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Op-Ed: Shame on American 'Exceptionalism'

By Barbara Sowell     Oct 5, 2008 in Politics
Shame on Sarah Palin and shame on the failing John McCain campaign for targeting Barack Obama’s association with so-called domestic terrorists. That’s nothing more than race-baiting!
We all know that it isn’t true. Well it is true that Obama knows William Ayres, but only superficially and only because Ayers is Obama’s neighbor and they happened to serve together on a couple of boards. Ok, and Ayres did host a fund-raiser for Obama. What’s the big deal? Racism – that’s the big deal.
Oh yea, those backwoods dying racist Republicans want to make a big deal of something that happened long ago when Obama was only eight years old. Give us a break! They just want to tarnish the amazing image of our first Black President.
Bill Ayres is now a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The fact that Ayres and his wife Bernadine Dohrn were once far-left Weatherman terrorists who may or may not have been complicit in several bombings that caused American deaths is old news. What’s that got to do with Obama’s friendship with Ayers today?
You know there’s a lot of self-righteous talk from so-called “American Patriots” about how Ayers and Dohrn’s group bombed United States Capitol in 1971 and then they bombed the Pentagon in 1972. Gee Whiz!!! Talk about myopic American exceptionalism! The Capitol bombing was a heroic protest of the US invasion of Laos, and the Pentagon bombing was a necessary retaliation for the US bombing raid in Hanoi. And when they bombed the U.S. Department of State in 1975 it was a righteous response to the U.S. escalation of warfare in Vietnam.
The other bombings were too numerous to mention but in every case Ayers and Dohrn were true to their Marxist revolutionary values. That’s what counts! But Oh No! That’s not what Joe Six Pack or what that well known Hockey Mom want to see. They want to tarnish Obama for his association with the “unrepentant” Ayres. Why? Get this; they say that a person’s character can be known by the company he or she keeps. Isn’t that a tad bit prosaic???
Today we live in a multicultural society where different languages are spoken by people of many different races and origins. We Americans hold a vast array of cultural as well as political values. There is no “One” American value. All values must be counted as equally valid. America is not exceptional. America is but one of many nations, and we must take the lead for change in this new hopeful world Obama will help to create. If Obama wants to associate with radical extremists who hate America, that’s all to his credit. He can speak their language and appropriately deal with their cries for justice. He will bring Americans to a fuller understanding of what we must give back to the world. Can we really ask for more in a president?
Today, based on a couple of articles at the New York Times, far-right blogs are supposedly revealing more about the Obama/Ayers association. So what? So what if Obama and Ayers had a relationship going back many years, to the 1980s? So what if the far-right offers “detailed visual and written evidence of the longstanding and intimate relationship between Senator Obama and radical anti-American Bill Ayers?”
What do these “revelations” actually tell us? Only that Obama doesn’t see the same America as the dominant culture sees. But, is this really wrong? Obama isn’t really “like us” because there is no “Us.” That’s the illusion Obama hopes to overcome. Obama is a man of the world – a renaissance man – a man of many cultures – not an American exceptionalist!
The far right is trying to show that Obama’s willingness to have many “dangerous” associations represents a pattern of consistent lack of judgment. They are completely wrong. Obama doesn’t have bad judgment. He’s a brilliant man. He knows exactly what he is doing.
More Kool-Aid anyone?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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