Mini cross burning in Kentucky from summer of '06
They found an effigy of Obama
hanging from a tree in Lexington, Kentucky this morning. It’s not the first of the campaign—that honor goes to a Sarah Palin doll in L.A.—but with Obama being black and Kentucky being Kentucky, this will have a special, terrible significance for Americans.
I really like Kentucky. It’s pretty and I’ve found the people there to be friendly and sensible, with a realistic view of themselves. Louisville is one of my favorite towns in the South, mostly because of my friends who live there.
The first time I visited Kentucky was to write these stories
about a cross burning in Bowling Green, during the summer of 2006. Like many towns below the Mason-Dixon, a wave of immigrants had overwhelmed the place and not everyone was happy about it. But even during that visit, as fraught as it was with fear and whispers of xenophobia, I came to believe that the cross burning itself was probably nothing more than some neighborhood teenagers acting stupid. I never felt that most Kentuckians supported such behavior or held any ill will toward the immigrants in their midst.
While I don’t know much about this hanging thing, I suspect that the perpetrators are similarly harmless. So for now I will choose to believe that the act is a misguided lashing out, a spasm of unthinking from small minds who know better but are capable of no more.
Until I hear otherwise, this is what I will believe.