Charley's Blog: Dog-whistle language of politics excites police haters

By Charley Wilkison
Executive Director

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If someone yells “gun” in a theater they shouldn’t then be the one calling for calm. The red hot rhetoric aimed against public workers, police officer benefits and government in general is coming home to roost. And the anger in the street has been turned toward those who are most visible and most vulnerable—street cops. The dog whistle language of politics intended to excite and incense the political bases of both parties is working.

From one side we hear the police are over militarized, racists, and overall just out of control. On the other side we see a movement to destroy officer working conditions.

For some time now, we have heard elected leaders from both the left and right talk about police pay and deferred compensation items such as earned retirement benefits as entitlements. This inference places cops on the level of con artists and thieves. The linguistics of disrespect drip from their vocabulary. ‘Unsustainable’ is the word most commonly used by those seeking to turn the public against you. 

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