Obama Supporters…Convince Me


I want to feel good about whoever becomes the next President of the United States.

I want to feel the President of my country is a patriot, a supporter of our troops, a true commander in chief.

I want to feel safe on my country’s soil and in my home.  Everyone does.

Of course there are no guarantees. Things happen.  Life goes on.

But right now, I have this small issue with Obama I am trying to work through.

For many individuals, it’s obviously not a problem and many have been able to look past it.

But it continues to nag and perplex me.  I can’t seem to put it in a box, tie a ribbon on it and put it away.

I want to understand it.

I want to let it go, but deep down haven’t been able to.

I want to know, need to know, how supporters of Obama feel about his association with William Ayers, a man who participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol building in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972.

Obama’s association with Ayers has its roots in the two men serving together on the Woods Fund Board from 1999 until 2002.  Also, a meet-and-greet organized by Ayers at his home to introduce Obama to Ayers neighbors when Obama was running for his first Illinois state Senate campaign in 1995 took place as well.

Now, some say Obama is guilty of nothing by serving on a board with this guy.  But many say these two men were not just ships passing in the night, they actually worked closely together.  I have to say it’s strange and the meet-and-great at Ayers home…well…it feels very wrong.

As a politician, part of me feels Obama should have abstained from working with a man who committed these types of crimes on American soil.  A man who to this day claims he should have committed further acts of violence to further his cause.

I am uncomfortable because in this situation, Obama appears like a political opportunist, joining forces with someone to get what he wants.  Whatever Obama’s intentions were at the time, the perception left behind is not favorable.

Personally, out of principle, I have disassociated myself with many people who hung with unsavory characters.

I find it disconcerting Obama was willing to continue a relationship in order to possibly fulfill a political agenda.

So Obama supporters, please, PLEASE convince me I have nothing to worry about.  Convince me, this was a slip in judgment.

I want to feel good about whomever we elect in November, I need to.

Help!

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107 Comments

  1. This is America. Everyone deserves a 2nd chance. This Ayers fella was young. The late 60’s and early 70’s were a different time. Lots of radical ideas. Lots of government involvement in an unneeded war. Lots of young men dying (a lot more than are now). The government wasn’t listening. It was easy to get caught up in the moment of anger. Now, his actual involvement with Obama is sketchy at best. The meet-and-greet is a standard thing that rich/connected folk do. He probably saw a peaceful way to actually make a difference in Obama. Being that he expresses a vision of doing just that. If you look at the various characters that McCain hangs out with… Phil Gramm, Charles Keating, Joseph Bonano (head of the Bonano Crime Family), etc… Obama doesn’t seem so bad at all in comparision.

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  2. HoneyB 2

    My mama always told me to associate with those who I admired.

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  3. Deeba 3

    HoneyB said it right…how pertinent your discomfort is. I don’t think it’s possible yet to put it away in a box, tie a ribbon & be done with it.

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  4. I agree with Honey B. My husband taught me the importance of associating with those who made you better as a person.

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  5. Becky 5

    Can’t help you there. I have my worries, too. But I do know that we may never know the truth. Politicians are tightlipped and stick together.

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  6. Nancy 6

    Sorry, I can’t help you feel any better about him because while his association with William Ayer’s is scary, there are many more things about him that are just as scary, if not more scary.

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  7. D 7

    Keating Five

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  8. Well, as far as I know, dude worked in an anti-poverty organization together with this other guy with an-obscure-past (but still a distinguished University professor nowadays), as many other people did (both democrats and republicans). As it appeared on Time magazine: “If Obama’s relationship with Ayers, however tangential, exposes Obama as a radical himself, or at least as a man with terrible judgment, he shares that radicalism or terrible judgment with a comically respectable list of Chicagoans and others — including Republicans and conservatives — who have embraced Ayers and Dohrn as good company, good citizens, even experts on children’s issues.” And this was written by a liberal journalist, Micheal Kinsley, a known critic of Ayers. Also, Obama never was a supporter of Ayer’s beliefs and is not taking advise from him for his potential government.

    Do you know how many connections politicians do during their lives? I mean, they live making connections, it’s their job, it’s not opportunism. Plus, why not being concerned about McCain-Liddy? In fact, why not being concerned about the McCain-Bush connection?

