A lot of people who read this blog were not around, or not paying attention to the news in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when Bill Ayers was doing his thing. But the McCain campaign is trying to paint Obama with the same brush they paint Ayers with. So I thought I would put a few facts out there.
Ayers was a member of the 60’s radical group the Weather Underground, or the Weathermen, a group that bombed public buildings to protest the war in Southeast Asia.
The Weathermen got their name from the lyrics to a Bob Dylan song, Subterranean Homesick Blues. Admit it, this brings back memories.
While Ayers has admitted to the acts for which he is accused, he was never convicted for any of them.
Much of what Ayers has said in recent years has been taken out of context. In 2001 after the 9/11 attacks he wrote a letter to the Chicago Tribune, in which he wrote, "I condemn all forms of terrorism — individual, group and official...Today we are witnessing crimes against humanity on our own shores on an unthinkable scale, and I fear that we may soon see more innocent people in other parts of the world dying in response.”
Yet people still try to portray him as a terrorist. They disregard that he is now a Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, or that he had worked extensively for social justice and educational reform. In 1997 he was awarded the Citizen of the Year Award by the city of Chicago.
Ayers was one of the three co-authors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge grant proposal in 1995 that won almost $50 million for school reform. Barack Obama was named to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Project Board of Directors to oversee grants in the Chicago area. In addition both Ayers and Obama served on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty group between 2000 and 2002. The Woods Fund of Chicago is an offshoot of the Woods Charitable Fund. Ayers is still on the board.
This is hardly an association that should reflect on Obama. Even William C. Ibershof, the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen Underground case thinks not. He wrote, in the New York Times on October 9, 2008, "I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child. Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.”
But if you really want to bring up guilt by association, consider this clip:
MCCAIN SPOKESPERSON PFOTENHAUER: The article also concluded is that if Senator McCain had hung out with somebody who had bombed abortion clinics, no one would consider [raising the issue] illegitimate.
Enter Marylin Shannon. Shannon was a McCain delegate to the Republican Convention, from Oregon, who praised a woman convicted of attempted murder of an abortion clinic doctor.
From Raw Story:
McCain and Shannon appeared together at a fundraiser for the Oregon Citizens Alliance in 1993, a gathering of Christian right extremists that even fellow Republicans advised McCain not to attend because the group was so far outside the mainstream.
Speaking before McCain, Shannon offered some kind words for Shelley Shannon, who was accused and later convicted of shooting an abortion doctor: "I'm not related to Shelly Shannon, but I think she's a fine lady," the vice chairwoman of the state Republican Party said. McCain apparently said nothing to contradict that judgment, and less than three months later he voted against a bill that would make abortion clinic bombings a federal crime.
So McCain not only "pals" around with terrorist's buddies, he endorses domestic terrorism by practically condoning bombing abortion clinics. OK, that may be a stretch (although McCain's vote was wrong), wait, it's not a stretch. McCain is siding with those who promote violence against doctors. Read the Raw Story link.
Anyway, the point is, this type of guilt by association reeks of McCarthyism. Don't we ever learn?