Guest post from Alyson Buck
We’re a few weeks out from the beer summit between President Obama, Professor Henry Gates and Sgt. James Crowley. The meeting was an attempt to smooth over the subsequent PR aftermath of the racial firestorm that ensued from the Cambridge arrest. Admittedly, the meeting was a pretty significant maneuver by the president to take it upon himself to address such a major issue head on. However, the significance of the meeting was overshadowed in the media by the beer choices of the participating parties. Yes, our president decided to solve a major social issue over a cold brewski.
Begs the question — has #44 made himself too accessible?
During his run for presidency, Obama embraced Twitter and Facebook, making himself more accessible to a younger generation. He stood toe-to-toe to Stephen Colbert and did the late night circuit in an effort to show that he’s a likeable guy in touch with reality and eager to address middle-class average Americans’ needs. And in a time when the current president couldn't have been more out of touch, it was just what the country ordered. Like Bill Clinton's MTV sax solo before him, this approachable demeanor is arguably one of the main reasons Obama was able to secure a seat in the Oval Office.
I dig a president that's in touch with his country. I can get behind a guy that understood the value of social media (Full disclosure: He embraced Twitter long before this Millennial). But the role of president comes with serious responsibility and serious cache. The man is CEO, head honcho, top dog — yet he's settling what's turned into a major race dispute over a Bud Light. I've known many a dispute to be solved over a drink (probably more were started but who's counting) but is this the way we want our country’s leader to solve complex social issues that stretch back centuries?
I'm torn. On one hand I want Obama to be in touch with Americans and bring a fresher perspective to the White House. On the other, there are complicated issues — socially, economically — that need serious attention. Unfortunately I'm not sure they can be solved over the King of Beers.