The talk was poorly attended. Perhaps four people were in the audience. Before speaking Ms. McKinney approached me and I introduced myself as a professor at the college. I also spoke with her for a few more minutes after her prepared comments.
Ms. McKinney is friendly and polite in person. Upon my introduction, she mentioned that her "dream" was to become a college professor. When I inquired as to her training and qualifications - perhaps in the law - it seemed as though her lack of professional credentials in such areas were a disappointment to her. She asked if she could put me on her e-mailing list, so I gave her my business card and thanked her for visiting. Talking with her in such a cordial yet intimate fashion was interesting - particularly in my case, as a blogger who routinely exposes and repudiates the radical politics for which Ms. McKinney advocates.
She had prepared comments on her recent ill-fated "humanitarian" mission to Gaza during Israel's December campaign against Palestinian rocket attacks. The best report on this is from Israel Matzav, "Moonbat McKinney's Boat Turned Back by Israeli Navy."
In Ms. McKinney's recounting, the boat on which she was travelling was being pursued by Israeli gunships. The Israeli navy had allegedly harassed her boat with menacing search lights, in a belligerent cat-and-mouse fashion, and then finally surrounded her vessel. Ms. McKinney claimed to have been rammed by one of the Israeli ships: "I think they were trying to kill us ... that's the only explanation" for being hit, she said. Ms. McKinney went on to explain how harrowing was the experience, as she "can't swim" and was wearing "no life jacket."
She mentioned that two lawsuits were currently in preparation, one by the Free Gaza Movement, who had sponsored the humanitarian mission, and the other by the "Malaysia Peace Organization." According to Free Gaza, " The movement organizers are pursuing legal actions against the government of Israel for piracy on the high seas as well as damages to the boat. Estimates range from 100 to 150 thousand euros and will take five months to repair."
Yet, for all of this, Ms. McKinney appeared as something of a wastrel of the social justice movement. Perhaps due to sparse attendence and no media, Ms. McKinney's discussion came off as the hopeless wimperings of a preposterous victim. This was not what I expected from one who is otherwise reputed as a morally righteous freedom fighter in the international peace movement. There was, for example, nothing approaching the fire-breathing manifesto seen in the video above, which features Ms. McKinney's speech to the Re-Create '68 rally outside at Democratic convention last August. As well, she did not say, as she had in December 2008, that "What I am recommending is the creation of a political movement inside my country that will constitute a surgical strike for global justice." No, the former presidential candidate appeared much like a spent nuclear rod, highly radioactive but small in volume.
Ms. McKinney said she had no immediate plans to run for public office. She did indicate that she'll continue her networking within the social justice movement. And with that I wished her well and said goodbye.