Who is the Real Domestic Terrorist? Bill Ayers Finally Speaks

A New Age
A New Age

I was impressed by Bill Ayers’ recent public disclosure. His anguished re-reading of the Vietnam Era, his desperate attempt to stop a war that killed millions of Vietnamese people and 60,000 Americans, his remorse over some of the more extreme efforts he made, and his explanation of the principled violent and illegal stands that he took, all suggest a person of conscience and subtlety. I would not have done what he did in those buildings, and I would not demonize a military or country that way his group did, but only because of what I now know about the poison of demonization. In fact the radical right demonized and scapegoated Ayers in order to destroy the candidacy of Barack Obama. Demonization is a problematic domestic political form of terrorism that must resisted. I am both relieved by who is and horrified by what was done to him by this campaign.

I am also still amazed at what was done also to the word “Arab”, a proud term of identity for over 300 million human beings and the word “Muslim”, a proud identity for over a billion people.

Ayers concludes:

Demonization, guilt by association, and the politics of fear did not triumph, not this time. Let’s hope they never will again. And let’s hope we might now assert that in our wildly diverse society, talking and listening to the widest range of people is not a sin, but a virtue.

The real domestic terrorism that we must combat in every country, and inside our souls, every day is the demonization of others. The best antidote is the sacralization of others, no matter how awful their current views may be to us. That is the only way to shift the mind and heart toward the constructive and the pragmatic and the  hopeful.

© Marc Gopin