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Hill ’11, in Defense of Moore

By: Rhassan Hill
rlh1 (at) williams (dot) edu

My name is Rhassan Hill ‘11. I am a student and long-time friend of Professor Moore as well as a participant in Bernard Moore’s Fall ‘09 class, Black Leadership. I took a few moments tonight to speak with my friend Professor Moore, and will be the first to speak up in his defense.
Firstly, I’d like to say that Bernard Moore is a great inspiration to students of color on this campus, in particular black males. As the author of the Second Chance Act, signed into law by former President Bush, the organizer of such forums as the Congressional Black Caucus event last year, and the upcoming Black Leadership forum, Bernard Moore has easily been the preeminent academician in, and has added immeasurably to, the strength of the Political Science department at this College for the past year.

The quality of Professor Moore’s classroom instruction has been of the highest degree for the year I have known him. Anyone testifying to the contrary is either being disingenuous, airing personal grievances, or, worse, consciously perjuring this great man. I am willing to place my integrity as a member of the Williams community on the line in defense of the above statements, and will challenge, to the administration or otherwise, allegations to the contrary. Professor Moore’s consistently high student ratings, his acclaim and scholarly distinction speak volumes in testifying to his pedigree as an educator.

There is, at least in theory, a creed with regard to the Williams community that holds privacy in the highest esteem. I am outraged at the crass and blatantly intrusive behavior of some supposedly mature members of this community. As Professor Moore is not available to assert his right to privacy, I will assert it for him. Professor Moore, as a member of the Williams community, deserves his privacy. If members of the Williams community were to speak of me in the same way in which some community members have spoken of Professor Moore, I’d be enraged.

Before you rush to judgment regarding the allegations Professor Moore faces, I offer words of caution: Professor Moore’s support in the black community at Williams runs strong and deep. The African American community, and myself in particular, will not allow the lynching of Professor Moore’s reputation and racial insinuations readily appearing in commentary to continue. We will stand in his defense. I say this not in a partisan manner, but as someone who does not want to see this matter metamorphose into an open racial confrontation.

Lastly, Professor Moore has asked me to extend his thanks to those who stand in support of him. The matter has been greatly exaggerated by individuals not in the know, a tendency when people speak of matters in which they have no interest. I join supporters of Bernard Moore in extending well wishes to the individual responsible for a substantial portion of our personal and intellectual enrichment. If any of you will be in Washington over Thanksgiving break, Professor Moore invites you to contact him.

Sincerely,
Rhassan Hill

Note from Will: If anyone wants to comment on this with a response post, e-mail me. Comments will NOT be blocked for this post.

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#1 Comment By David On November 12, 2009 @ 8:07 am

Rhassan: Many thanks for sharing this with us. It would be wonderful if you could convince other students who also had positive experiences with Professor Moore to share their thoughts with the Williams community. The more information we have, the better.

#2 Comment By jeffz On November 12, 2009 @ 8:16 am

Rhassan, thanks for sharing your heartfelt thoughts. On the one hand, I share your disgust at some of the commentary here, namely, the nasty delight some take in any problems associated with a black male, and in particular a black male associated with Williams. I also find only marginally less troubling the quick rush to associate this with affirmative action more generally, without coming remotely close to knowing all the facts.

On the other hand, I find some of your comments troubling as well. Employing the lynching metaphor is way over the top and in no way commensurate with even the more embarrassing commentary here (and not remotely commensurate with ANY commentary I’ve seen from students). Next, Moore does not have ANY right of privacy related to his federal criminal conviction — his criminal conduct, plea, and sentencing, will ultimately all be on the public record. When you commit and are sentenced to crimes, you open yourself up to discussion of those crimes. That is a no-brainer. The presumption of innocence no longer applies, because he has already plead guilty, thereby admitted that he broke the law — that much is unambiguous. I also find it troubling that you fail to acknowledge the tremendous harm Moore may have done to those who supported him in advocating for, apparently, his signature legislative achievement. Nothing like a strong dose of hypocrisy to undermine that type of achievement and open up the door to all sorts of (completely justifiable) criticism. If you can’t, at a minimum, stay out of trouble with the law, you should be the LAST person putting yourself front and center as the spokesman for the wonders of rehabilitation and the need for a second chance (principles I happen to agree with, which make’s Moore’s utter lack of self-awareness all the more discouraging).

