Some of our local right-wingers have joined the "let’s lynch Obama by dragging William Ayers out of the dustbin of history" brigade, writing misleading commentary and flooding my email and voice mail with self-righteous anger about "Obama’s pal Bill Ayers." With the Presidential election just over three weeks away and McCain’s chances drowning in the sea of recession-led red ink, the rabid right is dredging the gutter for anything to use.
Ayers was a co-founder the Weather Underground, a 60s radical group responsible for violent protests against the Vietnam war. He participated in bombings at places like the New York Police headquarters, U.S. Capitol and Pentagon. In the 70s, he went "underground" to avoid arrest along with fellow Weatherman Bernardine Dohrn, whom he later married. In 1977, charges against Ayers and Dohrn were dropped because of misconduct by federal prosecutors and he returned to public life. He now is a professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, holding the title of Distinguished Professor. He also served on a committee with Barack Obama and the two know each other. That is why the Republicans are using him in a desperate attempt to smear Obama.
Obama has rightfully condemned Ayers’ past actions as a student radical but that doesn’t stop the slime merchants and fear mongers. What always amazes me about the rabid right is their ability to condemn violence on the left while staying silent when it agrees with their political philosophy. The Army of God, a right-wing group that bombs clinics that perform legal abortions are a good example.
According to Wikipedia:
The Army of God (AOG) is a loose network of individuals and groups connected by ideological affinity and the determination to use violence to end the legal practice of abortion in the United States. Its affiliates consist of right-wing Christian militants who have committed violent acts against abortion providers. Acts of anti-abortion violence increased in the mid-1990s culminating in a series of bombings by Eric Rudolph, whose targets included two abortion clinics, a gay and lesbian night club, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Letters Rudolph sent to newspapers claiming responsibility in the name of the Army of God focused attention on the issue of right-wing extremism.
The FBI considers The Army of God a "domestic terrorism" organization. The AOG lists, as its guiding principles:
We the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all Godly action necessary, including the use of force, to defend innocent human life (born and unborn). We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child.
Several active members and leaders of the Army of God contribue money to the campaign of John McCain. They also contributed to the campaigns of President George W. Bush, local Congressman Virgil Goode, former Senator George Allen and GOP Senatorial candidate Jim Gilmore.
Where, I wonder, is the outrage about the right-wing’s ties to these "domestic terrorists?" And where, I wonder, is all the self-rightous right-wing anger about Sarah Palin’s ties to the extremist, secessionist Alaska Independent Party?
On the afternoon of Sept. 24 in downtown Palmer, Alaska, as the sun began to sink behind the snowcapped mountains that flank the picturesque Mat-Su Valley, 51-year-old Mark Chryson sat for an hour on a park bench, reveling in tales of his days as chairman of the Alaska Independence Party. The stocky, gray-haired computer technician waxed nostalgic about quixotic battles to eliminate taxes, support the “traditional family” and secede from the United States.
So long as Alaska remained under the boot of the federal government, said Chryson, the AIP had to stand on guard to stymie a New World Order. He invited a Salon reporter to see a few items inside his pickup truck that were intended for his personal protection. “This here is my attack dog,” he said with a chuckle, handing the reporter an exuberant 8-pound papillon from his passenger seat. “Her name is Suzy.” Then he pulled a 9-millimeter Makarov PM pistol — once the standard-issue sidearm for Soviet cops — out of his glove compartment. “I’ve got enough weaponry to raise a small army in my basement,” he said, clutching the gun in his palm. “Then again, so do most Alaskans.” But Chryson added a message of reassurance to residents of that faraway place some Alaskans call “the 48.” “We want to go our separate ways,” he said, “but we are not going to kill you.”
Though Chryson belongs to a fringe political party, one that advocates the secession of Alaska from the Union, and that organizes with other like-minded secessionist movements from Canada to the Deep South, he is not without peculiar influence in state politics, especially the rise of Sarah Palin. An obscure figure outside of Alaska, Chryson has been a political fixture in the hometown of the Republican vice-presidential nominee for over a decade. During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin’s campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.