We seem to be at a standoff. Some believe Professor Gates' story. Some believe officer Crowley's story.
What can we learn from all of this?
Don't trust authority.
Police are authority. The president, the man in the ultimate position of authority in our country, thinks the Cambridge Police Department "acted stupidly."
If we question the police's authority, why not the president's? What's the difference? If you think the police had a bias, then doesn't the president have potential for bias also?
If Professor Gates think he was treated differently because he's black, can others who think they've been historically been mistreated complain as well?
Some people don't trust the government. They think it's done wrong in the past, and in the case of "birthers," don't trust those who claim Barack Obama is an American citizen.
How far is Professor Gates from the birthers? And how do we have a reasoned discussion about these important issues when we automatically don't trust others? When we see an incident and plug it into our template.
The health care reform discussion has taken a big hit while Gates-gate consumes the conversation. But how do you get people to trust the authority of the government in health care if you don't trust the policeman who knocks on your friend's door?