Listen, with the possibility of being changed (Update)

by tamarjacobson

Quote of the day:

I encourage people to argue, to agree or disagree, to discuss and struggle, to engage in conversation. I believe deeply in the pedagogical possibilities of dialogue—of listening with the possibility of being changed, and of speaking with the possibility of being heard—and I believe in revitalizing the public square, resisting the eclipse of the public and expanding the public space, searching for a more robust and participatory democracy. Talking to one another can help. William Ayers

My heart has felt heavy ever since Stephanopoulos’ question to Barack Obama at that notorious ABC "debate (?)" about his association with William Ayers. I am proud to say that Bill Ayers is a colleague in the field of education, but more than that, I admire him greatly for his writings and work regarding social justice. Years ago, when my dearest friend Charlie heard that I had invited Ayers to Buffalo to speak to the early childhood community, he begged to be included and meet Bill for breakfast. Charlie was most honored and excited to spend a couple of hours talking with this man. I had just read Ayers’ book: A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court, and decided that our community would benefit greatly from hearing him speak. It was a memorable breakfast for me, listening to the conversation of two people I admired so much discussing issues of social justice that were very close to my heart. Indeed, my most proud moment was when Bill Ayers agreed to read my own book and write a "blurb" for its back cover. His endorsement of my book was an extreme honor for me. William Ayers is a man who walks the talk.

Specifically, what I have not been able to overcome is a most uneasy feeling about how quickly Hillary Clinton jumped on the subject of William Ayers and twisted the facts about his New York Time’s interview in 2001, that coincidentally was published on 9/11. One question constantly plagues – niggles – at my mind: "Did Clinton know Stephanopoulos was going to ask that question ahead of time?" For she seemed to have her comment ready to go. It flowed so sanctimoniously, erroneously and twistedly off her tongue. She seemed overly prepared to pounce on that particular moment, as if anticipating Obama’s surprise at the question.

This morning, I wandered over to Bill Ayers’ blog and discovered a post he had written on April 6 about Hannity’s comment to John McCain. Ayers writes on April 6:

The other night, for example, I heard Sean Hannity tell Senator John McCain that I was an unrepentant terrorist who had written an article on September 11, 2001 extolling bombings against the U.S., and even advocating more terrorist bombs. Senator McCain couldn’t believe it, and neither could I.

As I was reading this piece I could not help but think: "Before Stephanopoulos asked his question, did he not do any research about William Ayers? Could he not have found Ayers’ blog and read his own words about it?" After all, April 6 was 10 days before the debate! That should have been ample time.

As I read Bill Ayers’ blog this morning, especially his post of Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring speech, tears rolled down my cheeks. Why did Obama denounce Ayers so? I had to agree with Rick Ayers who recently wrote:

He should have said, "Senator Clinton, are you really going to go there? Do you have no shame? Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think I’m a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. Have you no sense of decency, ma’am, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" …

Why give her a pass? Why claim that Bill Clinton had done something even worse, giving pardons to people from the Weather Underground. That’s like trying to out-right the rightist Clinton. Have the courage to call her for what she is.

Indeed, not that I ever needed convincing prior to Clinton’s despicable behavior on last Wednesday night’s debate, my decision is clear: I will not, in good conscience be able to vote for Clinton even if she is the nominee. All this talk about women and children, it takes a village, and her love of early childhood education! Pah! Doesn’t she know who Bill Ayers is?

I am supporting Obama for President. I am sure you all can tell that about me by now! But this morning I am as sad as can be. I had been fired up and ready to go, I have shared my passion with everyone I know, written about it, wept about it.

But right about now … I must write, right here on my blog, even with as few readers as I have and make a public stand for William Ayers. I urge Senator Barack Obama to come out publicly and with pride about his past or present association with Bill Ayers. Obama: The truth will set you free.

If you are the man of integrity that I believe you are, even as I was so proud when you did not denounce Jeremiah Wright – stand up now and have the strength to acknowledge William Ayers for who he rightfully is.


Check out: Clarifying the Facts at Bill Ayers’ Blog.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: From the depths