Hanging Empty Chairs: Racist Lynchings or Hanging in Effigy

Posted by Troy on 21st September 2012 in Current Events, Political

It must be hard to live in an over-sensitive world.

You have seen the video of Eastwood talking to an empty chair (or heard about it at some point).  This was a bit that people either loved or hated.  It was either brilliant performance art of the act or a senile old man, depending on who you ask.  However, the speech has developed a cult following.  As a part of that following, some individuals are hanging empty chairs from trees.  This has led other people to cry “racism!”  But is it?

Of course, this story has to start with the lynchings which were a part of Southern culture during the Reconstruction Era (mainly).  When a black was suspected of a crime, real or imagined, the community at large would band together and hang the offender without due process of law.  In this case, if an empty chair represents Obama, hanging an empty chair must symbolize hanging Obama.  Since Obama is the first (half)black President, this means that we are hanging a black man!  This, of course, means he is hanging because he is a black man.  Okay, that’s the argument FOR this thought process.

However, there is an older tradition than lynching in this country that dates back to colonial times.  When government officials really angered people, the citizens would hang (or even burn) the officials in effigy.  This is to say, in make believe (not reality).

So, do you think that it is possible that the people hanging these chairs are doing it in political protest rather than showcasing their racial intolerance?  Doesn’t it seem more likely that someone would (in this day and age) opt to show their political outrage to the public rather than show their racism?  I am inclined to believe that this is old-fashioned political free speech at work.

However, let me take the other position.  Let’s just say that it is racism at work.  Evil, evil racism.  Okay, fine.  They are hanging a chair, not a real person.  Even if you don’t like it, it’s legal.  It’s free speech.  You don’t get to approve of all of it.  I am very much against limiting free speech just because it’s offensive be it political, anti-Mulsim, pornography, or anything else.  Once you decide you should be able to determine what thoughts people are exposed to, you have decided that there is no freedom.  There is only what you are allowed to think.

Long Live the Constitution!

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