Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Whitehouse beer

It would appear the blow up over Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s recent arrest by Cambridge police for disorderly conduct is about to settle down. Exact details of the incident seem to depend on who is recounting them, but most agree on the following: Gates was hauled off in handcuffs after bitching out cops who showed up when he broke into his own home.

Several black writers have suggested Gate's outrage over his arrest may have been fueled as much by social stature as race. Regardless, given the fact that 58 year old Henry Gates is a diminutive figure-- hardly threatening, the charge of "disorderly conduct" seems overstated at best.

His offense was more likely that unwritten law, "contempt of cop."

Gates was later released without being charged and the Cambridge police department termed the episode "regrettable" (a non-apology apology if I ever heard one).

During Obama's recent health care press conference, a reporter asked him about the incident. Obama said the cops had "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates.

This, of course, caused even more uproar.

Obama, seeking to defuse the situation, made phone calls to Gates and Sgt. Crowley, the arresting officer. He called Crowley "a good man," and conceded his (Obama's) words had been ill-chosen (another non-apology apology). He ended by saying he'd invited the two men to the Whitehouse for a beer.

Gate, in a statement issued later that day, said "I told the president that my principal regret was that all of the attention paid to his deeply supportive remarks during his press conference had distracted attention from his health care initiative." He continued, "I am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment, and if meeting Sergeant Crowley for a beer with the president will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige."

No word yet on whether Crowley will be bending elbows with the gang.

While one would hope this will put an end to the blowup, Obama should realize he's left himself open to another potential firestorm in the blogosphere and amongst the cable news and talk radio insta-pundits.

I, of course, refer to the choice of beers served at this meeting.

Does he go with an import like Heineken and run the risk of seeming elitist and un-American? I can hear the screams of O'Reilly and Glen Beck now.

What about a good working class beer like Coors? The late Joseph Coors, former president of Coors Brewing and grandson of the founder was one of the founding member of the conservative Heritage Foundation. Most of the other traditional American beer have been consolidated down one or two corporate owners. Budweiser is now owned by a bunch of Belgians.

If I could make one small suggestion, consider a fine product of Rahr and Sons Brewery, crafted right here in Fort Worth, Texas. My personal favorite: Ugly Pug, a (ahem) black lager.

It's one decision you will not regret.

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