They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
  -James Earl Jones "Field of Dreams"
and don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road
  -Bob Dylan "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obama's Neighbor

I am not a Bill Ayers fan. My opinion is not based on his politics, heck we were on the same side until he decided that violence was OK. Nor is it based on his alleged illegal activities. I am not happy about the bad press that this University of Illinois-Chicago professor is bringing to Barack Obama at the moment, but that is not really the reason either. Bill Ayers, at least when I knew him in Ann Arbor in 1969, was an arrogant jerk. I was part of a group of people that went from Ann Arbor to DC in January of '69 to attend the "counter-inauguration" protest during the first inauguration of Richard M. Nixon. I am not sure how I got hooked up with it, I really didn't have any friends that were all that political, but somehow I found myself in a car heading to DC. I don't think Ayers was in our car but he was the leader, more of less, of the Ann Arbor contingent. He tended to boss people around and there was a clear split between Ayers and the rest of us lowly nobodies. I saw some interesting things on that trip. I saw The Fugs playing in a tent. I saw some folks identified as Yippies who seemed to be specializing in making woo-woo-woo Indian style noises to unnerve the horses that the (huge number of) mounted police were on. I attended a "teach-in" where the point being made was that Sirhan Sirhan (who had killed Bobby Kennedy less than a year earlier) was some sort of hero. I saw folks who would throw rocks at the cops from behind the lines and then run away while the police attacked the nonviolent kids up front.

And I mostly remember a night when I couldn't sleep. The Ann Arbor group was sleeping in a hall that belonged to a church. I vaguely remember eating uncooked Spam that night. Anyway, as I tried to sleep I found that a heated argument, one that went on for what seemed like hours, prevented me from resting. It seems that a commitment had been made that the church would be cleaned up in the morning and that somehow the task had fallen to our future Weatherman. He was not about to help clean the f-ing church. And so he stated far into the night.

Fun fact: neither Ayers nor The Dude (Jeffrey Lebowski) actually contributed to the Port Huron Statement, but Tom Hayden did.

1 comment:

John personal trainer Austin TX said...

Interesting first-hand take. Thanks. I would love to know more.