I was watching O'Reily Factor Friday evening, and there was yet another segment on Ayers. Bill O'Reily continues to assert that Obama should "throw Ayers under the bus." I got curious and decided to research William Ayers just to see what the fuss was all about.
Initially, I just figured that Ayers was some 60's militant/hippy who was raging against the establishment and a government, that in his view, was not living up to their end of the constitutional bargain in fighting a debacle of a war in Vietnam (uh hum, Iraq anyone?). Ayer's brand of radicalism was not original and was one example in hundreds of global occurrences. In the 1960s, countries around the world underwent political transitions. From Brazil to Prague, groups around the world toppled military and political dictatorships. In the U.S., protests and acts of civil disobedience were the result in significant strides in civil rights and women's rights. Ayer's acts of anarchy and violence are not excusable, but in context, Ayer's "terrorist" past is best left in the past and in no way imply that he is on the same level as Al Qaeda. Islamic radicalism today is far more serious.
Now, many say that William Ayers is a domestic terrorist, hence McCain-Palin's assertion that Sen. Obama "palls around with terrorists (although he is just one person no plural)" and that he "launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist. Now, apparently the fact that Ayer's acts with the Weathermen organization were 40 years ago doesn't matter. Ayers is a university professor and author. He went through a trial process but never served time. Some federal misconduct resulted in the dismissal of his charges. So, he went through the system, and by chance, he lived to tell (and write about it) his story as a free man. This brief synopsis would lead some to leave Ayer's story in the past. Yet, some people want to keep hammering on the point that Sen. Obama should not have been associating with such a person. Some even go so far as to place Ayers in the same category as Al Qaeda. I think the comparison is remote.
Ayers is not current terrorist. And he was not a terrorist when he met Obama. Moreover, Obama served on a board with Ayers and others who have ties to both political parties. Governor Sarah Palin's argument that Obama "would view America as so imperfect to pal around with domestic terrorists" is a grave exaggeration. I think that the McCain Campaign has harped on this point to their own detriment. There is too much information out there today for these same tactics to hold water. America views terrorism through the lens of the WTC bombings on 9/11. Next to that tragic morning, Ayer's acts, 40 years ago, do not carry the same weight. Even more so now that he is an old college professor. Lastly, Ayers has gone on to clarify what he meant when he said that he had no regrets and wished they could have done more. To this point, Ayers has said that he meant they could have done more to try to stop the U.S. war in Vietnam.
Mud-slingging is NOT aristocratic.