Christian Hartsock
Democrats on race: We refuse to overcome
By Christian Hartsock
August 5, 2009

Before we put a stamp on President Obama's "beer summit" and file it away under "Democrat Leaders' Successful Efforts in Bridging the Race Divide" and move on, let's please recognize this ordeal for what it was: A non-race issue turned into a race issue by Democrats. And then let's move on.

In the left's latest attempts to instigate national race riots, liberals put one of their weapons of choice to use — the merciless blowtorch of racial prejudice accusation — at the expense of completely innocent and cluelessly unforeseeing prey. But then, of course, this is hardly "news," and is more a politics-as-usual progress report on the self-styled "progressive" movement. Survey says: Zero progress.

At a press conference held by President Barack Obama, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet posed the question: "Recently Professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you and what does that say about race relations in America?"

Unfortunately the president only had time for this to be the final question, thus precluding Sweet from asking her next totally coherently-structured question: "Microsoft fell as much as eight percent in late trading after reporting a twenty-nine percent profit drop in sales. What does that say about expectations for the Arizona Cardinals this coming season?"

The president responded by accusing the Cambridge Police of acting "stupidly" and invoked the incident as a typical footnote in America's dark history of racial discrimination: "There is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos, uh, being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."

Right. Not to mention a long history of Democrats slanderously accusing law enforcement of "racial profiling" disproportionaly — which may be a bit more relevant to this case. (On second thought, scratch "more relevant" — make that "actually relevant.")

After Cambridge Police received a call from a neighbor of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, mistaking Gates and his cab driver for burglars attempting to break into Gates' home, investigating officer Sgt. James Crowley attested to having been met with verbal combativeness on Gates' part, including being accused of racial profiling as well as alleged comments about Crowley's mother — thus prompting the arrest.

The exchange of words is imaginable:

Crowley: Sir, you are under arrest for being uncooperative, verbally combative and disrespectful to a police officer.

Gates: Why? Because I'm a black man in America?

Crowley: No, sir. Because you are being uncooperative, verbally combative and disrespectful to a police officer.

Gates: Yeah, well your mom!

Crowley: Alright, sir. Turn around and put your hands behind your back.

Gates subsequently invoked possible legal action against Sgt. Crowley — who teaches a course in racial profiling prevention at a Lowell police academy — on the grounds of, well, racial profiling. (Not Crowley's day.)

After Gates (a very visible public intellectual) and Barack Obama (the President of the United States) had apparently decided to gang up and bully Crowley (a private individual whose only profile is based on his waking up every day to risk his life for his community) by casually defaming him from their pulpits, a rightly infuriated Cambridge Police Department jumped to Crowley's defense. Sgt. Leon Lashley, a black Cambridge officer accompanying Gates in the arrest, spoke out in favor of the arrest "100 percent" saying Gates' reaction to Crowley was "a little bit stranger than it should have been."

Upon issuing an "I'm Sorry You Feel That Way"-type apology, President Obama stopped short of ejecting the poison of racial politics he had a day prior injected into what appeared to be a completely race-free incident (except for the fact that Gates allegedly would not shut up about race while Sgt. Crawley requested verification that the property was Gates' so they could leave and consider the neighbor's call attended-to).

"My hope is, is that as a consequence of this event this ends up being what's called a 'teachable moment,' where all of us instead of pumping up the volume spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity."

Here's an idea: Don't fling accusations against police officers of profiling minorities.

The only thing "teachable" about this moment is an opportunity to perhaps teach liberals that reckless, drama queen race-baiting actually sometimes affects other people, believe it or not. Police officers complained that the president's comments could make it more difficult for police to work with minorities and "set back the progress of race relations that helped Obama become the nation's first black president."

Historically, Democrats have always been the ones holding racial progress back. Zero exceptions. This is not the first time powerful Democrats have picked on unwitting law enforcement officers, forcing them to defend themselves against charges of racial profiling.

In March 2006, Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, having physically dashed through a Capitol security checkpoint without her congressional I.D. pin, punched a Capitol police officer in the face after the officer tried to catch up with her.

Instead of apologizing to the officer — whose daily job is to protect members of Congress (for instance, Cynthia McKinney) from violent Capitol gate-crashers (for instance, Cynthia McKinney), McKinney decided to drag her poor assault victim through a racial mud puddle.

Accompanied by Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, McKinney held a press conference, stating, "[t]his whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman." Belafonte subsequently added: "In America and Washington, D.C., issues of race have always been at play and have often been central to justice miscarried." McKinney's lawyer deemed McKinney "a victim of the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials because of how she looks and the color of her skin."

Or perhaps because of the fact that she dashed through a high security checkpoint without without her congressional I.D. pin and punched a security officer in the face. Just a thought.

Apparently these were merely the salad days of McKinney's apparent hobby of provoking security officials and crying victim after successfully getting a rise out of them, as she has in more recent months moved on to larger scale operations, i.e. her recent arrest by Israeli Defense Forces for having illegally crossed into blockaded Gazan waters by ship.

As much as "progressives" like to flatter themselves about their "commitment to delivering America from racial division," they will not let go. They need racial division. It is their lifeblood, their oxygen tube, their election-winning coupon. Telling them the spirit of Bull Connor does not dominate law enforcement today is is like breaking it to a child that Santa Clause doesn't exist. (This is assuming liberals have figured that one out by now.)

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs complained of "just how much of an overall distraction and obsession" the Gates issue was in the midst of the President's push for health care reform. Katie Couric lamented on CBS Evening News about how the unfortunate timing of the incident "could not be worse. Just as he was pushing so hard for health care reform and having some pretty serious setbacks." Well gee, maybe he shouldn't have slandered a police officer just as he was pushing so hard for health care reform and having some pretty serious setbacks.

Whenever Democrats are proved wrong in their vicious character assaults on innocent prey, their cornered defense reflex is to try to change the subject and snobbishly ridicule anyone who is still trying to sort out why the hell Democrats brought the subject up in the first place.

If liberals truly want to bring an end to the race issue, here's an idea: Stop making race an issue. Rodney King said in 1992, "Can't we all just get along?" It's 2009. Can't we all just grow up?

© Christian Hartsock


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Christian Hartsock

Christian Hartsock, 24, is a director, screenwriter, producer and political columnist and activist... (more)

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