I don’t often blog about politics, but I was taken aback by President Obama’s comments the other night regarding the incident involving a Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer and black scholar Henry Lewis Gates. We all know the background of the story, but the president was asked during his recent health care reform press conference to comment about the arrest. This is what the president said:
But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry," Obama said. "No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And No. 3 — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.
I was very surprised that the president – who we all agree is a very intelligent man – would say something like that before all of the facts were in place.
For the heck of it, I looked up the definition of “stupidly.” Here is what Merriam-Webster said: “slow of mind; given to unintelligent decisions or acts; acting in an unintelligent or careless manner; lacking intelligence or reason.”
Wow, that’s pretty strong considering that some of the facts are in dispute. Now I see that the president is backing off from his remarks, including calling the police officer involved in the incident. This whole situation is deflecting discussion on health reform which plays into the hands of the Republicans. Nothing wrong with that!
I think this whole incident will eventually blow over but I find it ironic that the same party that belittled President Bush over his missteps and misstatements is now stepping over the fecal waste of their words!