Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why Ayers Matters

Q. How is Obama like Osama?

A. They both know someone who bombed the Pentagon.

That joke has been circulating the Internet and it is unfair, but there is some truth to it. Ayers matters. If John McCain was palling around with someone who bombed abortion clinics 30 years ago and never felt any repentance, it would be front page news.

What annoys me most about Ayers is that he was a child of privilege who attacked the very system that gave him everything. One he faced jail for life, fell back on that privilege and the fact that the FBI made errors in building a case against him. Ayers should be sharing a cell with the Unabomber, not teaching (what exactly radicalism?) at a university.

I can understand the anger of the black militants of the 1960s. Blacks were treated as second class citizens and subject to harsh disabilities under the power of the Jim Crow laws. So I can understand why they viewed the “system” as corrupt. But Ayers and his ilk were simply spoiled children trying to get back at daddy for leaving them with the nanny while boinking the babysitter.

My parents grew up in poverty that I could never imagine. As Catholics, they were treated as second class citizens until after WWII, when the threat of communism became a bigger threat than the Pope. The country of their parents (Italy) has declared war on the United States. Yet they never threw bombs but worked damn hard to better themselves, their family and in that way, their country.

Ayers matters because he never regretted his life and it really raises the issue of Obama’s judgment. Obama has surrounded himself with some questionable people over the years. Where they people he used to further his activities and career or did Obama truly believe as his friends believe? Back in college I had am acquaintance who started associating with Operation Rescue types. I tried talking him out of it -- to me, Operation Rescue tended to shade off to a radical fringe that were terrorists. After he told me that he had lunch with Randall Terry, I broke off our friendship. And as far as I know, this person never threw a bomb or directly associated with anyone who threw a bomb.

Ayers matters because it sheds some light perhaps on what Obama truly believes. Despite his voting record, he is trying now (successfully) to publicly recast himself as a moderate. If elected, and with large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, would Obama govern from the center or the left? And if from the left, how far left?

Ayers matters as it opens a window on Obama.


Anonymous said...

I think you should read more about the Weathermen organization in historical context... they were protesting US military destruction in Vietnam, SE Asia and elsewhere. Pentagon bomb "in retaliation for the US bombing raid in Hanoi." ... "They must either fight on the side of the oppressed, or be on the side of the oppressor"... his views since 2001 "I think what we did was to respond to a situation that was unconscionable".

So, while I in no way approve of their violent actions, they never harmed anyone (but themselves, unlike the Unabomber) and bombed some federal property in response to government bombing abroad which killed many innocents. They fought the govt, in response to atrocities the govt was committing, so whose on the side of 'justice'? The only question is, if you were in their shoes (or in Germany/Japan/Italy during WWII, our own Revolutionary War, etc) and your govt was committing atrocities... what would you do? Vote? Rally? It's a tough call to some, is that enough?

Basically, as you analogized, I'd see the justification similar to abortion clinic bombings (that didn't hurt anyone). Still, not acceptable, but unfortunately neither is the status quo and doing nothing to some.

Rodak said...

Anonymous has it exactly right.
Conservatives cannot comprehend that a person might commit an act ON BEHALF OF SOMEONE ELSE (that's why they are conservatives), so they cannot comprehend what the '60s radicals were about.