    I mean, seriously… I totally disagree with Ayers’ ideas, but Bush is proved to be extremely harmful to America. And I’m sorry, but I don’t buy McCain’s change. And having Palin as an eventual president! Now, that’s scary!

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  9. Marcy 9

    Morning Cathy! Hmm, I have to say that I am NOT an Obama supporter… what you wrote just proves it even more… I usually stand with my husband in voting, and usually agree with his reasons, therefore No Obama. Its NOT becasue of his race, or religion, or anything like that. His politics are a bit scary. Actually what I heard lastnight from Bush… the whole flippin government is getting scary… sorry girl, you will not hear anything good about Obama from me.

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  10. Ross 10

    Hi Cathy,

    I hear two main themes here… Obama’s ability to lead the nation and to keep it safe, and his association with William Ayers. I’m not going to try to defend Obama and his relationships… I’m not all that happy about the church that he “used to” attend, and there are probably other people and organizations in his past that would cause me to be concerned. HOWEVER, as other commenters have said, he’s a politician seeking the presidency, and to expect that there’s a perfect one out there is simply naive. That’s why we need to elect hard-working, honest leaders to state and local offices, and to the House and Senate… our nation’s strength comes from our system of checks and balances, not our king/president.

    On the second point, I am a disabled veteran with 20 years of service… I can tell you from the trenches that the troops would rather have a leader who only puts them in harms way when absolutely necessary; and only then after contemplating the true cost of armed conflict; on families of soldiers, on the ability for the military health care system to treat the wounded, and in the cost to our country in terms of the huge wrench that war throws into the intricate gears of diplomacy. Soldiers aren’t stupid… they don’t have any love of dying, especially if they catch any hint that they are putting their lives on the line in order to secure corporate interests. So, I see Obama’s ticket as holding the thinkers and the peacemakers… that’s enough for me.

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  11. There are things about Sarah Palin that scare me FAR MORE than anything about Obama.

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  12. Flea 12

    Not going to weigh in on this one. Sorry. I just agree with several here that there are many, many people in a politician’s life. I don’t micromanage my own life so well. I don’t expect politicians to. They have handlers. It’s when the contact is consistent that it bothers me, or secretive. I don’t know that this constitutes either yet Okay. I guess that’s weighing in. Sorry.

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  13. Mary 13

    look at the two campaigns and how they are being run. that will give you an idea of what kind of president you will have.
    seems a simple choice to me.

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  14. I really want to like Obama whether he is elected or not. There seems to be so much that is good about him and which truly inspires people. However, there are several niggling thoughts in the back of my mind which make me a bit uneasy about him. I didn’t know about this association with Ayers. In fact, I’m going to have to look up more info on Ayers after finishing this comment because I am only vaguely familiar with him.

    One of the major things that disturbs me is that he attended a church for (what 20?) years which was led by a man who I think does more to drive a wedge between races than to unite people. I’ll overlook the fact that he seems to preach politics over the Bible. (It is a Christian church, not a political organization.) Many pastors, particularly those who enjoy having their faces in the news, seem to be doing that these days. I’ve listened to the context of some of the things Rev. Wrong has said to be sure I wasn’t just hearing some single remark twisted by the opposing side. I understand that the perspective and feelings of blacks in this country may be different from my own. I can understand hurt feelings and anger. However, for a pastor to lead his people toward generalized anger and, yes, racism rather than more a positive and productive direction which will lead to unity is just wrong. His words and actions do not heal, they expand that gaping wound that slavery started and encourage it to fester and boil just as the racism that continued against blacks after slavery ended. Furthermore, as a Christian pastor, his concern should be for the body of Christ which knows no such divisions as race or gender. Has the man read his Bible? What does it say about the unity of the Body? It’s bad theology and an outlook which is bad for our country no matter what color you are. That Obama could attend this church and continue his association with this man for so long (until it looked bad in the press), whether in name only or actual, faithful attendance, just astounds me. It would disturb me if he was just Joe Schmoe down the street, but I find it even more disturbing as someone running for the office of President. The President will have to represent all of us and should strive to unite the citizens of this country.

    I really, really want to like Obama. I’ve considered voting for him. But this is an issue I’m having a hard time getting past. And, yes, if someone could show me a similar association of McCain’s I would be just as troubled.

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  15. annbb 15

    Someone convince ME that we’re going to eventually be ok….please!

