ultimately, the laws governing trade should be extremely simple, promote competition, maximize freedom (freedom here means being able to do something without having to go to someone else to get permission), and at the same time allow those involved in this experiment every opportunity to evaluate whether or not any harm may come to them from the actions of these entities.
4) Specialization in trades has been tremendously beneficial to humanity. Specialization in politics and government has failed, and has led to institutions that actively avoid innovation, actively avoid change. It has led to cults of personality. It has led to discussing more the people involved, rather than the problems and their solutions. It leads to an organization that separates the governed from the governing in the form of an establishment, ultimately reducing the role of those outside the establishment in self government. It thus promotes specialization in petitioning the government on behalf of those who can afford to do so. It opens the revolving door between the regulators, and the regulated, which means regulations written by the regulated (regulatory capture) designed to protect their interests, and decrease competition. So how do we govern without specialization? I propose a sortition. A randomly selected number of people who will perform the job of governing for a period of time. They will evaluate the need for new laws, or removal of old laws. They will analyze the problems and try their best to figure out what, if anything else, needs to be done. And they will be evaluated at the end of their work by the people. If the people judge that the sortition did a good job, then the sortition is awarded a tax free bonus. If the people judge that the sortition has failed to address any problems, or has proposed theater in the place of actual solutions, or otherwise performed inadequately, then the sortition is paid the median salary. A new sortition will enter government every 1-2 years, receive training on what is expected, allowed, and not, and then proceed to do the work of governing.
But but but - you might ask. Yes, you're right. It might happen that a sortition does not accurately represent the entire spectrum of the people. This is what happens with random selection. But remember, 50% of the US congress is made up of millionaires. Are they an accurate sampling of the people of the United States?
But but but what if the sortition creates laws that are against gays, or women? See rule 2. And the current system is also very much subject to this possibility.
But but but - this is crazy, we need professionals, otherwise how are things going to get fixed? Sorry, you haven't been paying attention to what's going on, have you?
Alright, this is already ridiculously too long of a post, and some of you may argue that it's OT. Except it's not. Police are an essential part of government. They enforce the laws that we the people should be consenting to. If the system that generates those laws is corrupt and fails to represent us, it's no wonder that we have these problems with our police. To truly address these issues, we have to get to the root of the problem, otherwise we're just smearing chocolate frosting on shit and calling it a cake.
I'm curious if anyone will read this, and will have any responses. FWIW - I don't think necessarily government is good or evil, or that corporations or unions are good or evil. While I believe in free, competitive markets to compete in consumer goods, I don't think markets are the solution for everything (eg health care, policing). I don't believe that extremely specific rules by governments are all that useful, as they eventually lead to loopholes, less competition, and wasteful and inefficient bureaucracy. I value the privacy and rights of humans over non humans simply because humans are much less capable of fucking over vast numbers of us. I don't don't believe that greed and self interest is the only thing that drives humanity forward, nor do I believe that if we all just sing the same song we'll all get along.
Shit, almost 10,000 character limit. Sorry.