Friday, July 24, 2009

Barack Obama: Wrong on Harvard, and Honduras

Does anyone remember back in 1971 during the Charles Manson trial? Charles Manson was on trial for the murder of Sharon Tate and seven other people. It was a case that captivated the nation. Richard Nixon, who was President at that time declared to reporters that Charles Manson was"guilty, directly or indirectly of eight murders." The country was in an uproar. For a sitting President to comment in front of a live microphone on a a case being tried was roundly condemned not only by pundits but by anyone with any legal expertise at all.

Charles Manson's defense team immediately demanded a mistrial and that the charges be dismissed. Manson himself sat in court holding up a newspaper with the headline "Manson Guilty, Nixon Declares." The judge quizzed the jury and then put one of the attorneys in jail for three days for leaving the newspaper within Manson's reach.

Fast forward to 2009. A police officer might be facing charges for arresting a politically connected professor who was spewing abuse at him. It turns out that the police officer who arrested the Harvard professor was respected by both African American and white fellow officers. The New York Post reports as follows on his past record.

Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class on racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

"The course, called "Racial Profiling," teaches about different cultures that officers could encounter in their community "and how you don't want to single people out because of their ethnic background or the culture they come from," Fleming said.

Meanwhile, Crowley disclosed in an interview with the Boston Herald that he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to NBA star Reggie Lewis.

"I wasn't working on Reggie Lewis the basketball star. I wasn't working on a black man. I was working on another human being," Sgt. James Crowley, told the Boston Herald."

While it is true that the officer was in Professor Gates home, ascertaining the full facts was made very difficult due to the lack of cooperation from Professor Gates. Although the Boston Globe has scrubbed its original article, the police report is available here.

It seems that the arrest was indeed warranted. Unfortunately, Harvard University political clout as well as political expediency and a get out of Jail free race card voided an arrest that was amply justified. At least Officer Crowley's superiors are standing behind him.

Professor Gates has indeed educated the public. He has shown the nation the low esteem in which our President holds law enforcement. The President of the United States has a lot of influence and an ability to command the attention of a nation and indeed the world. This carries with it major responsibility. As a lawyer, Barack Obama should be familiar with this.

Obama fell into the same trap as Nixon did, of running his mouth about a matter that is working its way through the courts.

The shrinking esteem in which Obama is held will probably limit the damage his ill considered remarks have had. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has a place on the world stage as well. Manuel Zelaya, who was constitutionally removed from office under Honduran law enjoyed the benefits of Obama's ill advised support as he shamelessly clung to the doorknob of the Presidential palace. Had he spoken in favour of a rightist, the press would have condemned Obama as a Yankee imperialist. It seems that both Obama and Yankee imperialism are now in fashion among the Euro trash and the ditzerati.

We are likely to hear a lot more from Obama and his teleprompter during his period of on the job training. Hopefully nothing terrible will happen. The prospect of elder statesman Joe Biden offering his wisdom is not a heartening one.

The auto industry that President Obama is trying so desperately to save offers an irresistible frame of metaphor for advice Mr. Obama would do well to heed.

Don't shift your mouth into drive when your brain is in park. Sphere: Related Content

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