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So, where the heck is Bill Ayers?

October 9th, 2008 · No Comments

All of this finger-pointing and fear-mongering is driving me nuts.  When I leave the TV and radio turned off, I do not get driven nuts.  A+B=C?  Uh-huh.  But this hyper-charged political season has less than a month to go, I keep telling myself, so I continue to pay attention.  Someone will win and all of this nastiness will end.  LOL.

Now we are asked to believe that Barack Obama is in some way allied with 1960s anti-war activist William “Bill” Ayers.  The accusation from John McCain’s campaign seems outrageous and desperate, but it is probably having its effect where an effect was intended.  Sure, Obama was only a kid when Ayers was practicing his craft as an “American terrorist” (Sarah Palin’s words).  The issue of guilt by association arises from the span between 2000 and 2002 when Obama and Ayers both sat on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a community anti-poverty group, and from the fact that Ayers hosted a social at his home to support Obama’s run the Illinois state senate, and that Ayers contributed $200 to Obama’s re-election campaign for that state senate seat in 2001.  About the last association, common sense should tell one that a former radical would want to take a stand and, in the absence of a Terrorist Party candidate, Ayers chose one with an open mind (traditionally, a Democrat and, in this case, Barack Obama).

And about the Woods Fund board.  If you have ever sat on the board of any organization, you are aware that board members come and go, and many of the members meet each other – in the context of that group – for the very first time.  We know that Ayers and Obama had met prior to being on this board, but we could easily assume that they were drawn to it because of the organization’s community goals, not because of their mutual attraction to each other’s anti-establishment ideals.  I once sat on a board that included among its members one Richard Scrushy.  Does this make me a perpetrator of corporate fraud or a millionaire?  No to #1 and no (sadly) to #2.

The accusations are, obviously, speculatory.  But they raise more questions than answers.  Obama has denied his ties to Ayers, but the circuit of denial and explanation is incomplete.  My question is this: where is Bill Ayers?

I keep expecting him to show up on 60 Minutes or on CNN to set the story straight.  I suppose that Obama wouldn’t want him to appear next to him on the campaign trail to discuss this issue (more guilt by association would ensue), but some statement from Ayers could nip this noise in the bud.  Remember that scene from Annie Hall, when Woody Allen pulls Marshall McLuhan from outside the movie screen to settle a debate about his theories?  That’s what I’d like to see.  Something like that.

If life were only like this, indeed.

Even Ayers’ blog has been mysteriously silent for the last month or so.  If I lived in Ayers’ neighborhood of Hyde Park, I would drop by for a visit and ask him to step up to the plate.  I am surprised that a nation full of generally curious (and usually loud) journalists haven’t made contact with him and reported on their exchange.  Has he refused contact with the media?  Can no one spare us the endless onslaught of self-righteous accusations?

Bill Ayers, where the hell are you?

Tags: film · politics

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