Barack Obama billed his White House beer summit Thursday to discuss the altercation between the black Harvard professor and the white policeman as a "teachable moment."
But, unfortunately, I'd doubt that the real lesson to be learned ever came up over those beers and pretzels.
Can we appreciate that what seems to be an endless conversation about race in America is really a conversation about America, period?
I wish I could believe that the conversation in the White House garden was about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. That they talked about "self evident" truths and that the role of government, as our founders laid out so clearly, is to protect individual freedom.
Or that they discussed the struggles we've had because when America's founders signed those documents containing those great truths, 20 percent of our population was black slaves.
The civil rights movement was supposed to be about the proper inclusion, once and for all, of blacks in this great arrangement. The sad irony was and is that the movement transformed into a proponent of expanding the very arbitrary political power that we are supposed to be protecting ourselves from. And Professor Gates has been actively involved in this process.
A black law student quoted in a Wall Street Journal story about the meeting touched the heart of the matter. She correctly called it a "trivialization," reducing it all to personal relations rather than being "about abuses of power."
One would be hard pressed to find a black American who is not concerned, often from personal experience, about being personally violated as result of arbitrarily exercised authority and power.
Read the Declaration of Independence. Protecting individual liberty against such arbitrary power was and is what it's all about.
So why do blacks, who have more personal experience than any other group in this nation with abuses of such power, consistently support expanding it?
Why is Professor Gates freaked out by the policeman standing on his porch but not by the intrusive expansion of government into his life and the lives of every other American, white or black?
Why does he hate a policeman entering his living room, but he'll support government stepping inside his family, and every American family, and taxing their estate, so that parents cannot pass the wealth that they worked all their lives to accumulate freely on to their children?