Nomological Net

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faults in the clouds of delusion

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Palling around

Bill Ayers breaks his silence in a must-read article. Excerpts -- from the first section where he talks about the past few weeks:

Obama’s political rivals and enemies thought they saw an opportunity to deepen a dishonest perception that he is somehow un-American, alien, linked to radical ideas, a closet terrorist who sympathizes with extremism—and they pounced.

On the campaign trail, McCain immediately got on message. I became a prop, a cartoon character created to be pummeled.

When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got hold of it, the attack went viral. At a now-famous Oct. 4 rally, she said Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists.” (I pictured us sharing a milkshake with two straws.)

The good news was that every time McCain or Palin mentioned my name, they lost a point or two in the polls. The cartoon invented to hurt Obama was now poking holes in the rapidly sinking McCain-Palin ship.

And where he talks about the deeper issues involved:

It was inevitable. McCain would bet the house on a dishonest and largely discredited vision of the ’60s, which was the defining decade for him. He built his political career on being a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The ’60s—as myth and symbol—is much abused: the downfall of civilization in one account, a time of defeat and humiliation in a second, and a perfect moment of righteous opposition, peace and love in a third.

The idea that the 2008 election may be the last time in American political life that the ’60s plays any role whatsoever is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, let’s get over the nostalgia and move on. On the other, the lessons we might have learned from the black freedom movement and from the resistance against the Vietnam War have never been learned. To achieve this would require that we face history fully and honestly, something this nation has never done.

And some profound, if undilutedly idealistic, concluding thoughts:

Obama has continually been asked to defend something that ought to be at democracy’s heart: the importance of talking to as many people as possible in this complicated and wildly diverse society, of listening with the possibility of learning something new, and of speaking with the possibility of persuading or influencing others.

History is always in the making. It’s up to us. It is up to me and to you. Nothing is predetermined. That makes our moment on this earth both hopeful and all the more urgent—we must find ways to become real actors, to become authentic subjects in our own history.

In this time of new beginnings and rising expectations, it is even more urgent that we figure out how to become the people we have been waiting to be.

All in all, how could you not love a piece titled: "What a long strange trip it's been"?!

4 Comments:

Blogger gaddeswarup said...

I liked this quote very much:
“If I could lead you into the Promised Land, I would not do it, because someone else would come along and lead you out.”

11/12/2008 12:06 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

yes, it's just brilliant :-)

11/15/2008 4:59 AM  
Blogger purplesque said...

A very well written article. Thank you for the link.

11/19/2008 11:03 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

purplesque:
you're welcome.

11/20/2008 5:00 AM  

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