So while your discomfort with some of the tone on this blog, and the rapid (and predictable) descent into a race / affirmative-action bashing session, is wholly understandable, and your opinions on Moore’s academic contributions are useful and informative, I think you need to take a step back and recognize (a) folks are wholly justified in criticizing a convicted felon who lied to Williams, his colleagues, his educational institutions, his creditors, and most damning, those on the Hill who allowed him to advocate for a worthy cause, (b) no “right of privacy” is violated via commentary on public criminal events, and (c) whatever his good traits are, Moore did a tremendous disservice to those who advocate for criminal rehabilitation and second chances. None of that is remotely rooted in any sort of racial animus.

#3 Comment By jeffz On November 12, 2009 @ 8:18 am

Also, just to be clear, these aren’t “allegations” any more. He plead guilty, undoubtedly after a long colloquoy before a judge in which he specifically admitted to each and every material fact laid out in the USAO’s press release. At this point, these are facts.

#4 Comment By Eph On November 12, 2009 @ 8:20 am

…but you don’t address the fact that he stole $800,000. Even if I don’t rush to a judgment, as you advise, I will still reach the conclusion that he defrauded both our country and private banks. He pled guilty.

Now, his teaching record and his place at Williams might be a different matter to you, but I do think it’s in Williams’ best interest to pursue how they let a felon in front of the Blackboard, regardless of his numerous personal achievements or social additions to the College.

#5 Comment By Nishant On November 12, 2009 @ 8:35 am

Didn’t he plead guilty to fraud? This isn’t a question of letting him get his day in court. He got his day in court. These aren’t allegations, they are facts.

Personally, I think he would be a terrible example for anyone, especially black males.

#6 Comment By Nishant On November 12, 2009 @ 8:37 am

Apologies for cross posting. Jeffz was way more eloquent than I was.

#7 Comment By frank uible On November 12, 2009 @ 9:13 am

A crook is a crook is a crook.

#8 Comment By Emily On November 12, 2009 @ 9:42 am

While I agree that it is really wrong for this discussion to degenerate into a racially motivated mudslinging contest, the facts still stand and the facts are that he pled guilty to fraud. Of over $800,000. Besides that…

I would argue that he is certainly not the “preeminent academician” in the PSCI department at Williams – what about Professor Willingham, who is a nationally regarded expert in voting and elections, and was on the short list for one of Obama’s special committees (or so I’ve been told, he’s too humble to admit it himself)? Just because Moore brings shiny new faces and names to campus at big events does not necessarily prove his preeminence.

I think that any characterization of him as caring about students is absolutely undermined by the fact that he was draining student aid money from the government and private lenders. This shows a blatant disrespect for students who are actually in need of these loans, many of which attend Williams (myself included).

Although I never had him in class, I have heard many varying things, from statements such as yours to absolute outrage such as Emma’s in the WSO thread. The most common characterization of his class is that he is a great mentor if you get to know him (as you clearly did), but he really does not make an impact for the majority of his students. It is hard to say that he gets “high student ratings” when you have no access to his end-of-the-year evaluations and he doesn’t even have a Factrak. As for “his acclaim and scholarly distinction,” well…you sure got the acclaim part right.

#9 Comment By hwc On November 12, 2009 @ 9:46 am

Before you rush to judgment regarding the allegations Professor Moore faces, I offer words of caution: Professor Moore’s support in the black community at Williams runs strong and deep. The African American community, and myself in particular, will not allow the lynching of Professor Moore’s reputation and racial insinuations readily appearing in commentary to continue. We will stand in his defense. I say this not in a partisan manner, but as someone who does not want to see this matter metamorphose into an open racial confrontation.

Dear. Mr. Hill:

Surely, you didn’t intend this as it sounds: like a threat from the African American community at Williams College. With language like “lynching” and “racial insinutations”, it almost sounds like you are proposing that criticism of a convicted felon is off-limits, solely based on his race. I’m sure that’s not what you meant. I would be surprised if the African American members of the Williams community all share a single point of view on “Mr. Moore’s” conviction.

I can assure you that any Williams professor, regardless of race, creed, religion, or gender, convicted of stealing $800,000 and falsifying academic credentials would be met with anger and a call for an examination of an obviously flawed hiring process.

#10 Comment By PTC On November 12, 2009 @ 10:00 am

Rhassan- You are a good friend. I can respect that.

