On July 31, right after Beergate, the White House posted official photos of the event. Thomas Lifson, of American Thinker, saw one and was immediately struck by it. Here’s the photo:
You see what I see: the cop who was flung into unwanted prominence because an esteemed professor and the American president accused him of stupidity and racism, carefully helps that same professor, who has a mild physical impairment, down the stairs. The president strides on, utterly oblivious to his friend’s needs. Thomas thought that image compelling:
Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?
In my own dealings with the wealthy and powerful, I have always found that the way to quickly capture the moral essence of a person is to watch how they treat those who are less powerful. Do they understand that the others are also human beings with feelings? Especially when they think nobody is looking.
Interestingly, a blogger at the New York Times thought it compelling too. Without, as Thomas notes, a trace of snark, Eric Etheridge links to both the photo and to Thomas’ comment. Thomas believes that the increased recognition this photo is gaining is very important and will get traction:
I have a minor wager with Kyle-Anne Shiver over whether Fox News Channel will broadcast the picture and mention the controversy it has engendered. As I recall, it required something like 4 days before they ran the Obama bow to the Saudi King. On that basis, I predict that sometime today the picture will breakthrough into the cable news domain. I bet Glenn Beck is the first to run it, followed by Hannity, Greta, and finally O’Reilly.
I suspect Thomas is right. That photographic minute in time perfectly exemplifies Obama’s self-involvement. Whether he wasn’t paying attention, or was just done with Gates (the man having served his purpose), or is completely oblivious to another’s pain is unknowable. Obama’s specific motivation is missing because we don’t have a window into his head. It is enough, though, to see that, regardless of Obama’s motive, the outcome is the heartless abandonment of those who are not of immediate use to him — and in this, Obama is a typical narcissist. People, facts, whatever . . . their only utility to a narcissist is to serve the needs of a moment.
The picture was also helpful in cementing Crowley’s image as a true public servant. Whatever happened that heated night in July, the fact remains that this is a good man. Even Gates comes out of this smelling reasonably good (writing a pompous, but gracious, post-beer statement). Only our president gained and learned nothing.
Because Thomas thinks this is an important photo, and because I think he’s right, I’d like to encourage all of you with blogs to link to Thomas (or, of course, you can link to me) and to publicize the photo. People need to see that our President’s default position is not that of a thoughtful humanitarian, but of an utterly self-involved being who sees people only in utilitarian terms.
UPDATE: Both Brutally Honest and The Radio Patriot have linked to this one. Some bloggers, though, are expressing the (entirely valid) concern that this is a set-up. Once this story gets legs, the White House will holler “A ha!” and produce a photo from the same event showing Obama being incredibly solicitious. What do you think?
UPDATE II: Terresa, unsurprisingly, did a thoughtful post too.
UPDATE III: JoshauPundit is also aware just how charmless skin-deep charm really is.