President Obama's Should-a, Would-a, Could-a

I'm pretty sure everyone has weighed in on how they feel about the Dr. Henry Louis Gates story and about whether or not Sgt. Crowley is a racist. The more I read into this, the more I believe both parties were actually being stupid.

I chose the word stupid and I chose it deliberately. So did the president. That's what I'm going to talk about right now.

If you watch him speak, note exactly what he said. The CNN story on this statement elucidates matters further. But I want to highlight a specific part.

"I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically," Obama told reporters. "I could have calibrated those words differently, and I told this to Sgt. Crowley."

The last two days about President Obama's statements have been about word choice. Last night, the president said Cambridge Police Department acted stupidly. They did. A man was arrested in his own home after complying (loudly and reluctantly, but who's all that eager to satiate the police normally?) with the officer's requests. A 58-year-old man who walks on a cane and just came off a week-long trip from an international flight is not a threat to a police officer. He didn't need to be handcuffed. For him to undergo any (perceived) harassment would entail him getting... let's just say agitated. But even if he gets loud, it's not cause for arrest. Beside the fact, if you can't get "disorderly" in your own home, what kind of country is this?

I wouldn't hurt a fly. Seriously, look at me. Flies seem pretty scary.

But let me get back to the president's "apology." When I first heard that he spoke, I was bothered that he backed down. At least I was until I really looked at what he said. The president said he "could have calibrated those words differently." He didn't say he should have. He said he "could" have. Which meant he chose not to.

What we have here, boys and girls, is the famous political trick: the non-apology apology. Tempers are pretty high right now so not many people can see it. President Obama has stepped back well enough, done what he could to elaborate on racial issues in America, hope this becomes a "teaching moment," segued back to the healthcare plan, and took all the chips he could off the table. This week may have been a loss, but he minimized the damage. Black folks won't be as upset once they realize what he's done. The GOP will continue to hate him, as they always have. America moves forward.


Miguel said…
What a strange set of circumstances. It was all too bad that all the information necessary for properly evaluating the situation was not reviewed and broadcast upfront (albeit, as citizens, we are not really in a place to judge, at least not until one of us may sit in the seat of a juror, but even spectators too must be aware of policy and action enforced in our country so that wrongs may not go unnoticed and unchallenged). In seeing how this has unfolded, and with additional sources, everyone can have a better understanding of the occurrence.
In my humble opinion, we see that caution and not reason was the progenitor of the squabble. A neighbor used caution when alerting the police of suspicious behavior. I've broken into my own car and my own home, and every time, I still feel like I'm acting suspiciously. The police arrive, and because of the unknown variables, they use caution when approaching both house and suspect. Understandable. I'm still foggy with the detail that occur at this point, but I believe that the officers handcuffed the professor because of his behavior. To an extent, even this is understandable because any person that is angered has the capacity to injure themselves, the police, bystanders, or property. Handcuffs can be a way of ensuring the safety of everyone. At this point, the police should have taken the time and reason to properly identify the suspect and the homeowner. The subsequent arrest of the doctor was in error.
I am glad the charges have been dropped, and wish the best for both the doctor and the officers.
I do however feel sorry for our president. It was a bit early for him to make a proper statement. But most anyone would carry a sympathy for a friend who has been in distress, and I think this was a major influence in what he did say. I believe that President Obama also has a respect for the officers that enforce our laws, and was right in saying that there was no slander meant in what he said, but as you, Anthony, say, still holds his ground in his choice of words. As for the actual situation in which the president was placed, I feel that it was a bit of a trap. When the media is asking a question, they are quick to label the response as either left or right, or right or wrong. That way, they can "analyze" and "report" as falling in a certain category. This tally is much easier to present and much easier for people to accept than a half hour evaluation of the facts and the opinions. To best understand what I think may have gone on, it can be compared to the scenario: Two people are in an argument in which one is a little right, and a little wrong, and so is the other. They seek a definite answer from a mutual friend. The friend can analyze what has happened and can even reason who may be more right, but an explanation is usually not the solution the complainants are quarrying for. They bully the friend into a binary situation. One is right and one is wrong.
In such a situation I feel bad for the friend, and I, my president, believe you were bullied. My fullest apathy to you. It's a wild, wild playground.

Thank you Anthony for being such a good friend to bring this up for discussion. I was itching to speak about it. Good night! -miguel
We should chat some time.

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