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  16. I like Obama a lot–but he’s far from perfect. I’m sure he’s made bad decisions and did some opportunistic things to better his career. All in all, though–I think he’s a good guy. He seems honest to me–at least as honest as a politician can be!

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  17. jancd 17

    link to youtube.com

    Look at this video of Obama making fun of the Bible. It’s very scarey to think this man could be a leader of our country.

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  18. Okay, here’s my informed take. Both men, McCain and Obama are good men.

    Although they will preform the job differently from one another, I believe, they will both do a decent job. Anything is better than what we have now–and I voted for him twice. yikes.

    Both men have good intentions, believe in America, and have the energy we need to get things done. Why do we always feel the need to cut our politicians down? They try. Most of them honorably. Both Obama and McCain are honorable men and either will serve the country well.

    With that said, I am voting for McCAin because I am a fiscal conservative. Although I really, really don’t care who wins….when you are at the bottom, you can only go one way….I hope!

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  19. Cheryl 19

    I could have written (less articulately) your post, Cathy.

    To add, while I admire Obama’s delivery, passion and clear commitment to his ideals, his method of achieving them is vastly varied from my own.

    To me, the application of excessive government intervention (which he advocates increasing, not decreasing) has emasculated social organizations, groups of faith and the sense of personal responsibility to intervene –aiding our neighbors in need. Over interpreting the “rights” granted by the Constitution has led many of our citizens to a sense of entitlement, rather than personal motivation that made us as a nation excel.

    As to the Palin concerns, I agree, she is “green” in many areas (although I agree with her in many of the arenas Keith Olberman finds “appalling” — actually, I find Keith Olberman appalling, but that’s for a different time and place…), is Obama not greener still? And he is running for PRESIDENT! As others have stated, I wish him well, I believe him to be a good man…but for someone who’s clearly had long term designs (not wrongly) on higher office, I think he’d have been better served to publicly disassociate with Ayers, Wright, Resko et al WITHOUT the media “unearthing” it…

    He’d have been wiser still to have served more (non-campaigning) active time in elected office…to have accomplished more notches in his governmental achievement belt.

    Patience might have helped him politically.

    I have voted for both parties in the past…so I don’t declare myself a registered anything. (We’re political junkies…watch all the time)

    Wanted McCain in 2008, and while he is not “perfect” either, to my perspective he is a far wiser choice for our country.

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  20. Cathy, girl, you know I don’t discuss politics, and you also know I am an Obama supporter. So in light of those facts, let me say the following:
    1. I think all politicians are opportunists
    2. I sure don’t hope that people judge, evaluate and/or condemn me based strictly on my friends (that’s a scary thought. Seriously, you should see some of those losers). You have to look at the whole package, not just focus on one little piece of the puzzle. Although in your case I totally understand that you are just having a hard time getting past that point. I get it.
    3. Obama on his worst day, to me, will always be favorable to Palin on her best.
    4. I decided long ago that nothing I say will ever change anyone’s mind, so I stopped trying. I hope you find the answers and peace that you are searching for.

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  21. Heidi 21

    I am on a homeschooling board. I don’t know many of the members past. In many cases I don’t even know what they do professionally in the present. Are main focus is attending to homeschooling concerns in our community of 250 families. We often meet in neutral places but sometimes we meet someone’s home. I would hate to be accused of convorting with a member that may have a past that I was unaware of.

    I am actually on the fence and leaning towards Obama. There is no doubt that many people serve on boards and coalitions that are unaware of their co-members activities. I am sure that McCain and Palin have as well.

    :) Thanks for giving me something else to think about!

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  22. ntsc 22

    Ayers was fighting against an illegal war, brought through Congress on what turned out to be known false documentation.

    He watched 50,000 men and women his age die to support the egos of the like of Johnson, McNamara and Nixon, not to mention Dr. K.

    Any case against him was so tainted by the non-constitution methods used by the police that no action has ever been brought.

    All, I repeat, all of the founding fathers were willing to use violence, often at their personal hand, to oust a government that was frankly more benign than that of Johnson or Nixon.

    I’m fairly certain he was one of several sleeping in the lounge of my dorm floor at college in the 60s – not running but recruiting.

    Frankly most of us didn’t like either the SDS or the Weathermen, yes they were leftist, but they were also fascist, unsuccessful, and thought the only postition in the oraganization for women was supine.

    And for what it is worth I spent 68-71 in the Regular Army.

