Ayers Still in the Air

Despite clearly stating in the third Presidential debate last night that he “didn’t care about some washed-up domestic terrorist from 40 years ago,” John McCain certainly seems to want a lot of people to know some vague, misleading statements about Ayers and *gasp* Obama. His campaign has started a massive robo-call campaign in a plethora of states today, telling voters that they “need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans.”

This whole thing is all about how big the degrees of separation are between Obama and these obviously despicable acts, perpetrated nearly 40 years ago by a group that was defunct before Obama, who was born in Hawai’i and spent a few years of his childhood in Indonesia before returning again to Hawai’i, set foot in the mainland of the United States, in 1979. Let’s look at the facts:

  • Obama was eight years old, living overseas, when The Weather Underground was founded and lived thousands of miles away in Hawai’i while they were perpetrating their crimes, which ended in 1974.
  • Obama met Ayers when they worked on the board of an anti-poverty group between 1999 and 2002.
  • Obama and Ayers were both involved in the Annenberg Challenge, a school reform group funded by a lifelong Republican.
  • Ayers did donate $200 to Obama’s re-election campaign in 2001 for the Illinois State Senate. Not exactly a princely sum.
  • Obama has denounced the actions of Ayers and the fellow Weather Underground members.
  • Ayers has not actually endorsed Obama for President.

Seems pretty cut and dry that this sort of association wouldn’t matter much at all, to anyone, ever. But still, the McCain campaign keeps trying to insinuate that there’s something else there, even though the facts simply don’t bear it out. They try to make it sound like Obama was involved with the bombings of the Weather Underground, which is beyond believable and is downright laughable. It’s like trying to say that Dubya was responsible for the Vietnam War because Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were part of the government that perpetuated it. Except, that’s a more plausible comparison, because George W. Bush was at least a National Guard Pilot during ‘Nam.

Obama, again, was between the ages of 8 and 13 while Ayers and The Weather Underground did their bombings. I don’t know about you, but the only thing I was terrorizing when I was between those ages was my teachers and my parents.

Some people have said that Obama should never have agreed to serve on a board with a domestic terrorist. Sure, he could have done that. But, refusing to sit on a charity board that was trying to improve the lives of people living in poverty because one guy on the board – despite being a highly respected professor of education, had all the way back in the 70’s, done some despicable things – is pretty damn silly.

Lots of people did bad things in the 70’s. Bellbottoms, platform shoes, Watergate (which a friend of McCain’s, G. Gordon Liddy, spent 4 1/2 years in prison for his role in the break-in of – Ayers never spent time in prison, he was acquitted), Mork and Mindy, ELO, disco, John Travolta, the list goes on. It was a bad decade all around, with many many people doing many many reprehensible things.

So, why should I care? Well, I care because the McCain campaign is flagrantly using a tenuous acquaintance as a dis-qualifier for the Presidency, tricking people who don’t know any better into voting against someone because of a silly, trumped-up reason. It’s a terrible example of the pot calling the kettle, well, black (please excuse the unintended racial connotations of that phrase).

McCain was not only one of the Keating Five, he was personal friends with Charles Keating, a man who had helped fund some of McCain’s campaigns in big ways. McCain’s wife, Cindy, embezzled prescription drugs from a charity she supported to feed her addiction in the mid 90’s. Aren’t these connections equally, if not more relevant than Obama’s connection to Ayers?

Need I remind anyone that the Keating Five Scandal was part of the Savings and Loan Shitstorm in the late 80’s that cost tens of thousands of people their life savings and had an ultimate cost of $160 billion dollars to the American people?

At a time of crisis like this, wouldn’t you rather that someone running for the highest office in the land was focused on the crumbling, see-sawing economy or the two wars we’re engaged in or a million other things more important to our daily lives instead of trying to insinuate that his opponent had some mysteriously dangerous connection to a hippie domestic terrorist from the late-60’s?

Don’t we deserve to be treated like adults for once? One candidate is occasionally trying to do that while the other isn’t even pretending to. McCain has chosen to focus on negativity, tenuous and frivolous connections, hearsay, rumors and fear instead of sticking to his promise, made back in April, to run a clean campaign, focused on the issues. I know that it’s silly to even think for a moment that a politician will keep his word, but come on, he didn’t even pretend to try.

Meanwhile, Obama has held true to his pledge to keep families out of the campaigning. He has never said a word about Cindy McCain or Todd Palin. McCain agreed to this pledge when it was made. But now, guess who’s launching attacks on Michelle Obama? You guessed it, John S. McCain.

All of that, coupled with his petulant, childish, angry performances in all three debates. From not looking Obama in the eye, to referring to him as “that one,” to rolling his eyes in disgust, he has not looked at all Presidential, in fact, he’s barely looked like an adult.

In fact, at least in one instance, he looked, as the Brits are wont to say, gobsmacked:

That’s the face that my wife and I would refer to as “Dogs Don’t Know it’s Not Bacon!” face.

So thats it. I’m done with politics until the election. I’m done talking about them, thinking about them and even writing about them. I’ll leave you with this:

Go out and get registered to vote, if you aren’t already. Then go and get educated about each candidate from non-partisan sources (if you can find any). Then, tell all of your friends to do the same. After you’ve done all of that and you’ve made up your mind about who you’re going to vote for, head down to your local voting station on November 4th and place your vote. It’s your duty as an American citizen to at least vote, even if you vote for Nader or Bob Barr’s mustache or write in the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

I think it’s pretty obvious who I’ll be voting for. Barack Hussein Obama. I’ll do it proudly, which will be a first for me. I’ve been able to vote in three Presidential elections and I’ve never had anything other than a choice between bad and worse.

It’s refreshing to have the choice to vote for something better.

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