William Ayers breaks his silence

Discussion in 'Politics' started by HazelGod, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. HazelGod

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    From the NY Times Op-Ed column...

    In the recently concluded presidential race, I was unwillingly thrust upon the stage and asked to play a role in a profoundly dishonest drama. I refused, and here’s why.

    Unable to challenge the content of Barack Obama’s campaign, his opponents invented a narrative about a young politician who emerged from nowhere, a man of charm, intelligence and skill, but with an exotic background and a strange name. The refrain was a question: “What do we really know about this man?”

    Secondary characters in the narrative included an African-American preacher with a fiery style, a Palestinian scholar and an “unrepentant domestic terrorist.” Linking the candidate with these supposedly shadowy characters, and ferreting out every imagined secret tie and dark affiliation, became big news.

    I was cast in the “unrepentant terrorist” role; I felt at times like the enemy projected onto a large screen in the “Two Minutes Hate” scene from George Orwell’s “1984,” when the faithful gathered in a frenzy of fear and loathing.

    With the mainstream news media and the blogosphere caught in the pre-election excitement, I saw no viable path to a rational discussion. Rather than step clumsily into the sound-bite culture, I turned away whenever the microphones were thrust into my face. I sat it out.

    Now that the election is over, I want to say as plainly as I can that the character invented to serve this drama wasn’t me, not even close. Here are the facts:

    I never killed or injured anyone. I did join the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, and later resisted the draft and was arrested in nonviolent demonstrations. I became a full-time antiwar organizer for Students for a Democratic Society. In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village. The Weather Underground went on to take responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices — the ones at the Pentagon and the United States Capitol were the most notorious — as an illegal and unpopular war consumed the nation.

    The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be — and still is being — debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war.

    Peaceful protests had failed to stop the war. So we issued a screaming response. But it was not terrorism; we were not engaged in a campaign to kill and injure people indiscriminately, spreading fear and suffering for political ends.
    I cannot imagine engaging in actions of that kind today. And for the past 40 years, I’ve been teaching and writing about the unique value and potential of every human life, and the need to realize that potential through education.

    I have regrets, of course — including mistakes of excess and failures of imagination, posturing and posing, inflated and heated rhetoric, blind sectarianism and a lot else. No one can reach my age with their eyes even partly open and not have hundreds of regrets. The responsibility for the risks we posed to others in some of our most extreme actions in those underground years never leaves my thoughts for long.
    The antiwar movement in all its commitment, all its sacrifice and determination, could not stop the violence unleashed against Vietnam. And therein lies cause for real regret.

    We — the broad “we” — wrote letters, marched, talked to young men at induction centers, surrounded the Pentagon and lay down in front of troop trains. Yet we were inadequate to end the killing of three million Vietnamese and almost 60,000 Americans during a 10-year war.

    The dishonesty of the narrative about Mr. Obama during the campaign went a step further with its assumption that if you can place two people in the same room at the same time, or if you can show that they held a conversation, shared a cup of coffee, took the bus downtown together or had any of a thousand other associations, then you have demonstrated that they share ideas, policies, outlook, influences and, especially, responsibility for each other’s behavior. There is a long and sad history of guilt by association in our political culture, and at crucial times we’ve been unable to rise above it.

    President-elect Obama and I sat on a board together; we lived in the same diverse and yet close-knit community; we sometimes passed in the bookstore. We didn’t pal around, and I had nothing to do with his positions. I knew him as well as thousands of others did, and like millions of others, I wish I knew him better.
    Demonization, guilt by association, and the politics of fear did not triumph, not this time. Let’s hope they never will again. And let’s hope we might now assert that in our wildly diverse society, talking and listening to the widest range of people is not a sin, but a virtue.

    William Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of “Fugitive Days” and a co-author of the forthcoming “Race Course.”


     
  2. Qua

    Qua
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    Not a bad article.
     
  3. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    given that mudslinging is as old as the Republic itself , (and at times very heavy handfuls of mud have been slung), a bit on the melodramatic side

    otherwise pretty well-written
     
    #3 B_Nick4444, Dec 6, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
  4. D_Fiona_Farvel

    D_Fiona_Farvel Account Disabled

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    Read it this morning.
    I viewed Ayers within the context of the 60s - a politically tumultuous period that included extreme behavior on all sides. Imo, associating Obama with Ayers was a reach, as his story wasn't all that unique, or, ultimately, interesting enough to be polarizing or hot button worthy. :shrug:
     
  5. houtx48

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    turn on, tune in, drop out................whoops wrong old hippie.. thank god people that can remember that far back are just around the corner from senile.
     
  6. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    How noble a reflection, "an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three.."

    This shithead set off bombs. He was a terrorist. Period.

    Perhaps?

    That's touching, Bill.
     
  7. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Repeated just to reiterate just how completely short-sighted and completely hysterical this statement is. Terrorist apparently equals bombs now. Thanks for the national security lesson. :rolleyes:
     
  8. houtx48

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    the janitors at edward jones a sooooooo high minded.
     
  9. kundalinikat

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    First you should know that these three people he's referring to were those who made the bomb. It killed them in their own 'lab'.

    Each of their bombs was set for the middle of the night. Each time, the Weather Underground called the properties, and in some cases actually alerted police, a half hour beforehand to warn them to evacuate the building of any janitors or staffers or whoever might be there at the late hour.

