A West Hollywood homeowner has hung an effigy of VP candidate Sarah Palin from his home in time for Halloween. Local officials have already spoken to say that the homeowner is covered by free speech rights.
As you may know, I believe in free speech in its entirety (so long as such speech is not used to incite violent acts) and do support the homeowner’s choice of Halloween decor (though it would not be my own choice). That said, I should make it clear that whatever I believe for one politician should be true for another and therefore reluctantly say that, were the effigy of Obama, I believe it to be equally within the rights of free speech.
I do wonder, however, if someone were to hang an effigy of Obama in such a way, would it be a hate crime? And is it not a hate crime when done to Sarah Palin? She is a woman*, and to quote John Lennon, “woman is the nigger of the world” (which, as John intended it, is still true today by most accounts). Should a crime against a woman not be treated in the same manner as a crime against a minority?
*You’ll note in the comments below that I changed this statement to better reflect my intent. I had, incorrectly, stated that women were a minority, which is not true, at least in the United States.
Photo Credit: Reuters