Just Another Guy with Opinions

Kiss and Make up with a Beer?

Posted by shadmia on July 26, 2009

Barack Obama smilesSgt. James CrowleyHenry Louis Gates

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. (a Black man) was arrested in his house by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley (a White man). President Obama (a Black man) says the Cambridge police “acted stupidly” in making the arrest.

The situation escalates and charges of racism and racial profiling are leveled. The President is criticized for defending the Harvard scholar and the unapologetic policeman is backed by his union. The news media, talk shows and blogs all have a field day as the public weighs in with various opinions. Sounds like a powder keg about to explode, right? But not so fast…..President Obama had more to say:

“This has been ratcheting up, and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up,” he said. “I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department and Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could’ve calibrated those words differently.”

In what he called an opportunity for a “teachable moment“, Obama, at the suggestion of officer Crowley, invited both men to have a beer with him at the White House.

“My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved, and the way they would have liked it to be resolved,” Obama said. “The fact that it has garnered so much attention, I think, is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America, and — you know, so to the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate. What I would like to do, then, is to make sure that everybody steps back for a moment, recognizes that these are two decent people.”

In what was a very different tone than before, Henry Louis Gates Jr. said he would accept Obama’s invitation to the White House for a beer with the President and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley, who had arrested him. In a statement posted Friday on The Root, a Web site Gates oversees, the scholar said he told Obama he’d be happy to meet with Crowley, whom Gates had accused of racial profiling.

“I told the president that my principal regret was that all of the attention paid to his deeply supportive remarks during his press conference had distracted attention from his health care initiative,” Gates said. “I am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment, and if meeting Sergeant Crowley for a beer with the president will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige.”

“It is time for all of us to move on, and to assess what we can learn from this experience” Gates said. “…..Because, in the end, this is not about me at all; it is about the creation of a society in which ‘equal justice before law’ is a lived reality.”

A trio of Massachusetts police unions released a joint statement shortly after Obama’s latest comments, saying Crowley had a friendly and meaningful conversation with the president.

“We appreciate his sincere interest and willingness to reconsider his remarks about the Cambridge Police Department,” according to the statement. “It is clear to us from this conversation, that the President respects police officers and the often difficult and dangerous situations we face on a daily basis.”

Isn’t it wonderful to see intelligent people act intelligently? I, however do wonder if it’s possible for a President, a Professor and a Policeman (yeah the 3 Pees) to agree on what kind of beer they should be drinking.

I can just see the new ad campaign for which ever beer wins: “Intelligent people drink”……. or “the beer that brought the nation back together”…… Stay tuned!!

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