I could live a very complete and satisfying life on the internet simply by trolling the opinion columns at TownHall.com. From the profoundly mentally ill Doug Giles to K-Lo's supplicating feminism to idiot relatives of Newt Gingrich, it is a regular parade of the lame, the halt, the ugly, and the stupid. And I know – after years of lurking, my senses are sharp – as soon as I see a news story about racially-charged police misadventures I can head over to TownHall and they will feature the work of an objective commentator to get to the heart of the matter. Like, for example, 50-something year-old white "former law enforcement officer" Gary Aldrich. Does that name sound familiar? Good lord I hope not. We'll talk about how Gary achieved fame in the 1990s as we mournfully plow through "Race Baiter in Chief." The incident in question, of course, is the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. This is going to hurt.
I am angry and I am offended.
Stop the presses! A white man is offended! We must give an indeterminate but substantial number of shits!
As a former law enforcement officer who spent 26 years carrying a badge and a gun,
OK, you weren't a cop. You worked behind a desk at the FBI. Your job was to run background checks on White House hires. You were one step above the Equifax website. I'm sure you love regaling your buddies with harrowing tales of how you threw down on some serious paper jams in the copier, though.
when the President of the United States talks about law enforcement, believe me, I listen.
And when Gary Aldrich talks, America listens. We eagerly await the opinions of the man who got hounded out of his FBI desk job for writing Unlimited Access, an entirely fictional hatchet-job on the Clintons which a CNN book review summarized as "filled … with second-hand, unsubstantiated sexual rumors about and bitter attacks against President and Mrs. Clinton." When the author who wrote a book about how the Clintons decorated the White House Christmas tree with dildoes, latex vaginas, bongs, and assorted other drug paraphernalia talks, you stop whatever the fuck you are doing and you listen.
So when the president says something really ignorant – when he should know better – I am doubly disappointed.
I wonder if this will be followed immediately by an ignorant statement. Nah. That would be too funny.
If the country wanted to elect Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton as president we already had that chance.
"Jesse." Also, come on, Gary. Say "uppity." Do it. You're too old and fat to tap dance.
Instead, I think we have just had confirmed what some feared and suspected: we have elected the Race Baiter in Chief.
Do you know what hyperbole is, Gary? Also, race-baiting and dog-whistle politics are the exclusive province of socialists such as Ronald Reagan.
What other conclusion can one make when the facts of the incident in Cambridge, Massachusetts are closely examined and weighed against training, experience, common sense, and logic?
Oh, I don't know, maybe that the cops are assholes and not terribly bright? Note how law enforcement are unable to make arguments in their own defense without referring to their extra-special "training" and "experience." In other words, we don't really know what we're talking about because we haven't had their training (on how to racially profile) and experience (racially profiling and having their behavior positively reinforced from above). So, it makes perfect sense. If you spent any time in the law enforcement system which treats all black men like felons you'd understand why these cops made completely reasonable decisions. Whoops, the logic machine just took a shit and died.
And yet when the president was asked his opinion of the arrest by a member of the media, he used the occasion to reveal his true heart, thus lending us a preview of what the next four years will probably bring.
Well, we are in for four years of race-baiting. Here's an image emailed to a Tea Party listserv by a prominent Florida neurosurgeon and opponent of the President:
Which makes Obama no different than the agenda driven college professor, who having broken into his home, is apparently astonished that a well meaning neighbor, trying to protect his home, called the police – thinking he was, “Trying to jigger his way” into his own home.
Explain how this is a sentence. Also, I don't think anyone is upset that the police showed up. You appear to be missing both the point and a chromosome, Gary.
These are the president's words, not mine.
The President speaks in sentences, which is why he was elected.
The police arrived and adopted the only posture they are trained to take – to be on guard, perhaps catching a thief in the act who could turn out to be very dangerous.
Yes. And when they determine that they are not in fact confronted with a dangerous suspect but instead a rumpled 60 year old man who is unarmed, perhaps another posture is in order.
After all, they would like to end their shift safely and return to their families – to their homes – alive.
Young black men who have encounters with the police, on the other hand, want to be shot in the back while handcuffed.
The college professor knows who they are by their uniforms, and thus he has the advantage.
Yeah, ordinary citizens have a definite leg up in police encounters. Be fair, Gary: uniforms let us know who the police are, but black skin lets police know exactly who the criminals are, too! So it's really one of those level playing fields your kind so adores.
But they don't know who he is – yet. He protests that he is the owner of the home, but the police see the jimmied door and they are not convinced by his words alone. They ask for identification so that they may compare the man's face with his photo ID, and confirm the address. Instead of quickly sizing up the situation and seeing the humor in the misunderstanding, the college professor resorts to form and accuses the police of treating him differently because he is black.
You omitted the part where he produced his Driver's License, which included his home address, and his Harvard ID. I mean, the cop retroactively claimed that Gates was belligerent (this is the standard cop narrative in these incidents – the black suspect is always a rage-driven monster with the strength of 20 men, angrily flipping over cars and uprooting trees with his bare hands) and never showed an ID, so I guess we should just take him at his retroactive word, no? What incentive would he have to lie?
He misses an opportunity to build good relations between himself and the police
It is definitely the obligation of citizens, and black men in particular, to build good relations with the police. It is our responsibility, not that of the police. It's not like we pay them or anything. It's not like they serve us; we serve them. If we all bowed a little more deeply in their presence, incidents like this could be avoided.
This may shock Gary, but the basis of our criminal justice system from the street cop up to the Supreme Court is that the burden of proof rests with the state. And the duty of law enforcement is to serve and protect, not to act like a jagoff to citizens who do not work hard to earn the right to be treated well.
and maybe that's because he has no interest in building good relations.
