Benjamin Franklin once said that beer is proof that God loves us. If we think about the recent White House meeting between President Obama, Harvard Prof. Henry Gates, and Cambridge Police Sargent James Crowley, it seems clear enough that Obama thinks beer is a good drink to have a conversation over, but I wonder what message something like this sends to everybody and if it is a positive one.
We know that beer is the fuel of sports here in the United States, mostly because the beverage companies sponsor all sorts of sporting events. If you look around at the sights in any major league ballpark, chances are youâ€™re going to see a sign advertising beer. Beer is ubiquitous at games in all sports, as a beverage that is quaffed with snacks while watching the event, as well as an advertised product.
While I have nothing against old Ben Franklin, or beer for that matter, I wonder if everybody in the world feels the same way. Certain religions call for their members to abstain from alcohol; many other people must refrain from drinking for health reasons. Besides those considerations, the biggest segment of the population that concerns me are the young people who are not yet allowed to legally drink. Did they really need a presidential meeting to occur over beer, solidifying an already subliminal imagery of something that is cool?
I think Obama meant well when he set up this meeting, but letâ€™s make no mistake that there was a great deal of calculation here. How does a man who seems aloof and above the common folk send a message that he is just one of us? Well, he doesnâ€™t go up to Cambridge and have a snifter of cognac in one of the university lounges, thatâ€™s for sure. Gates and Crowley were all business in their suits and ties, but Obama rolled up his sleeves, grabbed a few snacks from the bowl on the table, and presto-change-o he becomes a man of the people, drinking a beer after work with the guys like the rest of us working stiffs.