However- You should not use race to justify an irrational defense. I am a townie… and you, as student, are from a far superior class than townies in terms of the “Williamstown hierarchy of privilege”. Mr Moore had a great paying job for a long period of time. There is no excuse for what he was doing.

You will always here me advocate for better realtionshops, increased awareness, and more equality when it comes to town and gown… but I would never use it to justify the kind of criminal behavior you justify in your race based defense.

Remember- You enjoy incredible advantage in life. You go to Williams. Not everyone is as fortunate. Some people spend all day cooking your food and cleaning your dorm room without full pay and benefits. Try and remember that whilst you defend the fellow elite.

#11 Comment By Ronit On November 12, 2009 @ 10:04 am

Pretty much what JeffZ said.

I hope David Kane feels like a goddamned genius for making this into a racial issue.

#12 Comment By Ben Fleming On November 12, 2009 @ 10:17 am

I agree with everything Jeff said, especially the potential harm Moore has done to the image and cause of those who would urge a greater focus on rehabilitation. If the Second Chance Act was written by a two-faced recidivist, that has major implications for how people will view that legislation and the underlying cause. Both require a strong measure of ongoing trust between society and ex-cons, and Moore abused his trust in a spectacular manner. At the very least, even a quick look at the potential for harm in his actions would seem to call for some reevaluation. “Nobody’s perfect” doesn’t cut it here.

Again, the privacy stuff is just ludicrous. “Crass” is in the eye of the beholder, but hey, some of us might find it crass to insist that a guy who just admitted to $800,000 worth of bank fraud is an inspiration.

Finally, please stop insulting everyone’s intelligence with stuff like “The matter has been greatly exaggerated by individuals not in the know, a tendency when people speak of matters in which they have no interest.” That’s pathetic. These aren’t idle rumors. The details we’re discussing are drawn from a “factual proffer agreed to by Moore” released by the U.S. Attorney’s office. This situation is not seriously in dispute.

I completely understand the urge to defend someone considered a respected mentor. But there are limits to what reasonable people can believe.

#13 Comment By hwc On November 12, 2009 @ 10:23 am

David didn’t make this a “racial issue”.

I understand the sense of betrayal Mr. Hill must feel. That is just one of many lingering after-effects that the College must now navigate. I doubt, however, that Mr. Hill speaks for a diverse African American community at Williams College. My guess is that many members of that community will be among the most critical of “Mr. Moore”.

#14 Comment By Patrick On November 12, 2009 @ 10:24 am

Ronit: do you really believe Kane’s comment were needed to “…[make] this a racial issue?” His post was gratuitous, but I can hardly believe this forum, or the Williams campus, needed Kane to have race become a focus, if not the focus, of the incident. Do you?

#15 Comment By Ronit On November 12, 2009 @ 10:32 am

@Patrick: Race might have become part of the discussion eventually (along with other possible factors relevant to Moore’s hiring), but I blame Kane entirely for bringing it up in what can only be described as an idiotic, thoughtless, juvenile fashion, and giving students like Hill a reason to use the racially charged language used in the post above.

#16 Comment By rory On November 12, 2009 @ 10:32 am

@Patrick: Ronit was mocking David with that line, I believe. nor should this be about race–dude’s a fraud and that has nothing to do with his race.

#17 Comment By David On November 12, 2009 @ 10:37 am

Ronit claims:

I blame Kane entirely for bringing it [race] up in what can only be described as an idiotic, thoughtless, juvenile fashion

Here is the (almost) the only comment that I have made about race:

Do you think that Moore’s race — he is African-American — played a role in Williams’ decision to hire and reappoint him?

Ronit: Assume that I wanted to bring up race. How do you think I should have done it? What, precisely, would you have me write instead of the above?

#18 Comment By Eph On November 12, 2009 @ 10:43 am

@Ronit: Wasn’t Moore’s whole “academic career” about investigating racial differences and pointing to the instances in which race plays a part in how people are treated, be it preferentially or not? Now the tables are turned, Kane mentions one line about race, and you are in a flurry?

Consider this:

David said: Do you think that Moore’s race — he is African-American — played a role in Williams’ decision to hire and reappoint him?

What if Moore had said: Do you think that ex-con’s race play a role in certain institution’s decisions to hire and reappoint them?

Indeed Moore has made a living off such comments. I don’t see how David is out of line. Perhaps it’s a ploy to gather more readers/anger people into commenting more, but it’s still a very valid inquiry.

