Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An effigy of Senator Barack Obama discovered hanging in a tree on the University of Kentucky's campus

My thoughts:

I have been troubled by the extreme hatred generated during this campaign and the refusal of either of the major party candidates to address it or call for an end to it. It is not a conservative or liberal thing... liberal pundits on AlterNet have been just as vicious/myopic as the conservative hate-jocks on TV/Radio... this is big business, these 352 days, 24 hours-a-day, campaigns... who will be the voices in the wilderness of hate?

I have been wrestling with this deep, dangerous divide in our nation and believe as public intellectuals we must have the courage to address it openly. No matter who wins this will not disappear after the election. Extremist factions have dominated the discourse of our nation (mediated and interpersonal) for too long. What can we do? What should we do? Where are we going as a nation?

We have been talking/writing about the important election issues in my 101/282 classes and I asked my students about Abu Ghraib. Only 6 students out of 60 recognized the name and/or the significance. My head is hurting from banging it against the wall...

Always questions, few answers....


Michael Benton
KY is 57% democrat and currently McCain is polling 55% and Obama at 35%
email we received today:

From: President Lee T. Todd, Jr.
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 12:14 PM
Subject: Campus Incident on October 29, 2008

Unfortunately, this morning an effigy of Senator Barack Obama was discovered hanging in a tree on campus. I am personally offended and deeply embarrassed by this disgusting episode. This is not reasonable political expression; it is just malicious. And it is unacceptable.

On behalf of the University of Kentucky I apologize to Senator Obama and his family. I will personally assure them that this is not who we are as a University or as a state.

As President of the University of Kentucky, I feel outraged and hurt. I am outraged because we work very hard, every day, to build bridges across the divides. Diversity and inclusion are among our most precious core values. Episodes like this serve only to erode our confidence in and respect for one another.

Regardless of your political opinions or the candidates you support, a University such as ours must be a place where spirited discussion can take place, but within the bounds of civility, common sense, and respect for the views and feelings of others. We have insisted - and we will continue to insist - that we as a University and as a state rise above hatred and acts of malice or ignorance. The line separating civil discourse from unacceptable behavior has been crossed, constituting a clear violation of the University's code of ethics, and possibly constituting criminal acts, which would also violate University regulations. Such acts will not be tolerated. Those found responsible will be subject to the full force of university, state, and federal rules and regulations.

There is an on-going investigation into this incident, which includes federal authorities. If you have any information that would assist in this investigation you have a responsibility to contact the UK Police Department ...

Another email:

From: Provost Kumble Subbaswamy
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 4:02 PM
Subject: Campus Forum to Discuss Effigy Incident

The UK Interfaith Dialog Organization and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Center will jointly sponsor a Campus Forum tonight at 7:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall to address issues and concerns that have arisen because of the effigy incident this morning. Student, community and university leaders will be on hand to underscore UK's core values of diversity and inclusion, and to reiterate the community's commitment to civil discourse and mutual respect under all circumstances, and in the face of political disagreement in particular. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Program participants will include Mehmet Saracoglu, President UK Interfaith Dialog Organization; Mayor Jim Newberry; President Lee Todd; Tyler Montell, President, UK Student Government; Reverend Peoples from Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church and others.

[Free parking will be available in the Limestone Parking Garage next to Kennedy Book Store - entrances are on Limestone and Upper streets.]

1 comment:

Jack Lacton said...

The Obama hanging effigy was a response to the Palin hanging effigy.

It says something about the left that they laugh at the Palin one and denounce the Obama one, as if the hanging of a black man in effigy is somehow more offensive than hanging a woman.

Mind you, if instead of hanging Sarah Palin they had have hung an effigy of Nancy Pelosi then all hell would have broken loose.