You've got to hand it to people in the San Francisco Bay Area. We're simply not as tolerant as other parts of the country to let hatred stand.
Atherton, California is one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States. The median home price was over $4,000,0000 in 2010, and I’m sure it’s higher than that now. I did a quick search and found ten homes for sale right now for over $10,000,000, like this one. It is home to such notable people as Meg Whitman, Charles Schwab, and Eric Schmidt. So you’d expect it be an alcove of Republican voters; of 1%ers. And you’d be right. Atherton sticks out in the vote results as much more conservative than its neighbors of Menlo Park and Palo Alto. And a conservative is as a conservative does.
It turns out that one resident, a James Woody (69) “thought it would be funny” to hang a chair in front of his Emilie Avenue (Atherton) home. He told a local reporter from the Palo Alto Daily Post that he got the idea to hang the chair from Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention and claimed his chair hanging was a “very unassuming and unimportant act.” In fact, one of his neighbors, a Bonnie Morey was walking by the house with her grandchildren and “laughed.” She says that she recognized the reference to Eastwood’s speech.
The story has somewhat of a happy ending as a resident who drove by (and didn’t find the reference humorous) called the police. One Sgt. Rick Enberg of the Atherton police department claimed Mr. Woody was cooperative and cut the chair down. He also reminded us that this act, in of itself, is not illegal. “[Mr. Woody] didn’t realize it would cause a problem,” Sgt. Engberg said.
In the end, Mr. Woody agreed it was a “silly” thing to do.
I agree. It is “silly” to hang your president in (metaphoric?) effigy. It’s silly to hate so much that you’re willing to want to lynch the leader of your government, if not really. It’s silly to remind us how vile our free speech can be. Hatred exists in all kinds of forms. Even right here in the most heterogeneous locales in the country: the San Francisco Bay Area.
Diarist note: I can’t link to the article in the Palo Alto Daily Post article because of their policy, which you can find here:
Why doesn't the Post put its daily edition online? When newspapers put their stories online, they erode the readership of their print edition. Ads in print produce powerful results for advertisers while online advertising doesn't work as well.The incident is recorded in the Atherton Police Departments daily log for October 6, 2012
Newspapers have struggled for more than 15 years to get their websites to break even (that is, produce enough ad revenue to cover their newsgathering costs), and none has succeeded. If online advertising worked for small- and medium-sized businesses, newspaper websites would be flourshing. "Experts" like to say that print is dead, but our newsracks empty quickly each day. People go out of their way and make an extra effort to pick up the Post. Demand for the Post exceeds supply. This phenomenon has attracted the attention of The New York Times, which came to Palo Alto to write about it.
One reason for this demand is our strong local news coverage. We break important stories before the other papers, and we cover controversial topics that other publications won't touch. In addition, some readers tell us they pick up the Post for the ads because we have many more advertisers than other local papers.
Often readers ask if there is a way to look up stories we've published previously. So we have decided to open our archives to the public. Stories we've written should be available in our archives within a week of publication. These archives aren't a substitute for getting the Post every day, but they are helpful for those in need of stories we've published in the past.
For more on this type of story, you can read AuroraDawn’s diary about the chair lynching in Washington State here.
TooFolkGR’s diary about the chair lynching here.
And of course, the Rec listed kath25’s diary about the chair lynching that began it all in Austin here.