Bill Ayers, in his own words

Saturday’s New York Times carried a fascinating Op-Ed by William Ayers, who wisely waited until after the election to speak out, less anything he say be taken completely out of context by McCain/Palin and Fox News.

Here’s the column.

There two passages are particularly interesting:

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 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.

Feel free to chime in about the column.

  1 comment for “Bill Ayers, in his own words

  1. Northcountystorm
    December 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    While there was less to the relationship between Obama and Ayers than was portrayed in the campaign by Team Palin, Dan’s right that its a good thing that this revisionist, self-serving column didn’t come out before the election. God knows the GOP would have had a field day with this.

    “Symbolic acts of extreme vandalism?” Ayers was and is an unrepentant terrorist, pure and simple. He tried to define his way out of being a terrorist but Websters doesn’t create a property-only exception when it describes terror as ” violent or destructive acts(as bombing)committeed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands.”

    Ayers “regrets” include neither a regret nor an apology for the acts of violence he and the Weatherman initiated and which, by the way, did cost lives and injuries as well as considerable expense and fear and emotional distress.

    He may have rehabilitated himself with his higher education work in Chicago but he should never be forgiven for his terroist acts unless he accepts responsibility for his actions, acknowledges his guilt , and apologizes to the people of this country for his conduct, and provides some form of compensation for his misconduct.

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