I’ve never been especially respectful of authority – in or out of uniform. Respect, so far as I’m concerned, isn’t a reward for years lived or elections won or careers chosen or degrees earned. I don’t think that police officers or soldiers or firemen are heroes, either. Unless they’re very unlike everybody I’ve ever met in my life, they do what they do for selfish reasons – as do we all – and, to that extent, deserve no more respect or admiration that the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker.
Nevertheless, when Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. was arrested at his home recently by Cambridge Police Sgt. James M. Crowley, I have little doubt that it was Professor Gates, not Sgt. Crowley, who turned what should have been a routine police matter into a heated referendum on race relations in which both the Governor of Massachusetts and the President of the United States are now participating.
Can we take another look at this?