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  23. Candy 23

    Whoo. There are a lot of very well informed opinions here already. Mine are less informed, probably, as I’m no political pundit, but here is my 2 cents.

    First I should tell you, Barack Obama has my vote and has had it for months now. Nothing is going to change that. So this may be biased in that direction.

    William Ayers, and many others, were radicals at a time when America was moving in a direction that many people were finding troublesome. Young men were going off to die in a foreign land for a cause we didn’t understand. He was one of many who chose radical, violent responses to voice his disgust with that. And he paid the price, in so much as he lived a life “underground” for many years.

    Still, he rejoined society, and became someone influential enough to sit on a committee whose goals are to be commended. The Woods Fund creates opportunities through funding of non-profit organizations for people and communities who are struggling. I think the world needs more of those kinds of institutions, and fewer investment banks. But that’s just me.

    If a candidate running for president turned down an opportunity to sit on the board of such an institution in his early years, because he found the 40-year-old actions of one of the board members unacceptable, I would be more concerned. Because sometimes, the means do justify the ends. If the Woods Fund helped people, and Obama and Ayers shook hands over the tables a few times, I’m ok with that. The meet and greet…well whatever. It takes money to hoist a presidential campaign. And Ayers had access to it. It doesn’t mean Obama condones his behavior. It only means that if you want it to.

    I think the bottom line is, if you don’t want to vote for Obama, this will be one of the many things that will clinch it for you. And if you do want to vote for him, you will find no problem with it. It’s all about your point of view.

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  24. Rachel 24

    I think this is the “liberal” media making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Many posters here, particularly Oliver Hill, have made some good points about politicians of all stripes having associations at different times in their lives that are unsavory. Look at the sleazebags the Bush administration has had supporting it. Do you really think John McCain only surrounds himself with wholesome characters?

    Are you really going to have a bad association with someone who has allied himself with someone who did something bad ALMOLST FORTY YEARS AGO? This should’t be relevant anymore. Again, this is the “liberal” media trying to make a man look bad.

    Stop thinking of Obama as a radical. He’s not. He’s a centrist with some liberal leanings. Let me tell you something, I am pretty much supporting Obama because he’s the lesser of two evils at this point. He was not my first choice in the primaries. Do you know why he wasn’t my first choice? It was because he is too conservative for my taste. He’s too pro-war (he believes the US should police the world). He’s too pro a lot of things I”m against. My top choices for POTUS were John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich because they want REAL change.

    John McCain is going to be more of the same. Obama will be slightly less of the same.

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  25. Tracy 25

    I agree with those that have already mentioned that all politicians are opportunists. So lets just say that area is a level playing field. I also agree with those that say Palin is very scary. If you haven’t already, please get to know what she’s all about because McCain’s health isn’t too good and she’d be next in line.

    Lastly, I believe before anyone votes for a warmonger (and he has already said he’ll keep the fighting going and possibly bring back the draft), you need to look at your children and decide which one you’ll offer up. If you vote for war, you should be willing to help pay the price.

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  26. Fran 26

    Unfortunately I will not be able to add anything to this discussion because I will not be voting for him.

    But I hope you have a wonderful Thursday!

    Frannycakes

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  27. I am voting for the lesser of two evils in November. Do the math. And it’s Obama.

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  28. Shelly 28

    I am 100% with you on this one. I want to like him too but this is the one thing that really bothers me as well. How can you attend a church and listen to that hate for so long and not have the same beliefs as your preacher. If I went to a church where the preacher spewed that kind of stupidity I would opt to find another place of worship.

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  29. Stephanie 29

    I agree with you. AND I am further concerned with the church affiliation that Obama had in Chicago. You cannot attend a church for over 20 years and be a member and listen to all the ANTI-AMERICAN homilies and NOT be affected and swayed towards Anti-American viewpoints.

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  30. Can’t help you, the man continues to mystify me on a daily basis.

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  31. Harmony 31

    I currently am taking up space in the middle of thr road, this election. I have never felt so conflicted..in my life. Everything about this election, seems to frustrate me. And..yes, in the end it will be a vote towards the lesser of two evils….I am just waiting to see, what is still to come. Sorry…no help here.

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  32. I would love to convince you but I too need help. I do not have confidence in either candidate at this moment. It may just come down to settling for who is the lesser of the 2 evils. If these guys are the best of the best of their respective parties we as a country need to step up and do a DAMN better job next time as this time we sucked.

