by Ben Cohen
In an attempt to calm the storm that happened after a prominent black professor was arrested in his own house by a white policeman, Barack Obama is inviting Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police sergeant James Crowley (who arrested Gates) to the White House to share beers. From the Guardian:
The informal meeting is also an attempt to calm the president's
critics. Law enforcement officials and conservatives have blasted Obama
for wading into what they say was a local dispute between a man who
took umbrage at a policeman's treatment of him and an officer who
reacted to verbal abuse by reaching for his handcuffs.
drink Bud Lite, Gates will sip Jamaican brew Red Stripe, and Crowley
will take Blue Moon, a light, Belgian-style wheat beer. The summit will
convene at the picnic table in the White House's back yard, near a
swing set for Obama's daughters.
Why we need to know what each man is drinking is beyond me, but it's pretty clear the whole thing is a PR stunt to get Obama out of trouble for his comments on the situation. Obama rightly pointed out that the police behaved stupidly, but in White America, criticizing the police is tantamount to treason. Anyway, as PR stunts go, I think it's a fairly worth while one if he manages to quell the storm, and hopefully Obama can put the episode behind him.