Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Teachable Moment- Resolving Conflict

President Obama followed through on his invitation for a sit down beer with the folks involved in the Gates' arrest. Crowley, the police officer involved, stated that he felt the discussion and outcome were constructive and that the focus was on how to move forward to prevent an unfortunate occurrence from happening again. He stated that there was no finger pointing or any display of animosity during the conversation but that is was an environment of acceptance and friendliness.

Many say that Obama has backdowned on addressing a serious racial profiling issue by stating that he misspoke when he used the word "stupid" concerning an officer's actions and by having a sit down beer with those involved.

For those who think that way I propose the following scenario. Let's say Obama backed up his use of the word "stupid". Now, the police department would have a reason to stay on the defensive since no one wants to appear to be behaving stupidly and it is very difficult for many to admit when they may have behaved somewhat inappropriately. Thus, continuing along this line would have generated greater defensiveness and served to help breakdown the already low trust level that people of color have toward the police. Nothing would be resolved and an already bad situation would become worse.

So, yes, there is a discrepancy in how the police handle situations involving people of color as opposed to caucasians. People of color already know this. The move in the right direction is to take action that will create the greatest liklihood of moving towards a solution and eliminating conflict not just the conflict between the two people, Gates and Crowley, but also eliminating reasons as to why people of color think they are treated differently by the police.

People must be willing to sit down and understand each other and then work together to create a solution. This is the constructive approach.

We all make mistakes and it is what one does after making that mistake that is a defining moment of one's character.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Response Intended to Resolve A Conflict: Obama on the Gate's Arrest

The President stated that Gate's was a friend of his and that based on the information that he had concerning the circumstances surrounding the arrest, the police arrest was a stupid action to take. The Cambridge police department criticized the president for that remark and upheld the arrest of Harvard Professor Gates.

The President's response to the criticism was to clarify what he meant and proceed with resolving the conflict. His response and actions to the criticism are highly commendable because he does not respond in a defensive or accusatory manner to the criticism but in a manner that is geared toward resolution. This is an example that all involved would do well to follow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Telling the Truth to Africa

When President Obama visited Ghana he addressed the most pressing issues for the continent of Africa. He spoke about the corruption that keeps Africa in conflict and self-destruction. He put the responsibility right where it belongs-with the African countries. He spoke frankly, leaving no room for misinterpretation. Hopefully, these countries will listen and take action to bring about a better world.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Car, Better Environment

Back in March '09, President Obama supported an incentive plan to give money back to people who purchase more fuel efficient cars when they trade in a non fuel efficient car. This is an action that seeks to make a difference right now for a healthier and safer environment.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obama Extended Unemployment Compensation

Yes, the offer of extended unemployment compensation has been in effect for some time now yet I wanted to record it here as well. Many complain that giving a helping hand encourages dependence. We have a system set up to determine who qualifies for such benefits and a procedure in place to track re-employment progress and whether continued compensation is warranted. The helping hand offered to the 1000s of unemployed is very much needed. The checks and balances for such a program lies with the agencies that administer it NOT the unemployed who receive it. It is backwards thinking to say, " I would extend you a helping hand but you might not use my help wisely so I will not help you at all." Obama rejects that type of thinking and relies on the administrative process in place to provide the checks and balances on such aide. If there are problems, then the administrative process needs to be modified not cut off aid.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cost of Health Insurance under COBRA Reduced

Wow, one of the great things about Obama's stimulus bill is that it allows those unemployed to get COBRA health insurance at a significantly reduced cost if they lost their job between September 2008 and February 2009 and meet certain conditions.