#19 Comment By rory On November 12, 2009 @ 10:43 am

PATIENCE. let the first day or two go by without baiting. also, slamming Howard is also a racially linked comment (” Is this typical of the sort of work that earns a Ph.D. from Howard? No wonder that Williams does not have a single faculty member with a degree from there.”)

oh, and you had this dandy that got called out before you posted that other gotcha race bait: “Rory: Do you think Williams would have hired Moore if he had been white? Assume that he had the same congressional connections, similar quality academic work and so on.”

#20 Comment By rory On November 12, 2009 @ 10:45 am

@Eph: There are fundamental differences between studying race and racially inequality and making politically charged statements about race on a blog on an issue that isn’t necessarily about race at all.

David’s also got a history of pulling this type of crap.

#21 Comment By hwc On November 12, 2009 @ 10:47 am

The role that racial preference may have played was going to be the elephant in the living room during any examination of a flawed hiring process in this case. Whether we acknowledge it or not, the elephant is going to be standing there.

Those of us who support affirmative action in an effort to increase the ranks of minority and female leaders at top colleges like Williams may be the most angry at this situation because it will clearly undermine the perception of those hiring priorities.

#22 Comment By Ronit On November 12, 2009 @ 10:56 am

@David: first of all, you also took gratuitous swipes at Howard U. and two black Congresspersons.

You could have placed the question about race in context with the many other factors that might serve to explain Moore’s hiring – his Washington connections, his apparently charismatic personal charm (he is, after all, a professional conman who has been conning institutions for over two decades), Williams’ (or the PoliSci department’s) apparent desire to experiment with faculty who have less traditional academic qualifications but more real-world experience, a general lack of oversight in the hiring of visiting professors, the fact that the Williams administration might be incompetent, etc. Any of these factors may have had more to do with Moore’s hiring than his race. I personally think the ways in which Williams hires visiting professors needs to be looked at in more detail, because Moore is hardly the first visiting prof to fall well below the standards established for pedagogy at Williams.

Instead of bringing up any of those factors, you jumped to the question of Moore’s race. You gave Hill a damn good reason to use a racially charged defense of Hill (which I think is unjustified, but I can see where Hill is coming from). As BrotherSpotless pointed out:

I am not saying you can’t (or shouldn’t) ask your question re: race, but why not offer more options regarding his hiring, since you don’t have evidence suggesting any one reason why he was hired? Otherwise, you turn the question away from Moore and toward (yet another) discussion on race. And in doing so, you risk martyring Moore for folks who are really simply defending the hiring of minority professors.

Do us all a favor, David, and shut up about race until you have some facts. Otherwise, I can only assume you want to turn a discussion about a relevant, highly interesting news story into a tired old argument about affirmative action and Africana Studies. I have no interest in that discussion, and I think any further unfounded racial speculation coming from you is likely to damage whatever credibility EphBlog may have. It might be better to lay off entirely, and let others discuss the issue.

Understand this: You have ZERO credibility when it comes to racial issues, and your inevitably thoughtless handling of it is going to make this look like a racist witchhunt. How tone-deaf are you?

#23 Comment By David On November 12, 2009 @ 10:56 am

slamming Howard is also a racially linked comment (” Is this typical of the sort of work that earns a Ph.D. from Howard? No wonder that Williams does not have a single faculty member with a degree from there.”)

So, the comment would have been fine if it had been directed at, say, George Mason, but I should hold back because Howard is an historically black college?

Sure seems like any criticism one could make of African-Americans or African-American institutions would be termed, by you, “racially linked.” I guess that the best bet is to never criticize them.

Getting back to flaws in the hiring process which brought Moore to Williams . . .

I wonder if any members of the political science department hesitated to criticize Moore’s application. After all, some people would probably term such criticism “racially linked.”

#24 Comment By rory On November 12, 2009 @ 10:57 am

@hwc: or, we could point out that anecdote is not evidence, that visiting professorships are different from traditional hiring positions, and that one bad apple does not spoil a policy.

i’ll acknowledge the elephant once there’s an actual investigation of how he was hired beyond a wso thread and uncovering his dissertation abstract. Until then, the matter is open elephants and non-elephants alike.

#25 Comment By Ronit On November 12, 2009 @ 11:00 am

@hwc:

Those of us who support affirmative action in an effort to increase the ranks of minority and female leaders at top colleges like Williams may be the most angry at this situation because it will clearly undermine the perception of those hiring priorities.

