Updated: Saturday, August 1, 2009
Dear President Obama:
I voted for you. I admire you. I know that you are not perfect and that you will make mistakes from time to time. I think you are doing the best possible job with the economy, and your solutions will eventually work.
That said, I must worry about your occasional remarks. You of all people must know that you cannot shoot from the hip.
Every step, every action, every word must be carefully considered. Like my grandmother use to warn me, “no seas atrabancado,” -- don’t act without thinking.
So when you said the Cambridge police officer who arrested a Professor Louis Gates. were “stupid, or acted stupidly” -- you were the one who was “stupid” for speaking out in that manner. You could have said something like “It was an unfortunate situation…hmm, we’ll look into it.”
In our neighborhood watch group, we call the cops whenever something is out of place. That’s what happened in Boston. Two men were trying to get into a house and a neighbor called the police. However, in this case, one of the men was Professor Gates Jr. – the owner of the house and a nationally-known university professor – a friend of President Obama.
The L. A. Times said in the lead of a story: “To some police officers, President Obama was merely speaking the truth about how a certain department behaved in a difficult situation. To others, he committed the unpardonable sin of sticking his nose where it does not belong.”
It is very nice of you to invite the police officer and Prof. Gates to the White House for a beer. However, I really would suggest that you and the media move on to things that are important to our nation and all the people. Things such as jobs, jobs, jobs…
I think police departments throughout the nation have gone a long way since I was young. In those days, young Latinos like myself were advised not to travel with more than three of us in a car. Four or more “Chicanos” in a car were “profiled” as a gang and were sure to be stopped by police. Does Racial Profiling still exist? I believe it does, but not to the extreme that it did years ago.
I think there are couple of issues. First of all, one of our American values is “respect for law.” To me, that translates into respect for a police officer. Sometimes, a police officer is not exactly “right,” but he is the law.
Professor Gates maybe should have backed off too and later exercised his right of filing a formal complaint against the police officer. Even a letter from a citizen gets a police officer in serious trouble.
Oh, an about that beer, I agree that is should be a Bud. However, since both the Professor and Policeman are probably middle class in terms of their income, they might prefer a higher-priced brew. In fact, news reports had you drinking a beer, and the other two, another brand.