Our usually measured president dropped the manners ball during his healthcare press conference last night when he expressed his belief that the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police officers who arrested Harvard prof Henry Gates had "acted stupidly."
An incident that should have played out more like a Three's Company episode (man has trouble getting into his own house/man breaks into own house/concerned neighbors call cops/man is mistaken for a criminal/man is taken into police custody/cue laugh track) instead turned into an ugly scene with two very different tellings.
According to Gates, the officers interrogated him overly aggressively and ultimately arrested him for being "a black man in America." The authorities, on the other hand, say Gates was acting disorderly and militant, refusing to respond to their routine requests. So where does the truth lie in all of this? Most reasonable observers would surmise that the regrettable situation went from bad to worse quickly and that both parties most likely shared some blame in the mix-up. Which is what makes Barack Obama's "acted stupidly" comment so disturbing. Without having seen the flare-up with his own eyes, he was ill-qualified to take sides in the matter and ill-advised to align with Gates before hearing the results of a fuller investigation.
Next time, Mr. President, please hold-off on your criticisms until the facts are better known. We do want to hear from you on such matters, but without having a full report from both sides, you unwittingly helped fan the flames of racial hatred....an enemy of the post-racial America you so nobly represent.