This from a man of the cloth, no less.
That Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge, Mass., police sergeant James Crowley may attend a baseball game together has the Rev. Al Sharpton concerned.
Sharpton had this to say on his radio show on Monday while talking with Gates' lawyer Charles Ogletree, who also teaches at Harvard (click here for audio) --
SHARPTON: Let me start out by asking you, where, what is the status with Dr. Gates? You're his lawyer. Some people feel like we've made enough conciliations. I'm reading now he's talking about going to the ballgame with Sgt. Crowley. I need not tell you, some of us are saying that, wait a minute, enough is enough. What's going on here?
OGLETREE: Right. Well, the real thing is, as you know, is that the dialogue is just beginning and I've already been in touch with folks in Cambridge about doing a number of forums on police conduct in minority communities based on the book that I wrote 15 years ago about the Rodney King case. And so the whole idea of examining how these things happen and what racial profiling's all about and how we deal with it is hot on the burner, and we're going to be talking about some of that in August, on Aug. 12, but really setting it up for a series of national events in September, and as you and I have discussed on Rev. Jackson's show, the issue also will be, you know, what's the federal role in addressing some of these issues?
So, everything is moving forward. We're just doing it a little more quiet and a little less public than the last two and a half weeks have been. But you know that you and I will keep talking about it and you're going to have a dialogue, a private dialogue, with Professor Gates today. So we're moving forward on all of it.
How about that -- Sharpton was going to have a "private dialogue" with Gates, according to Ogletree. As opposed to the public dialogue that would have occurred had Gates gone on Sharpton's radio show. And can there be much doubt that Sharpton asked Gates to do so? Apparently Gates would rather take in a ballgame with the pale-hued police officer who arrested him.
I'll give Sharpton credit where credit's due -- he hides his displeasure well. Not entirely, since his question to Ogletree about Gates was not entirely in jest. But Sharpton clearly gives the impression of unease with the specter of racial conciliation, much like the mortician alarmed by news of greater longevity. Bad for business and all.
I'm reminded of an episode of the old television sitcom "M*A*S*H*", titled "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?", about a wounded bombadier convinced he is Jesus Christ and brought to the 4077th for treatment.
Word of this reaches Col. Flagg, a cartoonish Army intelligence officer who believes Chandler is faking his injury to avoid duty.
I searched in vain for a script of the episode, but as I recall Flagg was arguing with Hawkeye Pierce and B.J. Hunnicutt about Chandler, saying this "Messiah thing" had to be nipped in the bud because it could prove contagious and who knows where it might lead.
"Peace?", Hunnicutt asked.