Saturday, April 19, 2008

Taking care of this William Ayers nonsense

One of the more trivial controversies in a campaign filled with them is the fact that Obama has some connection to a guy named William Ayers, who was a member of the Weather Underground back in the 60's. I'm not going to post a link, because I don't think it's worth my time to do the research. I do have a very minor connection with the bomb blast for which the group gained its notoriety - I lived a few blocks from the house in Greenwich Village where it went off.

All I want to point out is how utterly ridiculous it is to even bring this up. The guilt-by-association blame game at work here operates on the assumption that because Obama has this vague connection, he approves of Ayers' actions all those years ago, which means that he approves of using violence to achieve political ends in this country, and therefore approves of domestic terrorism. Which is, of course, completely ridiculous. He believes nothing of the kind, and has made that clear.

What's even more ridiculous is making guilty by association with a casual acquaintance. Obama has met easily thousands of people. And since all of those people have opinions that are different from one another, Obama himself cannot logically agree with all of them on everything. So to imply that he agrees with someone just because they lived in the same neighborhood or were on the same board of an organization is preposterous. I think it was legitimate to ask questions about Jeremiah Wright, because a person's relationship with their pastor is a significant signifier of their beliefs. But a casual acquaintance? Please.

There's a term that defines this perilous practice of encountering people with whom you disagree and potentially being infected by their nefarious ideas.

It's called "living in a democracy."

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