I’ll start by paraphrasing Jay-Z from his “The Story of O.J.” track last year:
“Light hater, dark hater
Faux hater, real hater
Rich hater, poor hater
Dem hater, Rep hater
Still hater. Still hater”
Despite all those haters, Larry Krasner was sworn in on January 2 as the 26th District Attorney of the City and County of Philadelphia following a landslide victory in the May primary election with nearly 40 percent of the vote in a seven candidate race and following a blow-out victory in the November general election with about 75 percent of the vote- including more than 150,000 of the 200,000 ballots cast- in the race against a candidate who was endorsed by the FOP, which is the very same police organization that joined David Duke’s KKK in endorsing Trump.
That victory wasn’t a moment. It was a mandate. It also was a movement. And that movement not only got Krasner in; it also got Krasner’s back. And it will mobilize even more soldiers than it had in the victorious primary and general elections. And that’s because this movement- of which I am a proud member/soldier- knows winning is easier than governing, especially when the reactionaries will surely fight tooth and nail to drag Philly back to the bad ole “Seth Williams/Lynne Abraham/Frank Rizzo” days of unjust law enforcement.
There’s a new sheriff in town. And he’s gonna end that injustice by bringing in a new team of prosecutors, a team that can best be described as the Justice League, a team that’s not “tough on crime” but “smart on crime.” This team will zealously pursue “Smart Justice,” which was a key plank in Krasner’s campaign platform as well as throughout his 30 year trial lawyer career.
That “Smart Justice” concept involves prosecutors working with good cops to focus the municipality’s limited resources on constitutionally arresting and fairly prosecuting the documented six percent of the neighborhood criminals who commit sixty percent of the city’s crime.
Krasner will punish the bad guys but, in the process, will take a holistic approach that will promote rehabilitation because he knows that the so-called street thugs will eventually have served their time after two, five, ten, fifteen, or more years in jail or prison. And then what? They’ll be back on the streets with no education, no job training, and no therapy, counseling, or treatment- which means they’ll continue victimizing you, me, and all of us. But Krasner’s “Smart Justice” initiative and his several other new policies will end that cycle and protect our communities.
Also, he’ll end police brutality by prosecuting bad cops just like he’ll prosecute street criminals. In addition, he’ll end “Stop & Frisk,” cash bail, drug addiction criminalization, mass incarceration, capital punishment, and civil asset forfeiture.
When Krasner won in November, he said, “This is not another story about kings and queens. This is a story about a movement. This is what a movement looks like.”
In response to his statement, I wrote the following on my Facebook page:
“Trust kinship, not kings
Trust quality, not queens
Trust merit, not men
Trust wisdom, not women
Trust humanity, not humans
Trust ideas, not individuals
Trust principles, not principals
Trust movements, not moments
District Attorney Larry Krasner is that kinship, that quality, that merit, that wisdom, that humanity, that idea, that principle, and especially that movement.”
When the haters come- and we know they’re coming- we’ll be ready to defeat them again. That’s because, as the May and November elections made abundantly clear, we, the lovers of justice, are the numerical and political majority while they, the haters of progressive change and revolution, are the numerical and political minority.
I began today’s column paraphrasing Jay-Z. I’ll end it quoting Sam Cooke’s 1964 classic in which he sang, “It’s been a long, a long time comin’. But I know a change gon’ come. Oh yes it will.”
It came on January 2. And it will continue to come during the next four years of Krasner’s progressive term- as long as we got his back.