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  33. Cassie 33

    Very well written post, my friend.

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  34. Wow – lots of great answers here. I agree that there are still things that make me leery too … BUT … I feel that with Obama there seems to be hope and regeneration both domestically and internationally. I don’t buy into the whole, “judge a man by who they hang with” because I have plenty of friends that I choose to have in my life that aren’t the best. I believe it’s my place to be a better person for them to see they too can be better.

    McCain has been in Bush’s back pocket for way too many years to now just jump out and say … “I was just playing the game – I’m still the ‘maverick'”. I think that he’s going to have that stigma for a lot of people for a very long time.

    Neither of them are perfect. Heck, I’ve not seen a politician who is yet. For me, I believe we need a change. I’m just trying to determine who I think will be able to facilitate the best changes.

    :: grabs a seat on the fence to watch the debates ::

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  35. ELRA 35

    Jenny, I am with you on this one. Totally agree!

    Cathy, I am afraid I have similar feeling about him, I didn’t even know his association with Ayers.

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  36. ELRA 36

    Jenny, I am with you on this one! Totally agree!

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  37. ELRA 37

    Cathy,
    I am afraid I can’t help you with this. I need help myself. I didn’t even know that he was (is) associated with Ayer.

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  38. sassy 38

    I was a teenager when my brother went to vietnam, he was 18.

    Perhaps it is hard to understand people like William Ayers if you did`nt live through Viet Nam. I don`t condone the violence that erupted in this country during that war, but i understand the anger, the passion, and the frustrations that fueled it.

    My brother lived to come home from Viet Nam, a soldier who people spit on, a soldier who people called him a baby killer, today, we would be outraged hearing these things, thank God. But back then, that was the norm. Fifteen years after my brother returned from Viet Nam, he killed himself. His tormented soul could no longer live with his memories. Fifty thousand men died in Viet Nam, and fifty thousand took their own lives after returning home from Viet Nam.

    The Viet Nam war did many things to many people. I would be much more critical of Barack Obama if he had been chums with the likes of Jane Fonda, who walks around to this day with the word Traitor on her forehead.

    An understanding of those times might help you understand william Ayers better.

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  39. laura 39

    If you have any interest in civil equality in this country, chances are you’re going to be rubbing shoulders with people of questionable, Vietnam-era pasts. Those people are the cornerstone of most peace and social justice groups nowadays! For Obama to disassociate himself with every character with a shady past AS WELL AS continue his admirable work in his community would be impossible and, I think, very unfortunate.

    The Woods Fund is in no way is it a terrorist, anti-American, or militant group. Ayers is on the Woods Fund board along with a number of other upstanding Chicago citizens. He is also a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. If he was still dangerous, militant activist – or even a voice spreading poisonous propaganda – I highly doubt that he’d hold either of those positions.

    The hullabaloo about the Ayers-Obama connection asks you to make a huge leap in logic – “Because we have common goals in the here-and-now, I would have unequivocally aligned myself with your stances and actions in the past.”

    That’s just silly!

    I think this article, although it is rather scathing in tone, articulates it well: link to suntimes.com

    And, for your consideration, three of the best articles I’ve read on our current election choices:

    link to nydailynews.com
    link to ft.com
    link to dmagazine.com

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  40. sassy 40

    We saw only a little bit of the good reverands sermon, how do we know he preached that for 20 years? I have also heard of the good he has done.

    I cannot judge the man because of what his minister says or does. because i don`t hold the congregations responsible for the Tammy Fayes and Jim Bakers.

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  41. angryflower 41

    I can tell you one thing as a non-American, if you vote McCain in your country will be disliked even more intensely, if that’s possible.

    Not that anyone cares about that in the US.

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  42. vanessa 42

    Obama’s answer from debate in april08:

    This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense, George.

    That is enough for me. I feel like Obama is a genuine person and do not think lesser of him due to certain associations, including this. The boards they served on together were for good, non-profit causes, and the “meet and greet” does not bother me either.

