I’ve been changing my mind who knows how many times during this whole Gates-Crowley controversy.
First, there was President Obama’s press conference, in which he remarked that the Cambridge police had acted “stupidly” in its treatment of Professor Gates. Right-wing pundits are saying that the President was racist when he said that, since he presumed that a white police officer had to be a racist when he arrested an African-American. Not so. When I first heard Obama make that statement, I thought that he was fair and level-headed. He acknowledged that the Cambridge police had just cause to respond to the phone call about Gates breaking into his own house. But he said that the officer acted “stupidly” when he arrested Gates for “disorderly conduct” after Gates had showed him his ID, proving the house was his. There are now doubts about whether that even happened, but Obama was commenting based on what he thought was common knowledge at the time. And I applauded the President’s comment, since I’m sure a lot of African-Americans are sick of being bullied by the police, especially officers on a power-trip.
The next day, we learn more about Officer Crowley. He turns out not to be Archie Bunker at all, for he teaches classes on diversity and the importance of not racially profiling, and he said that he’s behind the President “110 per cent.” The police department stands by him, refusing to apologize for his behavior. I applauded their stand against a know-it-all President and the forces of political-correctness, which loves to toss out the charge of “racism” for the sake of its own power and influence. And I was moved that Officer Crowley turned out to be nothing like what most people expected.
The next week, Chris Matthew was interviewing Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, a Republican from Michigan, who’s introducing a resolution demanding that the President apologize to Officer Crowley. At first, I thought, “Oh, come on! Like there aren’t other problems for the government to address. I get so sick of phony moral outrage!” But I started to like Congressman McCotter once he began mouthing off to Chris Matthews. Chris said, “Congressman, you introduced a resolution” blah, blah, blah, to which the Congressman replied, “Yes, Chris, I know what I did.” I applauded the Congressman for not being intimidated by some liberal pundit who gets a kick out of cornering people.
This morning, I read Ann Coulter’s column on the Gates incident (see http://www.anncoulter.com–I’ve been having problems cutting and pasting lately on blogger), and I enjoyed it, probably because I have a personal bias against Harvard liberalism. She portrayed Gates as someone who was essentially saying, “How dare you question me. Do you not know who I am!” I tend to recoil from Ivy League elitism and its notion that liberalism should be beyond question, so I appreciated Ann Coulter’s irreverence.
Now, I just saw the title of an AP article, which says that there will be no apologies at the get-together tonight among the President, Crowley, and Gates. And I as an observer am content with that. Obama is bringing them together so that they can interact on a human level, without worrying about who’s right and who’s wrong, “you did this” and “you did that.” Barack Obama is a peacekeeper, and you know what the beatitudes say about peacekeepers! I’ve read right-wing articles that call this whole beer get-together a “joke,” since Obama and Gates don’t plan to apologize to Officer Crowley. These pundits need to grow up! I think that Obama can come across as an arrogant, Ivy League, “how dare you question me?” liberal, but I admire him for looking beyond the usual stupid “us vs. them” mentality so that people can come together and interact as human beings.