Or maybe it's because we are not guilty and dangerously violent until we prove otherwise to every yahoo who amasses enough community college credits to make it through the Pigsknuckle County Sheriff's Department training program.
Maybe his entire career is built on highlighting the bad relations that he can find – or manufacture – between whites and blacks.
Manufacture. Definitely manufactured. I mean, one doesn't just find examples of bad relations between white and black in this country.
He is not grateful to a neighbor for watching his property for him.
He thanked his neighbor.
He is not grateful for a quick response by the police, acting professionally and competently – protecting everybody's safety as they are trained to do – oh no – he is not grateful, he is angry and so he “cops” an attitude.
No, Gary, he is not thankful for how quickly the police managed to arrive to drag him from his own home in handcuffs. This is like saying "The rape victim did not thank her assailant for his politeness and remarkable sexual abilities." A positive gleaned from a comprehensively bad set of events is not relevant.
In time we will find out what he did and said that forced the police to arrest him.
Wait, you already concluded it was justified, assrocket! This is without, as you now claim, relevant information about what happened. We are indeed discovering some new information like the fact that the 911 caller did not state the race of the "burglar," meaning that the police had absolutely no empirical basis for thinking the suspect was black. Except, of course, for their immediate mental association between "burglary call" and "black guy."
But the Commander in Chief – the new race baiter in town – cannot wait for the facts.
Gary wrote this column on August 30, 2009, shortly after all of the facts came out, and beamed it back to our time. He will now make millions of dollars betting on sporting events to which he already knows the outcome because he is from the future. You know, same basic plot as Back to the Future 2.
Like his college professor friend he too misses an opportunity to help heal relations between the races. He went so far as to accuse the police of acting stupidly. His golden opportunity came and went, and he blew it.
It really would have helped relations between the races for the President to blindly and unquestioningly back the police – before we have the facts, Gary claims – in a cop-on-old-black-man incident. That would have been very healing. For white people who read Gary Aldrich columns.
Maybe the stupid act on the part of the police here is choosing law enforcement as a career, thinking they were actually going to make a difference – actually going to help people. All people.
This accurately describes why not only some cops, but all cops, enter law enforcement. They just want to help people.
Obama and his administration have already maligned the military by suggesting that returning veterans may be closet terrorists.
No, they were citing statistics. Most people use facts and research as the basis for drawing conclusions.
Now the president himself makes numerous unfortunate statements that suggest behind every police badge may hide the evil soul of a racist.
Oh, that's hogwash. It's probably only 30 or 40 percent of them.
He says and I quote, “you know, race remains a factor in this society.” I assure you, sir, the race factor may remain in your heart – but not in mine.
I think the preceding column has made it abundantly clear that Gary Aldrich does not see race and harbors no animosity based on it.
And, not in the hearts of the thousands of police officers who protect all citizens regardless of race, gender, or any other difference, even if you and your college professor friend choose to believe otherwise.
As for the thousands of others, well, we're pretending they don't exist for the moment. As long as we confine our generalizations to the universe of "good cops," Gary's argument is airtight. Like a nun's butthole. For the purposes of this analogy, pretend that nuns have airtight buttholes.
Frankly I find your position on race matters to be disappointing, repugnant, and threatening to the health of our culture which is, by its very nature, both generous and diverse.
Gary then galloped away on his moral high horse to address a crowd of literally tens of people at the annual meeting of his tax shelter, the Patrick Henry Center, at the Pocatello airport Radisson.
I think the millions of black families who have their homes and persons protected by the police every night and day of the week would disagree with your ugly characterization of all police officers.
"I have a black friend. I watch The Cosby Show. I am not racist."
What we are witness to here is the amazing spectacle of a black man elected to the highest office in our land
Gary Aldrich doesn't see race. In addition to this amazing spectacle, he has also been blown away by a woman appearing in public unescorted by a male, a Hispanic man speaking English, and a gaggle of Chinamen wearing shoes!!!
continuing the claim that America is a nation plagued with racism.
In 1928, Oscar de Priest was the first African-American elected to Congress post-Reconstruction. He was elected to Congress forty years before he would have been served lunch in a restaurant in many states. In 1950, twenty-two years after his election, it was still illegal in eighteen states for him to marry a white woman (an act for which he might merely have been lynched in many other states).
Surely only the most gullible would continue to believe race baiting claptrap like that.
Surely. You'd have to be a complete idiot to not understand that electing a black President means that there is no more racism. Then again, this is a man who knows claptrap.
The fact is, the professor's hatred for “Whitey” overwhelmed his judgment and he lost his temper – and that is all that has happened here.
"Which we will see as soon as the facts come out, which, as I noted three paragraphs ago, hasn't happened. Also, I was there. Well, I wasn't there, but I've chosen to believe the cop's story, the reliability of which is not affected by his own motives and interests."
That is, until the president decided to weigh in.
It's Obama's fault. Obama is the real racist. I'm indescribably fucking bored with you, Gary. Carry on while I amuse myself with this collection of "Cathy" comic strips.
When he did, he revealed his heart on the matter of race and it's sad to find out where he really stands on race relations. It appears that he will not be an agent of change, and that is a real shame.
Oh, you're done? Thank God.
In summary, healing race relations means placating white people. Assuaging their guilt. Reassuring them that only whiny, entitlement-hungry colored people keep racism alive in the United States. Convincing them that once the weekly lynchings stopped and politicians stopped saying "nigger" in public, racism disappeared. Unquestioningly taking the side of the police when their motives and actions are criticized. This is what it means to foster good relations among races. I'm glad we had this talk. I look forward to your well-researched, fact-laden book about Barack Obama. May it stand alongside your earlier work in both quality and relevance.Tags: FJM