Thursday, October 16, 2008

Looking at the source...

It's been interesting to hear McCain and Palin go after Obama for his 'association' with Bill Ayers. There seems to be a constant back and forth about how much Obama associated with  "terrorist" Ayers.

The answer seems to be that he had very little to do with Ayers. Not that this fact will stop the more excitable members of the conservative base from frothing about the 'sekrit muzlim and his terrist buddies'.

But who is Bill Ayers? It's off to wikipedia! Go there now and learn.

While the accuracy and neutrality of wikipedia  is sometimes called into question I learned a lot about this fascinating man that I didn't previously know (and that isn't even mentioned in the media).

What  strikes me is that Ayers has always had, and still has a strong drive to provide quality education. He is a teacher. In the 60's he was motivated by his conscience to  do something about the Vietnam War. Part of that action was planting bombs.  His girlfriend was killed in a bomb making accident.  He considered himself a "little c communist" but insisted that he wasn't a terrorist: 

. "The reason we weren't terrorists is because we did not commit random acts of terror against people. Terrorism was what was being practiced in the countryside of Vietnam by the United States."

I'm not sure I would give him a total pass on the terrorism charge. Bombs cause fear, even when they don't specifically target people directly. The IRA would plant bombs and then call the police so they could clear and area, but they are generally agreed to be a terrorist group.  What Ayers did was take his struggle to stop an illegal, unjust and brutal war too far. He did some stupid shit.  Pundits and spinmiesters today are 'quoting' Ayers saying "wishes he could have bombed more" though it seems pretty clear that what he actually said was that 'we' (meaning all Americans) could have done more to try and stop the Vietnam War. 

Like many people in the world Ayers has contrasting elements. He is not a caricature. I urge you to do a little reading on the matter. As always there are layers. Things are not quite black and white. 

What seems pretty clear is that Obama is no protege' of Ayers. They aren't pals. They share no political agenda. But if we're going to start judging people by the company they keep, I would look at the people a certain 72 year old politician pals around with; starting with a guy who lied to get the war he wanted, allowed prisoners to be tortured in secret prisons, engaged in warrantless wiretaps, attempted to suspend habeus corpus,  presided over the biggest increase in government and the worst financial disaster on the past 70 years. 

THAT'S the kind of guy you should be distancing yourself from. Too bad he was your president.

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