    But then again… what do I know… In the end it comes down to how you really feel about that and other factors important to you. I wish us all luck :)

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  43. melissa 43

    Hi Cathy,
    I wasn’t going to respond to this but now I feel I have to put my nose in. Sorta. I am not voting Obama. I agree that you can’t go to a church that’s anti American and talks poorly of whites. Thats final. Its called discrimination!!!!! Just like I wouldn’t vote for David Duke. Unfortunately your past does have to do with the present. I care that my people died in Vietnam, my own family members included, that does not give ANY PERSON the right to do what David Ayers did. He should have been their fighting with his fellow man until the bitter end. Not spreading hate

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  44. Thank you for the insight…I had no idea.
    I appreciate your point of view…

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  45. Alanna 45

    I can’t even read everyone’s input above without getting upset that people are actually NOT voting Obama. :(

    All I can say is I wholeheartedly agree with those who say there are FAR more scary things about Palin than Obama! That woman is the devil in disguise. Please, for the sake of our country’s future, vote OBAMA!!!!!

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  46. Mrs. L 46

    I’ve would of asked folks to convince me why I should vote for McCain/Palin. Then compare the two. Every time I do that it comes back to Obama. Doesn’t matter if I like Obama or not, to me at this point is “who would be best between the two” (or four actually).

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  47. Sarah 47

    No one has mentioned it yet, so here’s an Obama quote on Ayers from April 17:

    And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.

    From link to iht.com

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  48. Cathy,
    I would never try to convince you of anything. I think you should vote for whomever fits your values.

    I know I could never vote for a candidate that had no sense of the true financial crisis we are flirting with nor someone who believed that their values system should be come mine.

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  49. Christy 49

    I cannot and will not vote for Obama, for the simple fact that he voted for the bill allowing warrantless wiretapping. I feel that people should NOT be afraid of their government.

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  50. Erin 50

    I agree that this is America and everyone deserves a second chance but not when it comes to running our Nation. This is where I draw the line. I wouldn’t vote for Obama if he were the only one running. Seriously, I would write in a name. I am still considering it. I feel that this is the worst election in history and both candidates are horrible. But the lesser of the evils is clearly McCain. Sorry, I won’t be able to convince you to go for Obama cause I think he will destroy our wonderful Country.

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  51. A candidate’s past really isn’t a factor in my decision, to be honest. I look at his legislative or gubenotrial record, of course, but see where the candidate stands on the issues is more important to me. I support Obama, not because I “like” him, but because his ideas resonate with me and he has voiced support (and acted upon those assertions) for the causes and beliefs I hold. I disagree with McCain and Palin on several fundamental issues, so I can’t vote for them.

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  52. ”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.”

    New York Times, Sept 11, 2001

    Now … where’s the part about being caught up in a “moment” of anger? That’s a long moment. Sorry, this 2nd chance defense is hokey. You don’t have to hold this against Ayers, but to sweep it away is disingenuous. He’s certainly not running away from anything he did; in fact, I’d say he’s pretty proudly taking credit for it.

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  53. We are known by the company we keep . . . and the votes we cast.

    I vote on more than spun-sugar campaign promises. We have access to a candidate’s votes, historical information, and direct statements/actions reflecting character. We the people are responsible for asking the questions to satisfy ourselves before we vote. The choice is stark in this election. Now what do you value in life? What do you expect in a president? What do you want your children’s future to hold? How many taxes are you willing to pay to fund the “promises”?

    While you’re sitting on the fence grab your laptop and answer some of your questions. It’s not simply a feeling …. it’s a vote with responsibility and opportunities and consequences.

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  54. pysmatic 54

    He may have attended for many reasons (maybe to hear the other side for example). I give him the benefit of the doubt. why? Because he loves his white grandparents too. You can’t harbor such hatred against people you love. Did you hear Obama’s speech on race? It was good.

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  55. pysmatic 55

    Oh I want Kucinich to be president too. Imagine a Department of Peace.

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  56. pysmati 56

    What do you think Obama will do to destroy the country? I am genuinely curious.

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  57. The political commercials of both men have convinced me I am doomed , whoever wins.

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  58. The 1960’s and the Vietnam war was a tragic time in our country. Both my brothers served in Vietnam and both came home – but certainly not unscathed. It’s hard for people now to realize how horrible it was. There was a mandatory draft requiring all 18 yr old males to register. Those who could got college deferments, or physical disqualifications, or enlisted in the least dangerous option, like G.W. Bush (Nat’l Guard) or Bill Clinton (Oxford). Some left for Canada or Mexico. All the rest were shipped to Vietnam and the caskets kept coming & coming & coming. There were riots in the streets, riots on college campuses, shattered families, and a government which turned a blind eye and deaf ear to everything. The young men who served were called “baby killers” and the ones who didn’t were “draft dodging scum”. One of my high school friends shot himself in the foot, by accident, in order to be sent home. He still walks with a limp. In short, it made people do crazy things – which is not an excuse for Mr. Ayers, only an explanation of that period of our history.

