The Obama affiliation with Weather Underground unrepentant ex-terrorists Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers was the big story yesterday at a lot of blogs. I intentionally waited to post on it today because we should be paying attention for more than one news cycle.
Powerline Blog: The friends of Barack Obama, part I
It turns out that we don’t have to go back as far as 2001 to find that Obama’s friends are as unrepentant as ever. Just last year, Ayers and Dohrn attended a reunion–no kidding–of what must have been the tiny remnant of SDS members who still haven’t figured out that they were wrong about everything. Listen to what Bill Ayers, who hosted Barack Obama’s first fundraiser, has to say about the United States.
Go to Powerline to listen. Part II has more. Keep in mind that those clips are from a reunion in November 2007.
Marathon Pundit has much more in Ayers and Dohrn, starting here: Broadway Baby and Weather Underground. Follow the links.
Dohrn is now a law professor at Northwestern University. Her husband Ayers is an education professor at the University of Illinois.
Siggy points to this article: Obama’s Real Bill Ayers Problem
The ex-Weatherman is now a radical educator with influence (emphasis added)
Barack Obama complains that he’s been unfairly attacked for a casual political and social relationship with his neighbor, former Weatherman Bill Ayers. Obama has a point. In the ultraliberal Hyde Park community where the presidential candidate first earned his political spurs, Ayers is widely regarded as a member in good standing of the city’s civic establishment, not an unrepentant domestic terrorist. But Obama and his critics are arguing about the wrong moral question. The more pressing issue is not the damage done by the Weather Underground 40 years ago, but the far greater harm inflicted on the nation’s schoolchildren by the political and educational movement in which Ayers plays a leading role today.
Chicago’s liberals have chosen to define deviancy down in Ayers’s case, and Obama can’t be blamed for that.
What he can be blamed for is not acknowledging that his neighbor has a political agenda that, if successful, would make it impossible to lift academic achievement for disadvantaged children. As I have shown elsewhere in City Journal, Ayers’s politics have hardly changed since his Weatherman days. He still boasts about working full-time to bring down American capitalism and imperialism. This time, however, he does it from his tenured perch as Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Instead of planting bombs in public buildings, Ayers now works to indoctrinate America’s future teachers in the revolutionary cause, urging them to pass on the lessons to their public school students.
Indeed, the education department at the University of Illinois is a hotbed for the radical education professoriate. As Ayers puts it in one of his course descriptions, prospective K–12 teachers need to “be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and . . . be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, a teacher teaching for social justice and liberation.” Ayers’s texts on the imperative of social-justice teaching are among the most popular works in the syllabi of the nation’s ed schools and teacher-training institutes. One of Ayers’s major themes is that the American public school system is nothing but a reflection of capitalist hegemony. Thus, the mission of all progressive teachers is to take back the classrooms and turn them into laboratories of revolutionary change.
Ayers’s influence on what is taught in the nation’s public schools is likely to grow in the future. Last month, he was elected vice president for curriculum of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association (AERA), the nation’s largest organization of education-school professors and researchers. Ayers won the election handily, and there is no doubt that his fellow education professors knew whom they were voting for. In the short biographical statement distributed to prospective voters beforehand, Ayers listed among his scholarly books Fugitive Days, an unapologetic memoir about his ten years in the Weather Underground. The book includes dramatic accounts of how he bombed the Pentagon and other public buildings.
AERA already does a great deal to advance the social-justice teaching agenda in the nation’s schools and has established a Social Justice Division with its own executive director. With Bill Ayers now part of the organization’s national leadership, you can be sure that it will encourage even more funding and support for research on how teachers can promote left-wing ideology in the nation’s classrooms—and correspondingly less support for research on such mundane subjects as the best methods for teaching underprivileged children to read.
This is a particularly harmful waste of school hours for underprivileged children who need a strong and rigorous school curriculum since school is most likely the only place where they would learn literacy skills, without which they can not progress: Betsy asks,
Think of the problems that we have today in teaching literacy and basic math skills. Would any of those problems be ameliorated by teaching “social justice and liberation?”
Also via Siggy, At NPR
The issue, though, isn’t what Ayers thought then; it’s what he thinks now.
Read Ayers’ memoir, Fugitive Days, which was published — in actual horrific irony — on Sept. 10, 2001. Though I have to admit it’s pretty well written, it’s filled with more paternalism (“A squad of cops in Cleveland had dragged Black men from a motel and shot them down in cold blood, and now we would, I thought, even the score.”) and romanticism of what were ultimately terrorist acts. Ayers was also quoted in 2001 saying that he has no regrets for his past actions, but rather he feels that “we didn’t do enough.” Take a gander at his Web site and see if you find contrition or self-aggrandizement.
What someone did 40 years ago — within reason — should not damn that person forever. But that’s assuming offending individuals pay their debt to society and repent. Ayers has done neither.
I genuinely hope Obama’s got as much distance as humanly possible between himself and Ayers, and that Ayers is just, as Obama said in the debate, “a guy who lives in my neighborhood.”
Some neighborhood: There are Auchi, Rezko, and terrorist fundraisers, too.
Gateway Pundit links to videos:
The distractions? Or the reality?
Rick Moran asks, Is Obama in trouble?. Well, from looking at all the above, he ought to be.