If you are black and act in a belligerent and threatening manner toward a police officer, you may be invited to the White House.
That’s the message President Obama has sent in his effort to undo the political damage he caused with his remarks about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
As anyone who has watched a police traffic stop on television knows, the most respectable citizens can rage out of control when police confront them. If they refuse to obey orders or continue to act in a threatening and belligerent way, they are arrested.
As outlined in the Newsmax article "Obama Plays the Race Card," Gates initially refused to show identification, called Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge police a racist, and warned the policeman that he didn’t know whom he was messing with.
Despite a warning that he would be arrested, Gates continued to yell at Crowley outside his home, alarming a gathering crowd of passersby.
It was the kind of police confrontation that occurs every day and has nothing to do with race. Yet in his most recent remarks on the incident, Obama took Gates’ side by continuing to suggest that his arrest had a racial context.
Although Obama tried to take back his claim that the Cambridge police had acted “stupidly,” the president said he continues to believe that “there was an overreaction in pulling professor Gates out of his home to the station.”
Although Gates and Crowley are “two decent people,” Americans should be “mindful of the fact that because of our history, because of the difficulties of the past, you know, African-Americans are sensitive to these issues.” Even when you’ve “got a police officer who has a fine track record on racial sensitivity, interactions between police officers and the African-American community can sometimes be fraught with misunderstanding,” Obama opined.
To laughter from the adoring press, Obama said he has invited Crowley and Gates for a beer in the White House.
Thus, Obama portrayed Gates and Crowley as morally equivalent. The fact that the incident became a big issue was not that Gates failed to respect police authority, but that “race is still a troubling aspect of our society,” Obama says.
Obama said he hopes the incident will be a “teachable moment,” leading people to spend “a little more time listening to each other.” But rather than teaching blacks and whites to be more tolerant, Obama sent a message to police officers that, if they do their duty and arrest a man who happens to be black, they may find themselves criticized and maligned by the president of the United States on prime-time television.
Obama’s decision to inject himself into a local arrest was “politically costly for the nation’s first African-American president, who has sought to cast himself as a clear-eyed arbiter of the nation's racial divisions,” the Washington Post said in a news account. “That image was challenged once before, in a controversy surrounding another Obama friend [the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.].”
To the law enforcement community and a large swath of Americans, Obama’s bias is unacceptable. Nor does it sit well with white liberals. Americans thought they were electing a post-racial candidate. Instead, Obama exposed himself as having the same prejudices as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Obama’s longtime mentor Rev. Wright.
Together with his failures on the economy and world affairs, Obama’s insistence on siding with Gates undercuts his credibility and, ultimately, jeopardizes his presidency.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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