Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Where Are They Now?Terrorists are people too.
Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground
THE LEGACY OF NED (CONT). The InstaPundit has a link today to a lefty apologist who praises the Chicago Sun-Times for this bit of editorial wisdom:
Clearing up another empty shot at Obama
March 3, 2008
And now, by our count, we have Phony Flap Number 6,537,203: Barack Obama Consorts With Known American Terrorist!
Conservative talk radio hosts are in a dither over the non-news that Obama is "friendly" with a fellow named William Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Thirty-five years ago, it seems, Ayers ran with the Weather Underground, a guerrilla band of deluded "revolutionaries" who protested the Vietnam War, racial injustice and "The Man" by setting off bombs.
We know the nation's press can't be entirely familiar with Ayers, who is pretty much a Chicago boy, so allow us to fill you in.
Ayers was, indeed, a Weatherman. He bombed the U.S. Capitol, a bathroom in the Pentagon, and even cased out the White House.
He went on the lam in the 1970s, lived under an assumed name with his radical wife, Bernardine Dohrn, and gave himself up in 1980. Since then, he has built a respectable career as an academic and an advocate for troubled children.... His 1997 book, A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court, has been praised for exposing how Cook County's juvenile justice system all but eliminates a child's chance for redemption...
Is Barack Obama consorting with a radical? Hardly.
Ayers is nothing more than an aging lefty with a foolish past who is doing good. And while, yes, Obama is friendly with Ayers, it appears to be only in the way of two community activists whose circles overlap.
Time to move on to Phony Flap 6,537,204.
Maybe not completely time. Phony Flap No. 6,537,203 still offers a few crumbs of interest. To me, anyway. The nicest touch in the whole piece -- apart from the generally superior, dismissive tone -- was the assumptive close on the assertion that "the nation's press can't be entirely familiar with Ayers." He's a nonentity, you see, a mere "Chicago boy," who got into a spot of trouble a long time ago. Well, if the nation's press doesn't have its head stuffed "entirely" up its ass, it should be familiar with Ayers. He was a genuine terrorist, with very real blood on his hands. Without some bad luck for the Weathermen (that's good luck to you and me), he'd have been an accomplice in the greatest attack on America's home soil since Pearl Harbor. In 1970. Does that ring any faint bells?
Perhaps we're not as beatifically ignorant as the nation's press, but we thought it significant when Ayers popped his head up to discuss his Weatherman career in April 2004. That's why we posted this:
If you missed it, look for another opportunity to see the documentary Weather Underground shown last night on PBS. It was interesting and illuminating.... The more repellent excesses of the radical era were glossed over, in particular the criminal machinations of the Black Panthers, and the propaganda of the time was visually condoned with all the most extreme footage ever filmed of the Vietnam War, including vivid images of the My Lai massacre... and we [also] got a film reenactment of the New York townhouse explosion that took the lives of three Weatherman bomb makers. Worse, it seemed we were being asked to feel sorrow for their deaths, which occurred while they were planning to kill hundreds of U.S. Army soldiers and their dates at a Fort Dix dance.
What redeemed the documentary were some of the interviews with former members of the Weather Underground, all of whom eventually turned themselves in after nearly a decade of political bombings... The only really condemning voice we hear is that of Todd Gitlin, himself a former leader of the infamous SDS, who nevertheless was shocked and disgusted when the Weatherman "hijacked" the SDS and transformed it into a vehicle for political terrorism.
But we do hear voices of regret and even shame. Oddly, there seems an almost complete schism between the perspectives of the two sexes of Weathermen. The women, including the once fiery spokesperson Bernadine Dohrn, seem sorry that the Weather Underground failed to make any real difference. Yet they remain politically active, principally in feminist and environmental causes, and they seem to yearn for a return of the heady days of revolution. Naomi Jaffe and Laura Whitehorn both said on camera that they would do it all again. The men were a different story, with the possible exception of Bill Ayers, who is married to Bernadine Dohrn and and didn't speak with the same depth of emotion as the others... Brian Flanagan and Mark Rudd... appear to look at the defining events of their lives with a kind of shocked puzzlement. They use terms like "crazed," "kind of crazy," and "overwhelmed by the war" as they grope for explanations of their actions. Flanagan makes open comparisons between their state of mind and that of the 9/11 terrorists. "When you believe you have right on your side, you can do terrible things," he says. Mark Rudd is candid about his own anguish. "I feel shame and guilt," he confesses. "We were full of hatred. I clung to my hatred."