That’s a fair comment. Reading through the commentary on Twitter, there’s a real note of despair from some alumni because of the way in which the convenient framing of this issue might set back affirmative action and/or visiting profs at Williams. It’s a difficult situation. I see no attempt at handling it intelligently coming from DK.

#26 Comment By rory On November 12, 2009 @ 11:01 am

@David: WE DON’T KNOW CRAP ABOUT THE HIRING PROCESS IN THIS CASE. Stop making up annoying “i wonders”. I wonder if you’ll ever tire of posting bait.

and christ, there’s a history of denigrating graduates of HBCUs and the work that comes from HBCUs that doesn’t exist for, say, George Mason.

the best bet is to not denigrate an entire institution with thousands of highly qualified and successful ph.d students because one fraudster has a crappy dissertation abstract. but hey, that’s just me, i guess. and yes, it’s extra problematic to do so when the institution is an HBCU as I note above.

actually, ronit said it far better and more patiently than i can.

#27 Comment By Ronit On November 12, 2009 @ 11:06 am

Best tweet on this discussion:

Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin Pray to 8 lb 4oz white baby Jesus for culture war fodder like this

And this what DK is doing. He is stirring up more tired old culture war crap. That’s it. The innocent racial questions are a framing exercise. They are not advancing our knowledge of the situation, they are not reporting any new facts, they are not helping place these events in context, they are merely casting this unique and unprecedented story about Williams into a narrative that fits nicely with DK’s view of the world.

If he posts any further context-free, fact-free framing of this sort, I’m going to have to assume he’s operating in bad faith.

#28 Comment By BrotherSpotless On November 12, 2009 @ 11:09 am

In the illustrious words of Randy Travis: I told you so.

Given the climate, the race issue was bound to rear it’s formidable head. I just wish it could be better handled. Race is but one reason among many as to why Moore was hired; why we focus on his race befuddles me. Maybe talking about race is more enjoyable; maybe it makes us feel important to be able to openly discuss controversial issues. I don’t know.

#29 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On November 12, 2009 @ 11:24 am

I wonder if, as a whole, the opinions on Moore as a teacher were as polarized as the snippets we have seen here on EphBlog make it seem. If so, I wonder what effect the negative views had as the College evaluated whether to keep him on.

My – admittedly very crude – understanding of the evaluation process for professors at Williams is that there are three legs: (1) scholarship (i.e. publications), (2) teaching ability (not sure how that is evaluated, other than through student surveys), and (3) contributions to the College community (service on committees, assisting student organizations, advising students, community service (??) etc.). I have always thought that in order to get tenure, a professor needed to do well in all three areas, and excel in at least one. Is my understanding remotely accurate?

Are non-tenure track faculty evaluated the same way? From what’s been disclosed so far on EphBlog, and giving Moore every benefit of the doubt, Moore did very poorly in (1), there were mixed opinions on (2), and he did well on (3). With that kind of profile, could he have remained at Williams long-term? Should he have been able to? (This is of course, setting aside and ignoring his fraudulent activities while at Williams).

#30 Comment By Invisible Mom On November 12, 2009 @ 11:27 am

Moore’s dissertation committee included Howard Political Sciience professors and two Members of Congress as outside members. Moore worked for/ with these two people. Had Moore selected scholars from his research area (race and sentencing) for his outside committee members, and not friends, it would have given more legitimacy to his PhD.

This does reflect on Howard and the quality of PhD level work. This was a legitimate concern for David to raise.

#31 Comment By Ronit On November 12, 2009 @ 11:34 am

And, speaking of framing exercises, Rhassan Hill is doing pretty much the same thing as David Kane, of course. Both of them are trying to make these events fit a race-based narrative which may have nothing to do with the facts.

I’d be delighted if we could put aside the narrative bullshit for at least a few more days until we know some more facts.

The trick with the race card, of course, is that you don’t want to be the first one to play it. DK jumped the gun, as I pointed out yesterday. Big mistake. Even though Hill is blatantly playing the race card as well, DK loses.

Well done, Rhassan.

#32 Comment By Dick Swart On November 12, 2009 @ 11:34 am

@BrotherSpotless:
An excellent insight into our all-too-human frailties, Brother Spotless. The excuse to bring up the internal demons in an external context. A basic tool of the propagandist.

