'/> Uncommon Hours: “I became a prop, a cartoon character created to be pummeled.” Bill Ayers speaks out.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

“I became a prop, a cartoon character created to be pummeled.” Bill Ayers speaks out.

Without doubt, Bill Ayers took a horrific beating during the presidential campaign. Curiously, one of the people most surprised that he was this year’s stand-in for Osama bin Laden was John McCain himself, who didn’t get a copy of Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin’s talking points before they re-engineered Ayers as a political piñada. Palin was more than happy to turn her rallies into mob gatherings, and McCain quickly got on board, even as he protested: Au contraire, Obama’s a “decent” man. You half expected to see pitchforks and torches with McCain-Palin stickers bobbing in the crowds.

But it wasn’t only Barack Obama who upended their strategy, but Ayers himself, who remained silent, took everything they had to dish out, including death threats, and recognized that engaging them was exactly the wrong thing to do. And sure enough, they undid themselves—the propaganda, the lies, the distortions just made them and the fringe lunatics hooting and shouting that Obama was, well, fill in the blank, look ever more desperate.

Ayers has finally broken his silence with a piece in In These Times, and his message, like Obama’s, is one of hope:

“Yet hope—my hope, our hope—resides in a simple self-evident truth: the future is unknown, and it is also entirely unknowable.

“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.”

The high ground this year belongs to hope—and sanity.

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