It's worth watching Obama's statement. I really can't begrudge him--his priority is health-care. Me, on the other hand, I'm pretty exhausted. What follows is the raw. Not much logic. Just some thoughts on how it feels.
I feel pretty stupid for going hard on this, and stupider for defending what Obama won't really defend himself. I should have left it at one post. Evidently Obama, Crowley and Gates are talking about getting a beer together. I hope they have a grand old time.
The rest of us are left with a country where, by all appearances, officers are well within their rights to arrest you for sassing them. Which is where we started. I can't explain why, but this is the sort of thing that makes you reflect on your own precarious citizenship. I mean, the end of all of this scares the hell out of me.
I was thinking earlier this week about the connection between all of this and the Senate almost passing a bill which would make it legal to carry a concealed weapon in any state, as long as your home state approves. Maybe there is no line between to the two, or maybe I just haven't connected them yet.
In his book Crabgrass Frontier, Kenneth Jackson talks about citizens accepting the responsibility for democracy. He's discussing red-lining, as I recall, and notes that it would be wrong to see government policy toward black neighborhoods as a shadowy conspiracy to destroy black communities. It's much darker than that. The government represents the people, and thus one must see red-lining, housing segregation, and housing covenants not as the machinations of bureaucrats, but as a manifestation of popular will. My reading on Reconstruction has led me the same way. Rutherford B. Hays did not so much fail, as the country made a choice--we'd rather kill Indians and expand, then protect citizens from terrorism.
When we think about the cops, it's scary, on one level, to conclude that a cop can basically arrest you on a whim. It's scarier still to think that this is what Americans want, that this country is as we've made it. And then finally it's even scarier to understand that no president can change that. It's not why he's there. He is there to pass health-reform--not make us post-racist, or post-police power, or post-whatever. Only the people can do that. And they don't seem particularly inclined. Here is what the election of Barack Obama says about race--white people, in general, are willing to hire a black guy for the ultimate job. That's a big step. But it isn't any more than what it says.
I hope Crowley, Gates and Obama get that beer soon. They need to pour out a little something for Shem Walker. We can't all go to Harvard.
I have been talking too much lately. I need to get back to the Civil War...