I am glad he is getting a chance to do so. You can agree or disagree with actions of the Weather Underground years ago, but for years now William Ayers has been an education advocate and beloved professor to many.
I hated the guilt by association game played, using Ayres, and also the smearing of all he has accomplished.
Since I am also someone who can be smeared the same way, I was particularly upset by all the McCarthyesque furor in the media, whipped up by the right.
His article:What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been can be read in full in In These Times.
For the past few years, I have gone about my business, hanging out with my kids and, now, my grandchildren, taking care of our elders (they moved in as the kids moved out), going to work, teaching and writing. And every day, I participate in the never-ending effort to build a powerful and irresistible movement for peace and social justice.
He points out that the first move to use him against Barack was by HRC:
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) campaign provided the script, which included guilt by association, demonization of people Obama knew (or might have known), creepy questions about his background and dark hints about hidden secrets yet to be uncovered.
This was of course followed up on by McCain, which he discussses, and he then talks of what his life was like after Sarah Palin began the "terrorist" rants:
My voicemail filled up with hate messages. They were mostly from men, all venting and sweating and breathing heavily. A few threats: "Watch out!" and "You deserve to be shot." And some e-mails, like this one I got from firstname.lastname@example.org: "I’m coming to get you and when I do, I’ll water-board you."
The police lieutenant who came to copy down those threats deadpanned that he hoped the guy who was going to shoot me got there before the guy who was going to water-board me, since it would be most foul to be tortured and then shot. (We have been pals ever since he was first assigned to investigate threats made against me in 1987, after I was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.)
Bill makes an important point, which goes to the foundation of our democracy:
In a robust and sophisticated democracy, political leaders—and all of us—ought to seek ways to talk with many people who hold dissenting, or even radical, ideas. Lacking that simple and yet essential capacity to question authority, we might still be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings today.
Please go give it a read.
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