Sarah Palin continues to accuse Obama of "palling around with terrorists"--namely, Weatherman founder Bill Ayers, with whom Obama has a very, very tenuous connection.
Basically, it seems, over a decade ago both Ayers and Obama lived in the same Chicago neighborhood, they attended some of the same charity board meetings, and Ayers once hosted a house party for Obama when Obama was starting out in Chicago politics. Shocking. Not as bad as meeting with Saddam Hussein in order to supply him with weapons to kill Iraqi dissidents as well as Iranians, but still, absolutely shocking.
Well, I am standing up to admit that I'm even friendlier with terrorists than Obama. I met Ayers once, he and I have some mutual acquaintances, we share a book publisher, and I once spent an evening (in a farm in Waldo, FL) with two of Ayers' former comrades in the Weather Underground. You're shocked, I know.
Fortunately, I'm not running for President of the United States.
One of the things I've learned from my travels in radical America is that most veterans of 60s underground organizations deeply regret endorsing and participating in violence; they saw themselves as soldiers, but when the war was over, they moved on with their lives. Many of the survivors have gone on to make positive, even extraordinary, contributions to our society, not to mention becoming fathers, mothers, neighbors. In short, they're human beings, more passionate and committed than most; they made mistakes and they've had to live with them.
Ayers is actually a good example. If you go to his webpage, you'll see that "terrorist" is a pretty small part of his biography. He's still very much a left-winger, but after the fires of the 60s died, Ayers became a respected educator.
He's now a Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and author of many books with titles like A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court (Beacon Press, 1997), The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives, (Teachers College Press, 1989), and To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, (Teachers College Press, 1993) "which was named Book of the Year in 1993 by Kappa Delta Pi, and won the Witten Award for Distinguished Work in Biography and Autobiography in 1995."
I'm sure that many people have worked with Ayers over the years, not just Obama, and many children have learned from him. You can demonize people like him as "terrorists" if you want to score a few quickie political points, but the truth is much more complicated.
Just to really drive the point home, here's a video of that vicious, radical terrorist Bill Ayers giving a talk to a group of new teachers:
Horrible, isn't it? And to imagine, the next president of the United States once sat in a room with him.