Thursday, October 9, 2008

Obama on Ayers - interview with Charlie Gibson

John McCain and Sarah Palin have been hammering Obama about his connection with William Ayers recently, which I think is beyond ludicrous. Charlie Gibson brought it up in an interview with Obama (not quite sure how to embed the video or even if I can, which means that ABC is behind NBC a bit - I LOVE how the video works for SNL).

Megan McArdle and Andrew Sullivan, two normally levelheaded bloggers, have written recently that they have problems with the fact that Obama has not apologized for his association with Ayers.

Apologize for what? Does Obama's association with him in any way condone what the man did 40 years ago? Absolutely not. Obama has made it very clear that what William Ayers did with the Weathermen all those years ago was wrong, and he does not condone it. But Obama, as a churchgoing Christian, also believes in redemption and forgiveness. By the time Obama met him, Ayers was an accepted and respected member of the community. What should Obama have done, refused any association with him? How would that work? Ayers hosted Obama's first fundraiser when he was running for the Illinois state Senate. What's Obama going to do, turn down the first person who offers to help him out in his political career? How stupid would that be?

Obama has also been on a board of a local organization with Ayers. Again, what's Obama going to do, refuse to participate in a local non-profit because of a mistake that this guy made decades previously? That would be hurting himself and the organization. Obviously what William Ayers did was wrong. But he is a free man, and a member of the community in good standing.

In America, we believe in redemption and rehabilitation. I know next to nothing about William Ayers, but the people at the University of Illinois have decided that he's OK, and that's good enough for me.

1 comment:

Phil Ha said...

Gail Collins has a great take on it:

In my experience, most State Senate hopefuls are so thrilled at any sign of interest that they would happily attend a reception given by a homeless couple in their cardboard box. But even though Obama was 8 years old at the time the Weathermen were in the news, that house party puts all their misdeeds on his platter. Sarah Palin has been telling her increasingly scary rallies that he is somebody “who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists.”