No endorsement of ill-advised joke

Editor’s note: The following is in response to “Editorial: And the Good Ol’ Boys Club wins again,” by Senior Assistant Editor Brandon Reid, from the June 4-10, 2014, issue.

In regards to our vote to retain Jim Thompson as the Winnebago County Republican chairman, it was in no way a “rubber stamp” nor an endorsement of his ill-advised joke. Our members, male and female, young and old, universally condemned his joke.

Mr. Thompson paid a heavy price and continues to do so; we voted to affirm our commitment to free and open speech, inclusiveness and equal treatment to all.

To vote otherwise would be to admit racism when the joke was a comment on the uncritical nature of the news media. Far from “cowardly,” to expel Chairman Thompson would have been the much easier choice for all, especially for him. I have heard no one use the kindergarten excuse “Well, he did it first” that you asserted; would you provide a reference?

As you quote former President Lincoln, who proclaimed that “All MEN are created equal,” Thompson agreed and believed he would be able to freely criticize the current president. His error was in thinking that we have come beyond race that he could tell such a joke that was political in nature without such a backlash. I am sure he won’t make that mistake again.

William Lee
Rockton, Ill.

From the June 18-24, 2014, issue

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