Monday, October 13, 2008

On Obama, William Ayers & Bernadine Dorn, And Nonsense

It's really simple, folks. Sarah Palin (in particular) has called William Ayers a "terrorist" with whom Barack Obama "pals around". Ayres, and his wife Bernadine Dorn, were both members of the Weather Underground, a radical splinter group from the Students For a Democratic Society (SDS) back in the late-1960's (which only shows that conservatives are now showing their true colors and are just mad that liberals had the better arguments during the Vietnam era). I will put the following in quotes, big and old and italicized so that you can be clear on a simple, factual point:

To call him a "terrorist" is to stretch the word beyond all recognition. Is it true that he supported violent means to stop the Vietnam War? Sure. Is it true he was a member of a group dedicated to using violent means to stop the Vietnam War? Yes, it is, although there is no evidence that he was ever involved in any of the bombings the Weathermen actually undertook (most famously dropping one in a trash can in a men's bathroom in the Capitol). Bernadine Dorn was convicted on a conspiracy charge, unrelated to any of the groups more notorious activities, for which she received probation. Since that time, Ayres and Dorn have become not only model citizens, but active participants in bettering education for under-privileged inner-city children. They adopted the orphaned daughter of one of their friends (a Weather member killed when their bomb-making factory blew up in New York City). They, along with Barack Obama and others sit on a panel funded by the trust of ultra-right wing publisher Walter Annenberg, who also funded another notorious terrorist, Ronald Reagan.

Obama and Ayres are acquaintances, two well-respected Chicago citizens who have dedicated their lives to public service, after each had a shaky youth and young adulthood.

Does Ayres fell bad about the things his associates did? I have no idea and couldn't care less. It was a long time ago, and he has demonstrated a solid commitment to making Chicago, of all cities, a better place to live for African-Americans and others who have been historically left out of that city.

Now, I realize that facts are of little interest and less value in political discussions. But, I think these facts are important. More important than Ayres' and Dorn's past actions, for which Barack Obama bears no responsibility, is the fact that the current "relationship" between Obama and Ayres consists of them sitting together on a board. Period. End of story.

In a sane universe this wouldn't even be an issue.

Virtual Tin Cup

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