Man oh man -- Bill Ayers must be one happy cat. Even when he was trying to spark a Prairie Fire, his cocksure pose on FBI wanted lists, Ayers didn't get this kind of national attention. For a guy who believes that the Weather experience was more right than wrong, despite its calamitous effect on other dissidents, primarily those who weren't white, being slimed today as a terrorist of yore isn't gonna seriously concern him. Or shouldn't. Obama will be elected, regardless of these increasingly desperate attacks, so Ayers cannot be blamed for tripping him up (depriving Eric Alterman of four years of "Thanks Bill"). Plus, Ayers gets to keep his newly-refreshed People's Warrior cred, at least in his mind. Win/win and all that.
I've been scanning several reactionary sites, none of which I'll name, because the last time I did that, my inbox quickly filled with raw sewage from which strange oily insects emerged, releasing hideous scents. As deluded and nasty as many liberal commenters are, right wing commenters are even crazier, sometimes frighteningly so. Yes, the Web allows people to hide behind brash personas that they would never display in public, yet after reading some of the whacked out shit about Obama and Ayers, I question just how removed many of these people are from their online alter egos. I carry my share of anxiety and misery, to be sure, but a fair number of reactionaries must have ceaseless raging fear in their heads. Perhaps for them, it's sweet, inspiring music. Whatever passes time until the sun burns out.
In addition to the certainty that Obama will forge a nightmare socialist order, which will naturally collude with if not surrender to Chavez and Ahmadinejad, the main reactionary complaint is that Ayers is a terrorist mastermind who shaped Obama's politics along Cuban communist lines. To read some of this madness, you'd think that Ayers was Carlos the Jackal or Abu Nidal. I've yet to see a photoshopped image of Ayers petting a white cat while surveying his terror network, but then, there are only so many hours I can spend online. Suffice it to say that Ayers is serving as a symbol for something else, in some cases as a treasonous liberal archetype, a poster child for The Enemy Within, but in many cases, who the fuck knows. Over the past two days I've seen so much twisted logic and bizarre scenarios that I wonder what world these people are actually experiencing, or think they're experiencing. I mean, isn't real life awful enough? Why the need for even worse alternate realities?
The one right wing complaint I do understand is that Ayers opposed the Vietnam war, which as every true patriot knows was undermined by domestic terrorists and Soviet spies, along with the commie media. I don't know how many reactionaries read me with any regularity, but allow me to settle this on my end -- the US assault on Vietnam wasn't a "mistake" or a bungled attempt to spread "freedom," it was a massive war crime that far exceeded anything placed at the feet of Milosevic or Saddam, two amateurs who got caught doing what the big boys do as a matter of policy. The US had no right to attack Vietnam, which included carpet bombing campaigns, chemical warfare, torture and death squad activity, and that the Vietnamese have basically forgiven us for our mass murder and destruction in their country should shame us even more. But for a lot of Americans, it doesn't, and doubtless never will. We were the real victims of the Vietnam war, or as Jimmy Carter famously put it, the destruction was "mutual."
Bill Ayers actively opposed that criminal war. Good for him. That he and his privileged friends used the war as an excuse to launch Weather violence severely diminishes that opposition. Since Barack Obama is not against imperial war per se, just the kind that isn't managed effectively, he really can't respond to the right on principled grounds, only tactical ones. It'll be interesting to see how reactionaries assess Obama's war making in the coming years. He'll be killing those whom right wingers insist are the enemy, but to them, it'll be for the wrong, insidious reasons. Hmmm. Sounds familiar.