The Daily Caller reported Sunday that “for the low, low price of $2,500, you can have dinner cooked for you by Weather Underground agitators and terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine [sic] Dohrn.”
This is the low state of the world that we have become inured to. The absence of morality and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and good and evil renders dinners with terrorists for… $2,500.
In the sixties, Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn were members of the Weather Underground, a communist terrorist group that planted bombs at the Pentagon, the Capitol building, and other government buildings. Ayers himself planted a bomb at a statue commemorating police casualties during the 1886 Haymarket riots in Chicago. When a bomb he was hoping would kill American soldiers in New Jersey exploded prematurely in a house, Ayers became for ten years a fugitive from justice, but all charges against him were dropped in 1980 when an FBI program that was investigating the Weathermen was accused of improprieties.
Ayers, however, remains unrepentant, saying in 2001: “I don’t regret setting bombs… I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Yet this dinner is hardly the first example of the legitimization of the terrorist Ayers. As I explained in my book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America, when he left his terrorist activities behind, Ayers served his cause as part of the left’s long march into America’s institutions. He became a respectable professor at the University of Chicago. One of his neighbors was an ambitious young man named Barack Hussein Obama. In 1995, Obama launched his political career with a run for the Illinois State Senate, and he began his campaign with a fundraising event at the Chicago home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
Later, State Senator Obama wrote a glowing endorsement of Ayers’ book A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court. And when Obama served as Board Chairman of a philanthropic group known as the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, that group gave over $600,000 in grants to the Small Schools Workshop, an organization founded by Ayers and headed by Mike Klonsky, leader of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CP-ML), a Maoist party in the United States.
For his part, Obama was dishonest about the significance of this association, dismissing the aging terrorist as a casual acquaintance: Ayers, said Obama, was merely “a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received an official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from (sic) on a regular basis.” The terrorist attacks? “Now, Mr. Ayers is a 60 plus year old individual who lives in my neighborhood, who did something I deplore 40 years ago when I was six or seven years old. By the time I met him, he was a professor of education at the University of Illinois.”
Yet records don’t justify his having been so dismissive. Ayers and Obama were also both Board members of Chicago’s Wood Fund between December 1999 and December 2002. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “that board met four times a year, and members would see each other at occasional dinners the group hosted.”
The old terrorist Bill Ayers, who just happens to live in Barack Obama’s old neighborhood, but who hardly knows the President and has had only the slightest casual contact with him over the years, visited the White House twice between January and October 2009.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited only once during that span.
And now dinner with these terrorists, Ayers and Dohrn, is being sold to eager buyers for $2,500.
Yes, this is the absence of reason. This is the essential failure of our public education system. Take, for example, a talk I gave to a class at New York University last week. Listen to the first question posed by a student. It best illustrates the absence of reason. The class as a whole, by the way, was uniformly but politely hostile, all of the same mind. After the class, a couple of students quietly thanked me and said that they agreed with me. So they may not be free to speak in class, but they are free to think.
And this is the kind of person whom we must encourage–the kind that wouldn’t dine with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn at any price.