Oh come on, Democrats. Words matter. "Defund" police? Really? Do you WANT four more years of Donald Trump as an arbitrary, dangerous, cruel ruler?

No two people agree on what the Defund Police movement means precisely.

Some insist it means abolish police departments.

Others say it means serious reform where, for example, mental health experts accompanied by police officers as backup respond to domestic violence situations. They want money reallocated to focus on community development and less money spent on police weaponry.

People are exhausted by 400 years of racism and police brutality against blacks. They want action and real change, not more words, not study commissions, not lip service.

"Defund police" is one effort to ensure change but it comes across as hollow jargon that reformers devised for its shock value, but which is confusing and divisive to most Americans.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., put it well: "We cannot allow sloganeering to hijack the movement (of reform) as it has before. In the '60s, it became 'burn, baby, burn.' No. No to that and no to the word 'defund.'"

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also rejected the term outright even as Trump gleefully seized on the defund term to batter Democrats over the head, insisting that "defunding" will never happen.

The fact that there is such enormous disagreement over the term enables Trump and Republicans determined to stay in power to paint it as a knee-jerk response that won't create justice for minorities but foment all-out lawlessness and leave Americans unprotected.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee called to examine new proposals to ensure justice, "It is pure insanity to defund the police. ... Abolishing the police is wrong and American people know it is wrong."

Jordan said there must be action to right the wrongs that have been done to black Americans. But then he seized on the absurdity of the word "defund." There is no recognition in his statement of the anguish of black parents every time their children go out the door.

We are in the middle of an historic moment that recognizes that civil rights in this country have been shunted aside for millions of our citizens. It is causing turbulence that, we should all hope, leads to fairness, justice, better trained police, less violence and less fear. Most Americans agree on that and agree that Black Lives Matter. And that groundswell should give everyone hope.

We must have a ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants. We need national standards on use of police force. We need a national registry of fired police officers so bad cops don't just move to another locality and do more harm. We need reallocation of scarce public funds to promote more social equality.

And, as Minneapolis' thoughtful black police chief, Medaria Arradondo, said, Americans need police union contracts to be rewritten to recognize that making police officers accountable for their problematic actions is essential. He announced he is breaking off contract negotiations with his own union because hidebound, protective supervisors continue to undercut needed disciplinary action.

We also should realize that a newly common police crowd-control tactic of herding or kettling large groups of protesters, including troublemakers, into boxed-in areas inadvertently exacerbates tense situations. Being corralled in a chaotic situation, sometimes with tear gas canisters exploding all around, and being unable to get out is terrifying. There are also many questions about whether curfews work to curtail violence or simply result in mass arrests.

Sadly, the number of police killings of civilians is increasing to more than a thousand a year. And only 5% are for serious offenses. As of June 4, 429 American civilians were shot and killed by police, including 88 blacks. Shooting someone six times for a traffic violation is seriously bad police work.

Restructuring police departments sounds more sensible and possible than defunding them. Getting rid of corruption and bad apples while rewarding the thousands of dedicated, good officers who put their lives on the line every day sounds much better than disbanding entire police departments, whether or not that is what reformers mean.

Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at amcfeatters@nationalpress.com.