The documentary ends with a surprising
snippet of Brian Flanagan, who
now owns a bar in New York City, appearing as a contestant on Jeopardy.
He won $21,000. Some of the others are doing well for themselves, too,
by the look of it. Bill Ayers is a
university professor (of course),
and his wife Bernadine Dohrn is a lecturer at Northwestern University
School. Mark Rudd teaches math at a community college in New
Mexico. [emphases added.]
A foolish past? Oh. Is that what we're hearing from Brian Flanagan and Mark Rudd, that they were just being foolish, and everything's better now that they're "doing good" again?
I don't think the implied redemption the Sun-Times is conferring comes from doing good. I think it comes from being successful, an accomplishment in which there has been loads of mass media collusion, all for the purpose of burying a whole army of embarrassing skeletons that could otherwise be unearthed among the "aging lefties" who now control the mass media, the nation's colleges and universities, and numerous fiefdoms of government, business, politics, the arts, and science. For example, Instapunk was also paying attention when Ayers's wife Bernadine Dohrn crept out from under her rock back into the limelight to do her part in the 2004 election:
Now it turns out that she's giving speeches on college campuses again, most recently at Northern Illinois University. The campus newspaper, ironically named The Northern Star (does anyone else remember the wartime Hollywood movie North Star, which glamorized Stalin's Russia?), ran a cordial feature story about her visit...
The article didn't contain a single reference to the Weatherman bombings. Note Dohrn's use of the words "educating" and "taught," as if she and her brethren spent the 70s holding wine and cheese seminars about the verities of life. Students at Northern Illinois could no doubt come away from the whole proceeding and its coverage believing that Ms. Dohrn is a mild-mannered heroine of the antiwar movement who is now contributing her time-honored wisdom to the current situation in Iraq.
The warning note I sounded then still holds true, I believe:
Our most powerful academics and scholars seem intent on transmuting violent felons into luminaries, murderous tyrants into misunderstood idealists, patriots into fascists, U.S. history into a criminal indictment, and, perhaps, Islamist barbarians into the nemesis of American democracy
But according to the Sun-Times, it's all cool. We're not supposed to remember Obama's middle name, although show me anyone else in public life who can get away with turning his own middle name into a banished term of hate speech. Okay. We're not supposed to get agitated about Obama's long relationship with this indicted Rezko character, whose connections go deep into the quasi-espionage world of Syrian and Saudi influence buyers. Okay. We're not supposed to feel any tingles of suspicion about the fact that Obama's mother was a committed Marxist, who remains largely unknown because her son preferred writing books about the father who deserted him rather than the mother who raised him, educated him, and groomed him for power. Okay. And we're not supposed to feel any qualms whatsoever about the fact that Obama had an apparently cordial relationship with a Chicago community activist who also, quite coincidentally, was a confessed terrorist who bombed the U.S. Capitol. Okay again.
Even so. Are any of you out there willing to slip for just a moment behind the curtain? Let's say you happened to meet a man who had spent more than a decade actively plotting the overthrow of the U.S. government and had, in furtherance of that cause, participated in acts that either intended the death of innocents or resulted in the violent deaths of his fellow conspirators. Would you want to go so far as to shake hands with him, smile at him, agree to call each other by first (no, not middle) names, affect even a superficial kind of businesslike bonhomie? Think about it. Upon learning who this man was and what he had done, mightn't you have felt a sick lurch in your stomach and a quick, clear conviction that though God might forgive a man such sins, you simply don't want to, can't bring yourself to, associate with him yourself?
Phony flap? Okay. Have it your way. But I have no compunction about showing my own intolerance about certain things. I don't like Bill Ayers. I don't like people who like Bill Ayers. And I'm not at all friendly to people who are willing to apologize for him, either.
So who's the morally corrupt screwball here? Me? Or the Sun-Times? How do you really feel about their golden boy? And while we're posing quiz questions, who do you think is the lady being asked to lay across that big brass bed?