Monday, August 3, 2009

Gatesgate: The Photo

I don't have much to say about the Beer Summit, but the American Thinker had some ideas about an official White House photo that has been making the rounds.

Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?

Eh. Maybe I'm revealing something unpleasant about myself here, but I have to admit that I don't get this controversy. Obama and Gates are supposedly friends. Maybe Obama knows that Gates can get down steps like those just fine with his cane, and hates being helped - I've certainly known plenty of slightly infirm folks with that sort of fierce independence. Maybe two seconds before the picture was taken, Obama was checking to make sure his friend was in good hands. Or maybe Obama is really as arrogant as he's being described.

We really don't know from the picture. Obama acted on insufficient information when we said that the police acted "stupidly" when dealing with Gates, but the American Thinker is committing the same error here. In both cases, the symbolism struck a chord with the viewer's ideology, and this resulted in jumping to an unwarranted conclusion.

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