Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beer Summit

At the risk of jumping back into politics for the first time in many months, I have to weigh in with my two cents on the controversy over the arrest of the black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in his own home by the white policeman, James Crowley, and the unfortunate comments that followed by President Barack Obama about the police department "acting stupidly."

I think all parties involved overreacted, and this incident highlights the open wound that still exists in our society when it comes to black/white relations. But that is not the main thing I want to address.

President Obama proposed a meeting at the White House that is taking place today with Crowley and Gates. He suggested they all get together over a beer to talk about the issue and the greater issue of race relations in America. Great, I'm all for reconciliation and discussion. But there is a bigger issue at stake here.

My issue is over the choice of beers that have been chosen for this Kum Ba Yah moment of national healing.

Crowley, the policeman, has chosen Blue Moon as his beer of choice, which is a wheat beer owned by Coors most often served with an orange. And while I scratch my head that a working-class civil servant hero is drinking a beer garnished with a citrus and admittedly I am not a hefeweizen fan myself, kudos to Crowley for setting the bar with something a little bit out of the box with a Blue Moon.

For Gates he went with the trendy Jamaican beer Red Stripe, which is beer hyped more for its image than it is its flavor. But given that the guy is 5'7", 150 lbs, walks with a cane, and is a public intellectual from Harvard it's clear that the guy is not a beer drinker. To each his own. I'll cut the guy some slack. He was after all arrested for being in his own house.

Now for our President. After sticking his foot in his mouth by uncharacteristically dropping his guard and commenting on a story based on emotion instead of facts, President Obama has some ground to make up. Ok, he spoke without thinking. He's human like the rest of us. So here is his second chance. If he picks the right beer, he gets to have his discussion and then move on to the swamp that is health care reform. As the leader of the free world President Obama can pick any beer he wants to be his companion in this discussion.

There are endless possibilities. Help out the struggling California economy and pick a flowery India Pale Ale with cascade hops, say Green Flash West Coast IPA for example. Or go with a Brooklyn Brewing variety, made in the most multi-cultural place in America in New York City. Or pay tribute to America's colonial roots and to greater Boston where this controversy originated in picking a Harpoon -- heck, even a Sam Adams.

Obama's choice? Bud Light. The king of lawnmower beers. Not even owned by an American company anymore. A beer so lousy the company spends endless amounts on promoting it with goofy commercials, animals, and models to make it the best-selling beer in America.

Where has Hope gone?


Anonymous said...

Great analysis. I agree with you that the choices are disappointing. For the first time perhaps ever, there is a beer dialogue at the Presidential level and this what we get? A great opportunity has been missed.

Anonymous said...

I second that... great analysis! You are a talented writer and I always enjoy your entertaining blog posts.