    As for why I am choosing Obama – I believe it is time for us to stop looking backward and to start looking to our future. I feel the Democrats wanted to go back to the Clinton years, and the Republicans want to return to Reagan years. But both those times are gone and are not coming back. We live in a changing world now and need a leader who can help us go foward. I feel Obama has a better chance of doing that, for reasons too lengthy for this post!

    As far as associating with unsavory characters, the President will be called upon to do that many times in 4 years: dictators, tyrants, crooks, liars – we can only hope he/she recognizes them and deals accordingly! Thanks for listening – are you sorry you asked? !

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  59. Read Steven Biko’s “I Write What I Like.” It’s short and can explain a lot about why people who have criminal records and those active for social change are oftentimes one in the same. Being a criminal and being one who has been brought to the ends of distress to the point they would rob something or blow something up often can identify exactly what is wrong in a society. They have a eye for this because they’ve seen it in themselves and others. The neighborhoods where you and Ayers grew up are vastly different. Also, your timeline leaves several gaps. First of all, Obama associated with this man long after he abstained from and had done his time for these activities. Ayers went on to make these comments long after his association with Obama. You can’t assume he held these views when he was on that board, or had expressed them at the time. Chances are he didn’t.

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  60. Bunny 60

    My father died in Vietnam in 1966. He left behind a wife and six children, nor to mention a mother and brothers and sisters. Neither my mother nor my brothers and sister or myself would have entertained the idea of hurting someone else because of his death. In our eyes our father is a hero who sacrificed his life for his country, for our freedom.

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  61. I have served with people in the US Army (a greater cause) with people I deplored. Barack Obama served at a non-profit organization which is a worthy cause.

    His past was not related to the present, even if Ayers did some stupid things.

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  62. Tracy 62

    Me too! What do you think Obama would do? Do you think we are in good shape now?

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  63. Nancy 63

    He’s hardly a centrist with liberal leanings. He’s one of the most liberal senator we have!

    However, I agree with you about the media being firmly entrenched in the liberal camp.

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  64. Nancy 64

    No, you can’t judge a man for what his minister says. However, you can judge a man for choosing to sit in a congregation and support a minister for 20 years and calling him your “spiritual advisor.”

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  65. Nancy 65

    Huh? The devil in disguise? And people say conservatives are nasty. Wow. That’s just….wow.

    Even if you don’t agree with her, is name-calling really necessary?

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  66. Nancy 66

    Well, for starters, he would try to redistribute the wealth, which would destroy capitalism. He would nationalize health care which would be a disaster (just ask the people in Canada who have to come to this country for good, timely health care). He would increase our taxes and grow the government which would slow the economy even more. He would block any attempts at drilling for oil which would do nothing to decrease our dependence on foreign oil.

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  67. Nancy 67

    Well said!

    Even though I don’t agree with your choice, I agree that we have to vote on the issues. Obama and McCain have very different positions on the important issues facing our country. We just need to be informed and vote for the candidate that supports the issues that are important to us.

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  68. sassy 68

    Devil in diguise is rather strong. My view is Sarah Palin is just simply a small fish in an ocean of sharks, and it is showing. Devil? No.

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  69. sassy, I’m so sorry about your brother. Both of mine survived, but still have mental scars from the experience. I agree, it was an excrutiating time and hard to understand unless you lived thru it. Best wishes to your family now.

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  70. MsMVNJ 70

    I couldn’t agree with you more…

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  71. MsMVNJ 71

    There are so many great points here, and Cathy, you know I’m an Obama supporter. I WAS a McCain supporter in 2000 – back then he was his own man and I respected his willingness to do bipartisan work. Then after being crushed and defamed by the idiot in the Whitehouse, he goes and sticks himself in Bush’s back pocket – and you worry about Obama’s past association?

    To pursue your dream, and to keep your eye on the bigger picture, sometimes you will come in contact with people you may not agree with 100%, even if you agree with a particular point (like helping the disadvantaged). The key is to remain true to your principles, and I believe Obama has done that – unlike McCain. No one can live in a bubble – especially when you’re working in the trenches.

