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What I Hope Will Happen with the Peace Beer at the White House Today

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Andrew Schmookler       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   17 comments

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<em>Here's what I hope Obama will convey to the professor and the
cop. It might well not be explicitly in words, but in some artfully
crafted way of communicating it:</em>


"The three of us can do something good for the nation
today. We can help show that our racial divisions can be overcome by

"This is an important moment for us to model that
for the country. Because America has its first president of color,
first African-American president, and probably because of demographic
trends which have whites becoming less dominant (a minority) in the
population, there are a number of Americans who are feeling threatened
around the matter of race. So now is a good time to model that we can
indeed all get along, and enjoy it.

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[He probably should refrain from saying, in this
regard, that it's also because we've got a Republican Party that is so
far gone into the darkness that they're willing to say anything to
arouse the fear and anger of these people. But it's known that Sgt.
Crowley did not vote for Obama, so it's best to skip this, avoiding the
partisan aspect of what's fueling this ugly eruption of racial
antagonisms-- as evinced also in the "birther" movement and in the
Sotomayor hearings.]

"All three of us would probably, if we could, do
something somewhat differently in the process that led us to this Big
Story. Gates, you probably would have restrained your temper more if
you had it to do over gain. Crowley, you probably would have said
something to diffuse that situation, you'd have not been ruled by your
own anger at Gate's verbal accusations at you. You'd both rewrite your
scripts, if you could.

"And I-- I would have been more careful how I spoke.
I, the first African-American president, at a time when the right wing
is eager to emphasize divisions and make them hate their president and
sees race as a powerful place to wield that divisive influence, I
should have been more mindful of the danger, and more mindful of my
suspicious eagerness to weigh in on a still developing picture. I would
have restained my eager impulse to use this as a teachable moment for
white America because of my own strong feeling about how racism has
operated in America. I spoke too soon, and my words ("Stupidly) lacked

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"Our mistakes have brought us here together today,
and handed us an opportunity to model for America what can be done with
these racial tensions.

"Let's practice it here in our conversation over
beer. Let's get to that space of brotherhood and good will here and
now. And then let's go out and manifest it in front of the cameras.

"I will praise Crowley, whom I belittled. Crowley
will reach out in some heartfelt and respectful way to Gates, whom he
understands that he wrongly affronted. Gates will let go of his anger,
and recognize that Crowley is his brother, and basically a good man
besides. All will look at the wonderful truth that all it takes
is repentance and forgiveness for that fundamental truth of brotherhood
to displace that anger and resentment and fear that divides us.

Let us go out and enact for America the drama of
racial reconciliation, complete with repentance and humility and
forgiveness and love-- and gladness.

Forget not the gladness. It is the wonderfulness of
displacing friendship for enmity which is the blessing that will
motivate America to move toward that brotherhood across the difficult
racial lines. Brothers don't always have easy relationships, but a
relationship does not have to be easy to be rich and rewarding and


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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)

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