In October 5th’s late edition of the New York Times, there appeared an article by Michael Cooper, in the Politics section, titled “Palin, on Offense, Attacks Obama’s Ties to ‘60s Radical.” I wouldn’t so much call it an attack as an exaggerated and misquoted insinuation. The article itself left much to be desired with respect to detail, but with some digging on my part and some extensive research using my mobile phone’s internet access I’ve manage to put together a fairly solid opinion of Mrs. Palin’s rehearsed and poorly-informed interpretation of the facts.
Saturday morning Mrs. Palin held and attended a private fundraiser at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado. The other attendees were all contributors to the campaign, and to the Republican Party. The fundraiser was called the “McCain-Palin Victory 2008 Breakfast.” Breakfast itself cost $1000 a head, with a $2500 donation yielding both breakfast, and a photo op with Mrs. Palin. Half an hour before the official breakfast began, a “VIP Coffee” was served at $25,000 a head. I was sadly unable to find a record of how many persons attended, or how much the campaign had made on said fundraiser.
In case you haven’t noticed/have been hibernating under a rock for the past few weeks, America’s economy is tanking. So it’s not as if there are large numbers of people who can give up that much money to take a photo with Mrs. Palin. Therefore, one must assume that the attendees of this function were of a certain class, and of a certain mindset. That being said, since the economy is tanking and much of America has realized that John McCain might not be the right person to right it for us, McCain’s campaign has decided to switch strategies. They’ve given up on proving why America should choose John McCain and are instead focusing the entirety of their concerted efforts and television funds on why not to choose Barack Obama. Instead of proving McCain’s worth, McCain is digging into the very depths of allegory and happenstance to prove that Obama is a terrible choice for America. They would rather “distract you with smears...than talk to you about substance,” as Obama defended.
This is the right time to be making such attempts on the proverbial life of Obama’s campaign. As we close in on the final 4 weeks prior to Election Day on November 4, it’s no longer about finding a proactive reason to be chosen while passively suggesting that the opponent is wrong, but about actively coloring the opponent’s every move. It’s time to simply prove that you’re the lesser of two evils. In response to these attacks on Obama’s history and character, the Democratic campaign has also altered certain aspects of their strategy.
Friday afternoon, an article appeared in the New York Times that revealed certain ties that presidential hopeful Barack Obama has to “domestic terrorist” Bill Ayers. Someone must have slipped a copy of the article to Mrs. Palin because she was almost too prepared. In what seems like a jab at her previously aloof answers during an interview with Katie Couric, Palin suggested that she had read her copy of The New York Times of her own volition. By recalling the article, of course, Mrs. Palin ensured that she would be recorded in the Times later that day. October 5th’s article, after reminding the reader of the ties that have been uncovered by the earlier piece quotes Mrs. Palin as rendering the characters in question as an unpatriotic American.
She says that Ayers and Obama do not see America as she and the rich contributors see it. She suggests that her opponent sees America as something other than the “greatest force for good in this world.” They see it as “imperfect,” she says. I have a feeling, partly based on a fragmented run-on dependent clause that she was also quoted as using, that Mrs. Palin doesn’t truly understand the difference between seeing America as a force for good and seeing America as perfect. If one sees America as perfect, then there’s no room for growth. If one sees one’s country as perfect, as a “beacon of light” (as she said in that non-sentence), then one does not search for other beacons. Seeing America as “imperfect” means humility, and it’s the best compliment she could have given Barack Obama.
As she goes on, in her speech, she attempts to draw a parallel between Ayers’ role in the bomb plots of the late 60s with Joe Biden’s discussion on Good Morning America about being patriotic by paying more taxes. To be specific, she says “Wow. These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes.” First off, this is a misquote. That’s not what Biden said. What VP nominee Biden said was that we need to “get America out of the rut” and the quickest, most efficient way to do that, is to have the wealthy pay more taxes so as to put money back into the middle and lower classes of America, thereby saving us from ourselves. Obviously, Mrs. Palin (or, at least, her advisors)knew her audience. She targeted key words without the key message, and was able to scare them. She also attempted to suggest that Ayers believes in this. I did some digging on Ayers and was astonished, really, at what I found considering I knew nothing about Weathermen or their actions.
The Weathermen was originally part of the Revolutionary Youth Movement, which began on college campuses around the country. Parallelled with the 1968 Student revolts in France, Mexico City (and some other timely international revolutions), the movement was anti-US imperialism and pro-classlessness. They were communists with a small “c.” For the Weathermen’s part, they were against the international wartime bombings that the US was participating in. While the US dropped bombs in Vietnam, the Weathermen planned bombings of US Property at home. And while the US government focused on highly concentrated locales, the Weathermen bombed buildings that were closed down and empty for the night. They never wanted to hurt anyone, they simply wanted to send a message.
The FBI labeled them as domestic terrorists even though they never terrorized. By holding them under the umbrella of terrorism, it puts them and their colleagues on the same level with the 9/11 terrorists and the Unibomber…events that are very very different from the political actions of this anti-violence movement. The group split into 2 factions in the early 1970s. The part that Bill Ayers sided with was the Prairie Fire Collective, which favored the idea of the members of the group coming out of hiding and facing the charges leveled against them. This is contrary to the beliefs of the other faction, which continued to participate in an angry radical discourse with the US government.
Ayers came out of hiding in 1980 and was uncharged. His wife also came out at that time and ended up with 3 years probation, I believe. Ayers and his wife raised 3 children- 2 of their own, and 1—the child of two other members who, by the early 70s, were already imprisoned. Bill Ayers is now a professor of Education in Chicago, where he has worked for Education Reform for many many years. He’s worked with both Barack Obama, and Richard Daley. Much of his work has been for the Woods Fund of Chicago—an anti-poverty philanthropic foundation. Obama worked with Ayers on a campaign project for smaller schools. And, yes, Obama’s early political campaigning began with a party held in Ayers’ living room.
And so what?
If anything, Ayers’ recent work has shown how mainstream he is compared to the dysfunctional and corrupt political structure in Chicago. Why shouldn’t Obama be associated with Bill Ayers? Because he was once upon a time a motivator for peace, for anti-corruption, for humility? Sure. Anyone who shows any side of them not in-line with the current administration must be stopped, right? The constitution gives us freedom of speech. It’s an extreme version of speech, but that’s what the bombings in 1969 and 1970 were. They were a group exercising their right to be offended by America’s actions in Vietnam. Ayers has said that he is and was “embarrassed by the arrogance, the solipsism, the absolute certainty that we and we alone know the way. The rigidity and the narcissism.” Well, so am I.
And when Governor Palin says that she is a different kind of American than Obama, or when, regardless of her position on women’s issues, etc., she says that America is the best force for good in the world and that imperfection is not an option, it causes me to stop and wonder: which America does she think she’s living in? An who should really be in charge: an administration that sees the errors and mistakes and problems and attempts to fix them, or an administration which sees America as the height of good, right, piety and superiority regardless of the failures in judgement we’ve had? I think, given the current state of the nation and the error of America’s way, the answer should be pretty obvious. No country that sees itself as the light at the end of the tunnel for the rest of the world should be allowed to continue thinking as such. Revolutions happen for a reason. Let’s hope that the Obama/Biden administration helps to cure the ills of America’s haughty pride.
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