We share the planet with these people. And they vote.
I understand, now, why I could never think of a snappy retort to this sort of taunting back in middle school: These folks wouldn't know logic if it bit 'em on the butt. Or, as my dad used to joke, "My mind's made up; don't confuse me with facts."
"Obama, Ayers - look at the connection," says one woman, as if those words uttered from her lips, alone, are damning proof that Obama has terrorist connections - or is, himself, a terrorist. One wonders if she could articulate exactly what the problem is, or if she, like Sarah Palin during her interview with Katie Couric, is simply spewing talking points, or "code." Who is Bill Ayers, really? For one thing, he is currently a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He was never convicted of a crime.
"Look at the name," says another. "The only thing different between Obama and Osama is the b s." Apparently, the name one was given at birth is evidence of character or criminal tendencies. Are these people adults? This goes beyond mere ignorance. This is childish name-calling and stomach-churning ignorance. This is bullying. And I'll bet you these folks claim to be "good Christians." Good country people...
Let's do look at the Obama-Ayers connection, though. Lord knows, I wouldn't want to be supporting a terrorist:
- Both Obama and Ayers were members of the board of an anti-poverty group, the Woods Fund of Chicago, between 1999 and 2002.
- Ayers contributed $200 to Obama's re-election fund to the Illinois State Senate in April 2001. ($200? Ooooh, that'll take care of a few yard signs...)
- They lived within a few blocks of each other in...Chicago, and moved in the same liberal-progressive circles.
That's subversive stuff, there. My goodness. I'd better run background checks on everyone I associate with today - see what they were up to when I was eight year old. So what of this "Weather Underground"? (Never mind that I've been a member of this Weather Underground since Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana - great source for tropical storm updates!)
"The war was escalating, and murder was escalating, and it was all being done in our names," says Bill Ayers, "So, the sense was that we had to do whatever we had to do in order to stop the war."
But didn't they kill people, these "Weathermen Underground"? "Between October 1969 and September 1973, the Weather Underground claimed credit for some twenty bombings across the country, in which no one was harmed — save the three cell members who perished in a Greenwich Village townhouse in March 1970, when one of their creations detonated prematurely." So...three of their own members blew themselves up. In their rage and frustration over the fact that peaceful protests weren't stanching the flow of blood in Asia.
In the early 1970s, mind you, I was in elementary school - as was Obama. My dad worked at Kent State University, and my mom and I had just dropped him off at the campus after having had lunch with him, when we heard this news on the car radio:
Luckily, my dad was able to call home and let us know that he was okay, before all the circuits went busy. He was across campus and knew less about what was going on than we did. I don't remember much about the Vietnam War "era." How many seven-, eight-, or nine-year-olds do you know who watch the news, let alone follow politics? (Remember: We had three TV stations back then - none of this satellite or cable business - and most of us had to be in bed by 7 or 8 PM. Our parents wouldn't have let us watch the slaughter in Vietnam on the nightly news!)
While I don't condone the violent riots and protests that took place then, I don't see that they're relevant to Obama's campaign. But to anyone who disagrees, I say, "Let's look, then, into McCain's alleged association with terrorists, too."
...unlike the attacks on Obama and Ayers, McCain's terrorist connections have an important policy dimension. No one imagines that Obama is going to implement a policy of covert symbolic bombings in America as Ayers did, and Obama has strongly condemned what Ayers did decades ago.
However, McCain has never condemned the Contras or Oliver North or G. Gordon Liddy, and that raises many policy questions. Would McCain ever allow a Watergate-style criminal ring in his White House? Would he ever sell weapons to a regime engaged in supporting terrorism? Would he illegally engage in covert propaganda aimed at Amricans? Would he ever try to secretly fund a guerrilla force committing acts of terror? Unlike the guilt-by-association smears against Obama, McCain's friendship with terrorists is more than just a character issue.
In the end, he can't destroy a good man outright. He may let his running mate do it, but it's just too much and he cannot help but defend Obama, who he calls a "decent family man" and one "you don't have to be scared of as President of the United States." On the other hand, he'll let his henchwoman do his dirty work.
The McCain campaign knows that Obama isn’t a Muslim or a terrorist, but they’re willing to help a certain kind of voter think he is. Just the way certain South Carolinians in 2000 were allowed to think that McCain’s adopted daughter from Bangladesh was his illegitimate black child.
But words can have more serious consequences than lost votes and we’ve already had a glimpse of the Palin effect.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reported that media representatives in Clearwater were greeted with taunts, thunder sticks and profanity. One Palin supporter shouted an epithet at an African-American soundman and said, “Sit down, boy.”
McCain may want to call off his pit bull before this war escalates.