I'm so damn tired of this.
Photo by Zachary Kaufman, The Columbian
By Stevie Mathieu
Columbian staff writer
Originally published October 3, 2012 at 5:38 p.m., updated October 3, 2012 at 7:28 p.m.
An empty chair hung from a tree outside a Camas couple’s home in protest of President Barack Obama is drawing criticism from diversity advocates as an example of racial insensitivity against America’s first black president.
The plastic patio chair outside the home of George and Kathryn Maxwell is missing a leg, has the word “No-Bama” scrawled on it and once had two American flags taped to its back. The couple that hung the chair said they were inspired to put the empty chair in their yard after watching Clint Eastwood’s speech at this summer’s Republican National Convention...
Kathryn Maxwell said her husband, George, is the one who decided to hang the chair from the tree. He was out of town on a hunting trip when she was contacted by a reporter.
Isn't that sweet, they originally wrapped their hanging chair in the American flag. How patriotic! But, of course, it had nothing to do with lynching President Obama.
How could you think such a thing?!
We talked to Kathryn Maxwell on Thursday about the display. She said it has nothing to do with 'lynching' and that her husband simply put the chair in the tree after the first one they put out was stolen.
"It has nothing to do with hanging anybody - it's hanging the chair so people don't steal it," Maxwell said, later adding "a Texas guy hung up a chair and it was really neat. It attracted a lot of attention. And I showed it to George and he went 'I gotta do that.' "
"I see nothing wrong with it," she also said. "It's a freedom of speech thing."
Oh, yeah, that's real "neat".
Don't expect the Maxwells to take down their "neat" hanging chair anytime soon, either.
Even after the Maxwells’ display was called into question, it did not sound as if the couple planned to take the chair down.
“There’s a Constitution,” Maxwell said, pointing out her First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of expression. “Some people forget that.”
Okay, so Mrs. Maxwell admits her husband hung the chair as an homage to Eastwood's improv skit, and the chair in said improv skit was meant to represent President Obama, but Mrs. Maxwell then claims she and her hubby weren't lynching the President in effigy. Uh huh. Gotta love Republican logic!
Someone at a local college actually tried to say that white people lynching chairs just don't understand our history or how their actions might be interpreted.
“I think it just speaks to a lack of awareness and knowledge around some of our history,” Bonner said. “It’s definitely an opportunity to educate and hopefully change people’s perspectives.”
I'm sorry, but as a white person, I call BS on the claim that any white person
over the age of twenty, born and raised in the United States, doesn't understand this equation:
Empty Hanging Chair = Lynching President Obama in Effigy
Everyone knows that's true. These racist cowards should just own up. If you're going to do something this vile, don't bother to pretend it isn't about lynching our President in effigy.
Having said that, just for the heck of it, I'll play along, suspend reality for a moment, and pretend that my fellow adult white Americans don't understand what lynching is. Here's a brief history lesson:
Violence in the United States against African Americans, especially in the South, rose in the aftermath of the Civil War, after slavery had been abolished and recently freed black men were given the right to vote. Violence rose even more at the end of the century, after southern white Democrats regained their political power in the South in the 1870s. States passed new constitutions or legislation which effectively disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites, established segregation of public facilities by race, and separated blacks from common public life and facilities. Nearly 3,500 African Americans were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, mostly from 1882 to 1920.
In case you're wondering who Mrs. Maxwell will be voting for in November, she's a Romney supporter.
Admittedly, a reluctant one. She considers Romney "the lesser of two evils." She would have preferred bat-crap crazy Michele Bachmann.
The Clark County GOP stated publicly that they don't approve of chair lynchings. How very magnanimous of them! If the GOP's leaders were genuinely offended by these racist efforts to intimidate liberals - and especially minorities - they would give up race-baiting. That would be much more helpful, and certainly far more effective, than making empty public statements...but I guess that’s just too much to ask.
It makes me so angry, and more than that, so very, very sad, that there are people in this nation willing to reopen this wound - to use a heinous, shameful chapter of our national history - to make a sick, twisted political statement. I can't believe they can call themselves the "Party of Lincoln" with a straight face. Somewhere Abraham Lincoln is spinning in his grave.
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