The View From 1776
Monday, May 05, 2008
Senator Obama’s Friends
How indicative of his character and beliefs is Senator Obama’s having launched one of his political campaigns at the home of his friends Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers?
Who are Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers? And why would Senator Obama wish to associate his political beliefs with those of Dohrn and Ayers?
Might his friendship with these Weatherman terrorists of the 1960s and 70s be a clue to the voting record that led National Journal to rate Mr. Obama the most liberal member of the Senate?
The New York Times reported on September 11, 2001, ironically, the day the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were bombed:
Life With the Weathermen: No Regrets for a Love of Explosives
By Dinitia Smith
“I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. “I feel we didn’t do enough.” Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970’s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The long curly locks in his Wanted poster are shorn, though he wears earrings. He still has tattooed on his neck the rainbow-and-lightning Weathermen logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for bombings.
...[Mr. Ayers] writes that he participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972.
...Mr. Ayers, who in 1970 was said to have summed up the Weatherman philosophy as: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that’s where it’s really at,” is today distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago…
He went underground in 1970, after his girlfriend, Diana Oughton, and two other people were killed when bombs they were making exploded in a Greenwich Village town house. With him in the Weather Underground was Bernardine Dohrn, who was put on the F.B.I.‘s 10 Most Wanted List. J. Edgar Hoover called her “the most dangerous woman in America” and “la Pasionara of the Lunatic Left.” Mr. Ayers and Ms. Dohrn later married.
In his book Mr. Ayers describes the Weathermen descending into a “whirlpool of violence.”
“Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon,” he writes… He goes on to provide details about the manufacture of the bomb and how a woman he calls Anna placed the bomb in a restroom. No one was killed or injured, though damage was extensive.
Between 1970 and 1974 the Weathermen took responsibility for 12 bombings, Mr. Ayers writes, and also helped spring Timothy Leary (sentenced on marijuana charges) from jail.
Today, Mr. Ayers and Ms. Dohrn, 59, who is director of the Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice Center of Northwestern University, seem like typical baby boomers, caring for aging parents, suffering the empty-nest syndrome.
To understand Senator Obama, and Senator Clinton as well, it’s necessary to revisit the radicalism, exemplified by Ayers and Dohrn, that formed their philosophical and political orientation in the 1960s and 1970s. That orientation can be traced back to the European revolutions of 1789, 1830, and 1848, and to the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Implementing social justice necessitated rooting out religion and morality from public life. And that is what intellectuals in the United States set about doing at the end of the 1800s. The process gained momentum after World War I, then the Depression in 1932 brought us Franklin Roosevelt