Inspection- To Ayer is Human, To Quibble is Ken

“Now, no honest person can actually suggest that Obama’s association with Ayers, dating from 1995 when Ayers hosted a fund-raising event for Obama in his living room and including service on the board of the philanthropic Woods Fund of Chicago (along with several Republican business executives from 2001) constitutes “palling around with terrorists.” Journalists from a variety of publications have concluded that Obama had at most a friendly casual acquaintance with a man he knew as a liberal activist. Even “palling around with former terrorists” would be a dubious charge, but that qualifier would weaken the McCain-Palin smear-job effort so Ayer and his wife Bernadine Dohrn become, for campaign purposes, lifetime terrorists.”

In an otherwise quite worthy essay by Gary Leupp: professor of History at Tufts, Mr. Leupp defends Bill Ayers. I tend to quibble: but just a tad.

(I suppose a “tad quibble” qualifies as “double your quibble, double a columnist’s fun…” Guess I “Wriggled” my way out of that rather gummy one, by gum, wriggled… never mind.)

Yes, I have a hard time going quite as far as some in the collegiate community in defending Ayers, not for who he is now… but for who he became in the 60s. Let’s just say I have more than mixed feelings about people who use bombs and violence to achieve a means; whether they be Weathermen or abortion clinic bombers.

By the bye, bye, if Palin and McCain are going to use this somewhat, slight, in passing, mostly eight year old “association” with an Obama pre-denounced Ayers to try to stop their magical disappearing act from succeeding with an Obama win…

If they can grab the ball and run the opposite direction: snatching victory from the jaws of almost every poll…

…then certainly the association Republicans have with abortion clinic violence should come into play, shouldn’t it? At least the Weathermen did their damnedest to make sure no one was actually in the places before they bombed them, not stick a gun in the window of passing clinic workers and slaughter two people in Pensacola: one who was a slight acquaintance of mine, just use one of many, many extreme examples. They were no Eric Rudolfs, or Islamic “pilots.”

I once held a benefit for the campaign of Jesse Jackson because I thought he was adding spice to an otherwise stupidly bland election Dems didn’t have a chance in hell of winning. Does that make me responsible for his equally stupid “hymie” comment he made much later? Does that mean I was in league with those who stuffed the ovens at Auschwitz? This type of “gotcha” politics, in my opinion, should be yet another definition in the dictionary under the word “stupid.”

Does violence really “solve” anything? One might argue “Nam,” but then anti-Choice protesters took these same tactics and put them on steroids. Is the violence “solution” merely just one more way for humanity to do a Linda Blair twist of the head and bite a big chink out of our most downward escape hatch?

Tis a… bit… of a teensie weensie quibble, I admit. If only protesting the social dynamic that makes violence the ultimate game changer would be collectively viewed with anything but a big; “huh,” at the esoteric nature of it all. So I do understand the concept that protesters brought our soldiers and staff back from over there by donning flowers in their hair is both utter balderdash, and sheer nonsense. (Wouldn’t “Sheer Nonsense” make a great brand name pantyhose designed for clowns?) It wasn’t until the system felt threatened that real changes happened. But I simply can’t defend that behavior, whether it be Weatherman or anti-life “Pro-” Lifer. I also can’t defend; as I did in the 60s, the misguided attempt to “free” Nam with violence either, and that goes for the French, the Chinese long before all of this, as well as the Americans. Besides, if we had given Nam to Ho post WWII instead of the heave ho: as promised, maybe yet another bloody page of American, and Vietnamese, history might have been avoided. Ho became a “Commie” of convenience after he helped us in WWII. He read and admired Jefferson, Paine… but decided to take his ball to another court when we tossed him out of the game in favor of our good off and on friends: the French. Talk about an ill-fated choice when choosing sides for that metaphorical game of blood drenched basketball.

Ah, hindsight. We all know it’s a little too convenient and what portal that really arrives from, right?

And if we are going to score my writing, does “metaphor” count when you warn your readers in advance; or is that a simile? Or a “silly me?”

Columnist’s note: After reading the essay, and then typing this, I scrolled down the same page and noted a somewhat similar essay: even down to the metaphor comment. Spooky, huh? I guess; even for myself, tis the season to unintentionally go, “Boo!”


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over thirty years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.