Enough already with all the lynching talk.
Unless someone sat you on a horse, put one end of a rope around your neck and the other end around a strong tree branch and made the horse leave without you, you have no authority to say you have been lynched.
The very word dredges up one of the ugliest moments in our history when black men — and women — were hanged by white authorities to intimidate citizens who only wanted to vote, run businesses and own their own land.
So when I hear elected officials like Andy King and Donald Trump — yes, they’re both in the same sentence — use the word to describe their self-created political consequences, it makes me want to lock them in a room together and force them to watch the movie “Rosewood.”
King, a Bronx city councilman — and a black man who should know better — invoked the loaded term in response to an ethics recommendation that he be suspended and fined for allegedly using council resources for a Virgin Islands retreat, and for enabling his wife, Neva Shillingford-King — executive vice president of the 1199 SEIU union — to use his office for union work.
The probe also substantiated allegations that he forced out three staffers for cooperating with investigators, and made homophobic remarks.
“This process has been flawed and manipulated,” King wrote in a text to his council colleagues.
He complained that “a campaign has been out to lynch me.”
King must have taken his hyperbole pills before writing the text. He also called the ethics probe an “assassination,” the biggest misuse of the word since singer R. Kelly sat down with Gayle King.
But that’s another story.
The councilman’s defense dramatics came a week after President Trump used the “L” word to complain about a Democratic impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” Trump tweeted last week. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!”
King and Trump aren’t the first to take their victimhood to such extremes. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas famously called his confirmation “a high-tech lynching.” And Biden, a Democratic presidential frontrunner, recently apologized for saying in October 1998 that the impeachment of President Bill Clinton could be seen as “partisan lynching.”
There were at least 4,743 lynchings in the United States between 1882 and 1968, according to the NAACP, and about 75 percent of those victims were black.
Saying you’ve been lynched is like working long hours and calling yourself a slave.
Go back to calling it a “witch hunt.” At least until Halloween is over.
Leonard Greene is a reporter and columnist at the New York Daily News.