Political effigies may seem like props better suited to a campaign in the 19th century than a 2008 one, but there's no avoiding it -- symbolic violence is back this year.
Last month, students at George Fox University in Oregon hanged an effigy of Barack Obama. Earlier this week, an effigy of Sarah Palin with a noose around its neck that was hung at a home in West Hollywood, Calif., attracted national attention.
Wednesday morning, another effigy of Obama was found. This one was hanging from a tree on the campus of the University of Kentucky. It has since been taken down.
While any such faux brutality is horrifying, it's hard to avoid particular alarm at a simulated lynching of a black man occurring below the Mason-Dixon line. While the earlier incidents were of course offensive and inappropriate, they don't carry quite the same painful freight this latest one does.
In an e-mail to the campus community, the university's president apologized to Obama and his family and said that investigators are currently engaged in determining whether any laws were broken.