A Reconsideration Of The Professor Gates Controversy

Upon further reflection and information now available,  the controversy over Professor Henry Louis Gates’s arrest looks more complicated and not as clearcut as it seemed to be when first reported.

President Obama became involved in the controversy at his press conference on Wednesday,  by stating that he felt the police department of Cambridge, Massachusetts,  had been involved in "stupidity",  by the actions of the police sergeant.   Today, however, he responded, after much criticism,  that this had been a case where both the police officer and the professor had allowed the situation to escalate, and that his goal was to promote discourse on the issue of racial relations, basically saying that he wished to retract his unfortunate language.  He made it clear that he did not intend to malign the police department or the police sergeant.

He told of calling the police officer, smoothing things over, and calling for a meeting at the White House of the police officer, the professor and himself, to have a "beer".  He said he wanted to make this a lesson that would benefit the nation at large and promote dialogue.

Despite the attempt of right wing talk show hosts and Republican leaders to exploit the issue as one of the Democrats and President Obama insulting law enforcement,  I think Obama has done a good job of de-escalating this unfortunate situation.  It is clear both men involved in the incident could have handled the situation differently, and hopefully,  Obama’s response to the growing crisis today will have a positive effect and resolve the issue, rather than aggravate it, as the enemies of the administration wish to accomplish.  What a sad day that this whole issue should be so politicized. 🙁

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