I admire that President Obama has taken the high road and is trying to make peace between Officer Crowley and Professor Gates. What concerns me is whether he felt forced to do so by the firestorm of media coverage and the outrage of whites who felt that Professor Gates was playing the race card. To the extent that Professor Gates was playing any such card, in my opinion, he was probably playing the class card, refusing to be discriminated against based on race because he had the class clout to trump the officer's power. That Professor Gates has the ear of the President and is part of a vast network of African American elites that many whites don't know of might have been disconcerting to some.
But to watch the Leader of the Freakin' Free World "walking back" his "stupidly" comment when many like me in the African American community agreed with it? That was disconcerting to me, not because I think I'm right, but because I think the President has the right to say what he thinks like those who came before him. When was the last time you heard a President say anything approximating an apology for a political opinion?
I always thought that the President had the freedom and the right to say what he thinks, even if it's disagreeable to some, and to stand by his words merely because he is the Leader of the Freakin' Free World. Like President Bush, he could admit to no mistakes and the public would have to live with it. I thought it was the privilege of being POTUS.
Apparently President Obama isn't as free as we thought, nor does he enjoy the same privileges as President as did his predecessor. Or perhaps he simply chooses not to enjoy those same privileges of saying what he thinks, no matter what others think. I hope it's the latter. If he walked back his comments for the purpose of focusing on health care, cool. If he walked back his comments because they were displeasing to a large part of the populace, not cool. Officer Crowley did indeed act stupidly. Unless Professor Gates was a physical threat to him or others, there was no need to arrest him other than to make a point unrelated to public safety and welfare: I'm the one with power, you're not. That Officer Crowley was intransigent in his position afterwards was the exclamation mark over this point. He, as a public servant, should be held to the higher standard, not Professor Gates.
First, Judge Sonia Sotomayor has to sit there and take it during her confirmation hearings when some hick Senator told her she "had some 'splainin to do." Then the Leader of the Freakin' Free World walks back his comments about a cop on a power trip.
We ain't free yet, y'all. Don't get it twisted.
But, perhaps, in the words of a Donny Hathaway song, "Someday We'll All Be Free."
Just not this week.