One of the best things about moving to
Bill Ayers became a household name during the previous election cycle, he was one of the Republican parties talking points when it came to discrediting Barack Obama, even going so far as to have Sarah Palin coin the phrase “Paling around with Terrorist”. And while it is true that Ayers was labeled a domestic terrorist 40 years ago for his bombing activities with the weathermen none of his actions resulted in anything more than property damage and any charges against him where dropped by the federal government. He has since become an author and a professor at the
Last night Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn appeared at the Library to speak and sign copies of their new book “Race Course: against white supremacy”. For the 90 minutes that they spoke and took questions just a little was discussed about the book, most of the conversation and question revolved around their days as “domestic terrorist” and how they felt about the direction the country was in now.
While they did not point out much of anything that was news to me as far as where we are as a country and race relations, the differences in legal systems for blacks and whites, and how we have miseducated our children one thing that Ayers said to me really stood out. When asked if he had any regrets he said he regretted that he and his compatriots in the Weathermen had become so Dogmatic that had become another version of what they were fighting against. At 64 he realizes that while there way was not a blueprint for civil disobedience the act of civil disobedience in itself is called for. The act of people standing up and shouting “I’m mad as hell and I am not gonna take it anymore!” is quite necessary.
The other thing that struck me is how a man like Ayers can be a danger to society. As the evening was wrapping up and we were waiting for people to finish getting their books signed Reggie, Mark, and I got into a conversation about the book (we only have one copy and Reggie got it first.) In the book bill Ayers discusses how he had never really found his place after he got out of school. He was armed with a college degree and ample time on his hands and no real direction. After joining many groups including a “fight club” type style group he started attending meetings with then girlfriend Diana Oughton of an organization that would become the Weathermen.
This part of the story very much reminded me of another young man who was educated and directionless who drifted from job to job and group to group looking for direction. He eventually ran the Third Reich. It made me think of all the young people we have walking the streets these days with no direction who while they may not be “book smart” are for all intents and purposes quite gifted. That is a very dangerous thing to me.
So I didn’t hear anything about race that would make me run out and get a copy of the book, however I still look forward to my turn at reading it if for no other reasons to see the warning signs of other 22 year olds who feel they are not being heard and decide they need to be radical.