It all began 2 weeks ago, when, following a police report from a neighbour in Cambridge,Mass. about an attempted burglary, Sgt James Crowley ended up arresting black Harvard professor Henry Gates,Jnr for disorderly conduct although the professor claimed he was actually entering his own home but had forgotten his keys.
The matter mushroomed when President Obama declared on prime-time TV that the police had acted stupidly. Although he later expressed regret, things did not subside much; so the President did what he thought was best: invite all parties to the Rose Garden patio at the White House for some beer. “I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart”, said Obama.
After the 40-minute chat under the canopy of a magnolia tree, there was no apology from all three but everyone agreed to disagree and meet again in the future.
There are several lessons about this tale – never speak out when you don’t have the facts before you (and this applies to Presidents as well). Another is – get to know who your neighbours are! Yet another – damage control and conflict resolution can often be settled over a cup of tea – in this case, beer.
For the record of beer-lovers, Obama had his usual Bud Light, the professor Adams Light and the policeman the wheat beer Blue Moon. Not to be outdone, when teetotaller Vice-president Joe Biden arrived later, he had the nonalcoholic beer Buckler.
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