By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Representatives of Pray at the Pump (more about them shortly) and the pastor of Rising Sun Baptist Church of Baltimore plan to picket the White House today, asking President Barack Obama to change his choice of beverage when he meets today with Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge, Mass., police department and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. over a beer.
The demonstrators want the White House to serve lemonade instead.
Beer sends the “wrong message to our nation’s youth who are becoming alcoholics at young ages,” said Rocky Twyman, founder of Pray at the Pump, in a statement this morning. “Whether or not he likes it, President Obama is a role model for all the youth in America. His actions count.”
Obama has arranged the beer summit in an effort to mediate the the racially charged controversy caused by the arrest of Gates by Crowley near Harvard University earlier this month.
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union also isn’t happy. “There are so many other beverages he could have chosen that would have served just as well,” said president Rita K. Wert, suggesting lemonade or iced tea.
Twyman is concerned about booze as a “gateway” drug.
“Studies show that alcoholism leads our previous youth to use harder drugs like cocaine that is responsible for vicious youth crimes, especially in inner-city America that gave Obama large electoral margins,” said Twyman.
That point is debatable, but Twyman, a public relations consultant, is experienced at getting publicity and has staged campaigns over the years for various causes, from tsunami relief to bone marrow donations for minorities. Last year, he formed Pray at the Pump, where Twyman and company prayed at gas pumps in the Washington area for relief from high gas prices. Well, prices did come down, so maybe it worked.
I get the feeling, though, that Twyman won’t have as much luck this time around.