ayersAs the McCain/Palin ticket saw the liklihood of defeat becoming more a reality, they went to great lengths to deploy fear tactics in turning the tides. Among their weapons of choice was one, William Ayers. Like Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries before them, McPalin sought to challenge Obama’s character and judgement by associating him with Ayers. Ayers, an activist from the 1960’s turned liberal college professor (Uh oh: labels like “activist” and “liberal”?! Quick, hide the kids!), was said to be a “domestic terrorist” and unrepentent monster with whom Obama was “pallin’ around”.  

For the first time in months, that monster has spoken out.

I was over at the Lucky White Girl’s spot where she wrote a great post; essentially echoing most of my sentiments. I never believed for a second that – despite the exaggerative claims from the folks on the right, – Bill Ayers was even remotely close to being the monster they portrayed.  Even in his role as a co-founder of the leftist Weather Underground, Ayers was never accused of (much less charged for) hurting people. At the worst, he was complicit in acts leading to infrastructural damage; and that itself was done soley in protest of a decidedly unjust war. Even if people oppose of his actions – and I strongly do – it is disingenous to put somebody like Ayers in the same category as vicious terrorists like Bin Laden and his crew or organizations like the Klan.

Where Ayers fell short is where most protestors similarly hit walls. As I’ve stated before, the inefficiency of protests lies in the protestor’s inability to truly instigate social change. Radical protesting is even worse. In the case of Ayers and the rest of the Underground, their extremist methods of opposition only contributed to the lunacy which led to the next 40+ years of America’s shift to the right.  Fortunately for President-Elect Obama, GOP scandals and – in particular – George W. Bush’s dismal leadership over the past eight years trumped the ability to use Bill Ayers as a fear incitation. But had this election taken place in a 2004 America, I’m not so sure that would have been the case.  I hope that Ayers and other radicals will one day realize this.

Still, there were other aspects of Ayer’s op-ed that impressed me. I’ve always thought his “association” with Obama should be clarified for those quick to mendaciously label Obama as one of his boys. True, they served together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge organization. But serving on a board together certainly doesn’t make people friends. I mean, I’ve served on a few committees on campus with people with whom I haven’t said two words outside of our meetings. Also worthy of mentioning is that the founder of the organization, William Annenberg, is a Republican along with serveral members of this same board. Finally, it should have been emphasized more during the election season that the board was committed to the organization’s goal of improving the equality of public education in Chicago. Even when improving the quality of poor public schools is vehemently denunciated by the Republican party as being viciously evil, one would be hard pressed to consider that terroristic. I’m just sayin’.

I’m glad that Bill Ayers has finally come out to challenge most of what was veninmously said about hims and Obama during this year’s election. A part of me wishes for Obama’s sake, he said this earlier. But I understand why he waited until now. Either way, it’s done. All that’s left now is to see how effectively his message has been delievered and how well it will be received. Let’s hope he’s more successful today than he was in the 60’s.