    Sure it's terrorism, but who were they terrorizing exactly? They targeted the police stations of police who infiltrated and disrupted left-wing political groups - yes, that is actually illegal, I seem to recall something about having rights to assemble, and to publish, and to petition for a redress of grievances - and federal government buildings connected to the Vietnam war.

    I have to give them some respect for avoiding 'civilians' and never causing a death (besides their OWN three). Over a dozen bombs and not one death: not only was it planned that way, it was done well, if I may say so.

    This is not to say that they were not fucking crazy. They could have easily killed many people. For all we know they would have moved on to that, if they hadn't been caught and jailed (William Ayers has already served hard time). But could they have killed, say, a few million dirt-poor Vietnamese and Cambodian subsistence farmers? Now that's a good question...
     
  10. HazelGod

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    My sentiments exactly, VB. Only idiots think in terms of absolutes. :tongue:
     
  11. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    What is the liberal definition, "A politically-inspired, anti-police, explosives expert"

    Whatever floats your boat.
     
  12. marleyisalegend

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    Hmm, nobody's quoting kundalinikat. Guess all that common sense in one post made the right-wingers' heads explode.
     
  13. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    A lesson learned, hopefully, for aspiring terrorists.

    Very thoughtful gesture, indeed.

    So instead of pursuing legal action, it is permissible and defensible to just bomb their buildings? I can't believe I'm reading this.

    Don't you think there may have been more constructive alternatives that bombing buildings? Jezuz.

    It seems like you are really defending Weather Underground. Perplexing.
     
  14. marleyisalegend

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    Nice try, (glad I inspired to you to respond to her), but you didn't really offer anything besides dry commentary and nonsensical questions. It's cute that you tried though, let me see if I can find a "Thanks for participating" ribbon.:biggrin1:
     
  15. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    Thanks, but I'm not inclined to engage into a thoughtful debate with defenders of Weather Underground any more than you would be inclined to engage in thoughtful debate with defenders of skinheads or Al-Queda.
     
  16. marleyisalegend

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    I'm sorry, I don't understand. Lemme put that quote through my Right Wing Tool Translate-o-thon 1925 edition. (The right wingers feel no need to update their technology, they love applying old ideas to modern situations).

    *Enters quote into Translate-o-thon*

    "Yap yap yap yap yap yap yap!"
     
  17. tripod

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    I understand you lumping them together as one, but they are distinctly three separate entities. Nobody denies your patriotism and desire to have a peaceful world free of terrorism. Skinheads are a very violent group, yet have never engaged in terrorism. Tim McVeigh was linked to some white supremacist organizations... but the guys who wear bomber jackets, shave their heads, wear suspenders and Doc Martin boots, believe in white supremacy... yet are more anarchists and thugs than actual terrorists bent on achieving a political goal through violence.

    I grew up with some skinhead friends and those people are hardly what I would call terrorists. Most skinheads have never engaged in violence and just belong to the group for social reasons... some of them don't really get into the propaganda like the kids that I knew back in Chicago (CASH).

    Al Queda is the quintessential terrorist group and is what everyone pictures when they think of the word terrorist. They are the terrorists of Hollywood and our imaginations.

    They have killed fucking THOUSANDS of people and are truly one of the world's evils. Everyone is in agreement there.

    The Weather Underground only hurt it's own members in an accident. They NEVER hurt anybody and killed not one U.S. citizen. You just can absolutely NOT include the three members who were killed when a bomb accidentally went off while they were preparing it as victims of terror. They were willfully engaged in a potentially violent and unlawful activity that turned accidentally fatal.

    The Weather Underground was NOT committing violence in order to achieve a political goal. They WERE damaging private and public property in acts of civil unrest in hopes of influencing a political outcome.

    See, you think that Vietnam was a good thing.

    If you can't see Vietnam for what it was, then you will never understand the lengths that honest citizens went to to try and end the war.

    It all starts with Vietnam man. Right Wingers and center right people will always say, "If only the American people would have let out military do what they had to do, then we would have won the war."

    They blame the hippies for losing Vietnam and that is soooooo damn far from what happened, that I don't even know where to start.
     
  18. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    I'm not lumping them in as one, I was pointing out to Marley that I don't have any desire to get into all-out thought-provoking debate with a previous poster about W.U. any more than he would about groups that he doesn't care for....if it sounded differently in my response I just wrote it poorly.

    I definitely don't think Vietnam was a good thing. But the way W.U. advanced their message, to me, was heinous and terroristic. My opinion, of course.
     
  19. marleyisalegend

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    Oh but if it's about black crime you'll go as far as digging up statistics and go in-depth like the Plaxico and OJ threads.:rolleyes: You're transparent. What's with right-wingers thinking they can hide behind birch trees? Atleast find yourself a nice sequoia to hide behind.

    I haven't seen the Ayers tape but it's clear that he's being used as a guilty-by-association style execution of Obama's reputation. I bet Obama's even teaching his little girls to hate Whitey.:rolleyes:
     
    #19 marleyisalegend, Dec 8, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  20. tripod

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    Man, your opinion is shared by most all people. We might have agreed with the Weather Underground's politics, but are against the destruction of public or private property.

    Their civil unrest actually worked against the peace movement so I am not quite sure just what they accomplished while accidentally killing three of their friends in the process.

    You being turned off by the way that they advanced their message was only logical.
     
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