At some universities, this would qualify a professor for tenure!
The St. Olaf (Northfield, Minn.) professor who, in a well-read Huffington Post item, recounted tearing down McCain campaign signs has resigned.
Per the Northfield News, it appears that Philip Busse was forced out.
St. Olaf spokesman David Gonnerman issued the following statement Monday afternoon:
“The St. Olaf College administration first learned of Phil Busse’s self-admitted theft and destruction of campaign signs on the morning of Oct. 31 as a result of his posting on the Internet.
“The St. Olaf administration immediately referred the matter to local law enforcement authorities and commenced an investigation of its own.
“Mr. Busse has tendered his resignation and is no longer affiliated with St. Olaf College.
Busse has been charged with misdemeanor theft.
Here’s a link to the original Huffington Post article. Some excerpts:
By early October, however, there were no McCain-Palin campaign signs on the eastbound stretch of Highway 19. It wasn’t because loyalties had switched, but because I pulled them out.
Sure, I understand that stealing a sign will not change anyone’s mind, and, most likely, will only embolden McCain supporters’ disdain for liberals. Even so, yanking out the signs and running like a scared rabbit back to my idling car was one of the single-most exhilarating and empowering political acts that I have ever done.
Today, national politics amounts to slick TV ads and choreographed stump speeches. A vote often feels like a raindrop in an ocean. But this illicit act of civil disobedience was something visceral. It was unscripted and raw expression. It was a chance to stop talking about theories and projections and get my hands dirty. Of course, I realized there was the very real chance my antics in rural Minnesota would be met with a shotgun, or at least a hockey dad tackling me.
But unlike stealing a lawn gnome or a plastic pink flamingo, I admit, stealing a lawn sign is a more heinous crime. There is moral and ethical guilt. I believe in free speech, and also believe and encourage political expression. I guess I could argue that I was flexing my free expression to say “shut up.” But that would put me at the same low-level of political discourse as Bill O’Reilly, who consistently steamrolls over anyone who disagrees with him. If I need to justify my actions, I could argue that I was trying to achieve some great public service for rural voters. In his 2004 book, What’s The Matter With Kansas, Frank Rich explains that working class and family farmers, like these in Minnesota, increasingly vote conservative and against their own interests. By pulling out the McCain signs, I was hoping to curb the impression for passing motorists that family farmers in Minnesota supported McCain. Or, at least that’s the most high-minded explanation that I can offer.
Mature? No. Illegal? Yes. Satisfying? Definitely.
Well, that’s at least one honest Obama supporter!