I am anxious to see attention turned to the Bozos at the befuddled but beloved institutions

http://1956ephs.blogspot.com/2009/11/bozos-love-company.html

#33 Comment By rory On November 12, 2009 @ 11:40 am

@Invisible Mom: an abstract isn’t much of a case in regards to the quality of a dissertation. Nor does an individual ph.d reflect on much beyond that person’s committee, not the institution*. Nor do we know how invested those congresspeople were in the dissertation process. Having extra readers added really doesn’t necessarily affect the dissertation much**.

no one cares about the abstract in terms of passing a ph.d…it’s a bad sign that it’s poorly written, but it isn’t enough to condemn the writer, let alone the entire institution.

*you think anyone outside of my committee is reading my dissertation? not likely!
**especially as i highly doubt a congressperson really added much to the review process of the dissertation. they’re (hopefully) too busy.

#34 Comment By aparent On November 13, 2009 @ 4:22 am

“my integrity as a member of the Williams community”

If I’m not mistaken, aren’t you the same r hill who threatened fellow Williams students with bodily harm on the late, not-great Juicy Campus (in a less than mature, yet publicly conspicuous posting)?

“supposedly mature members of this community,” indeed.

Perhaps the moral example Mr. Moore sets is what you refer to when you cite him as a source of “a substantial portion of our personal [and intellectual] enrichment”?

#35 Comment By ephling On November 13, 2009 @ 7:53 am

Ah to be young and I mean that in a good way. Your loyalty although commendable in some ways, is in this extent case misplaced. Mr. Moore was never what he appeared to you to be. He was cloaked in the credibility of an outstanding institution while espousing causes that are noble and necessary. However he was not what he appeared to be. That is the very nature of fraud and why many view it as such a dastardly crime.

“In Jewish law, the concept of geneivat da’at (גניבת דעת, literally “mind theft”) covers various forms of deception and fraud. One Midrash states that geneivat da’at is the worst type of theft, because it directly harms the person, not merely their money.”

As good a definition as I have seen for fraud and applicable to this situation. You trusted him because he had been placed in a position that engendered your trust and I would guess that as with most people there are many positive things about him. However now that these facts have come to light and are indisputable by his own admission you are imo making a mistake with your support of Mr. Moore. I would be astonished if his political acquaintances rally to his cause. That is not what they do. Watch for them to abandon ship and you however personally repugnant it might seem at this moment should do the same.

#36 Comment By kthomas On November 13, 2009 @ 8:30 am

@ephling: “In Jewish law, the concept of geneivat da’at (גניבת דעת, literally “mind theft”) covers various forms of deception and fraud. One Midrash states that geneivat da’at is the worst type of theft, because it directly harms the person, not merely their money.”

Thank you. That is an example I needed today.

May I respond with another, if personal? Actually two.

.Last night I sat across from a woman, piecing together the events of her life from her reflections. Finally, she told me how her family had– that no one had ever talked about it, because there was such fear– that her grandfather’s papers had been forged to show clearer German descent; that her mother’s skin had been almost as light as hers, her nose, straighter, so.

I wish I could share more of her experience, without compromising her privacy.

..A few years ago I sat next to a woman who was fairly clearly Jewish, on a flight to Charles de Gualle. On approach, she removed her Star of David. I looked at her and said, if you will not, then I will.

I wonder how I would be treated, here, today, wearing that star.

Have we learned nothing, from our experience?

#37 Comment By kthomas On November 13, 2009 @ 8:52 am

Dear Hassan,

Thank you as well for sharing your explanation. I probably disagree with parts of it, or would question it, as much as I would question everyone else here. I hope you will take time, to think why some of your statements may seem overstated and ineffective.

I do not know Mr. Moore, or his character. And the public sphere and its distortions can be withering. But– if I may give a version of the advice I gave to a certain Presidential campaign– you must defend yourself to the world, in terms.

I do not know if you can win, or if your cause is just.

@JeffZ: I believe I was the first to employ the lynching metaphor, with good reason. The “race card” can certainly be and is often played with facile intent.

But in this case, I am genuinely “disturbed” by what I see here. I certainly have some instincts, and preliminary judgments. But I do not know enough, by far, of this tale, to condemn any man– or ask for his job, his income, his security. And certainly the conviction record of a black man in the United States means– well on Monday I talked to a Prime Minister who was in prison, three months before the Wall fell.

I am not judge and jury and I see a lot of pretenders here. From my history in the US South, I know something about lynching. Looking in from the outside, that is what this crowd looks like, and you all frighten me.