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  72. CJ :) 72

    Wish I was still idealistic enough to believe any politician had the potential to be noble.

    I’m not going to try to convince you of anything but I will say that I have served on many nonprofit boards with some people I wouldn’t otherwise associate with.

    Besides, my mother was a radical hippie feminist pro-choice psycho anarchist in the 60s and early 70s and now she’s a respectable grandmother.

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  73. Tammy 73

    I am on the fence like so many others….and have no idea at this point who my vote is going to. I think that the debate on Friday may be helpful (if there is one).
    But like others….Palin probably scares me more than anyone. If Obama had chosen Hilary as his running mate, this would have been so much easier.

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  74. Goodluck Cathy, may you get the right decision before the D-day comes! This election doesn’t concern only the american people but everyone else. I hope you guys choose wisely…i’ll just keep my fingers crossed :-) goodluck

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  75. KathyB. 75

    There is so much about Obama that makes him someone untrustworthy and unpatriotic. Come on , test yourself. Write a biography of him and leave out his name and picture….you can’t tell me most people would be convinced you were lying if you told them this man would be THE democrats’ choice to run for President of the United States of America !KathyB.

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  76. If you looked at Obama’s voting record, you would see he’s not the most liberal senator at all by a longshot.

    My “liberal” media comments had quotes around them. The media are not liberal at all. They are owned by large corporations and are being more consolidated every day. It’s the NOT LIBERAL media who have been slamming Obama and every other Democratic POTUS candidate by distorting facts, only reporting the negatives, and not correcting the errors they make.

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  77. He has other worrisome connection such as the Rev Wright.

    Not sure what to make of it either…

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  78. Misty 78

    Sorry Cathy…I can convice you of all the reasons to NOT like him. I pray & pray every single day that people see the light on him & judging by the majority of your posts…most have.

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  79. Linze 79

    I am an atheist. My mom is a born-again Evangelical Christian. My aunt is a strict Mormon. Should my association with them, however close, represent who I am?

    I hate guns. My mom’s fiance has more guns in his house than I have years. Should my association with him represent who I am?

    George W. Bush used to be addicted to cocaine. Personally, I would rather have a president who knew someone that I didn’t like rather than someone who was addicted to cocaine and had to have his father give a donation to a university so that he could graduate.

    Plus, you should check your sources.

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  80. Linda 80

    I must say that you are not alone in your reservations about this man. To this day I feel there is much about his past affiliations that remains hidden. I am sorry I am not an Obama supporter and cannot supply you with the assurance you seek. Personally, I believe that we all need to vote our conscience and if yours is bothering you about this candidate, then you must follow your instinct. I have little faith in any politicians. They all have agendas and will promise whatever they feel is necessary to get elected. However the system still favors the guys with the big money, no matter which party you choose. We the people seem to have way too little control over what actually happens here on the home front as well as internationally. Color me a true cynic when it comes to politics. Even those elected officials who may honestly wish to fulfill their campaign slogans and sound bites will later discover that if it affects big money negatively, it ain’t gonna happen. I don’t have the answers and I do believe this country is still the best in the world as far as ideals and trying to do the right things, our system is too mired down by those with the big bucks who control it all anyway.

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  81. I wish I knew what to tell you. There doesn’t seem to be any safe side to turn to anymore. I’m just plain scared!

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  82. Sarah 82

    So you’re not convinced about Obama.
    Just think about SARAH PALIN. Still not sure? Watch this:

    link to cbsnews.com

    She is horrible.

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  83. Sarah 83

    So you’re not convinced about Obama.
    Just think about SARAH PALIN. Still not sure? Watch this:

    link to cbsnews.com

    She is truly an idiot.
    I’m gobsmacked that people out there are actually thinking about voting the republican ticket after the last 8 disastrous years.

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  84. sarah 84

    oops sorry, didn’t mean to do that twice! Now I’m the idiot :)

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  85. I do not mind shoes in my house. I feel uncomfortable removing my shoes if I do not know the owners of the home very well or if it is a very dressy, social occasion.

    It’s funny you mentioned this today, I just saw a show on HGTV where a couple were house hunting in Hawaii and the realtor asked the couple to remove their shoes as they entered each house. He said it was a tradition in Hawaii.

    You are very wise to question Obama concerning his association with Ayers. It amazes me that the main street (drive-by) media have not made more of an issue with this association.

    Very scary.

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  86. If you don’t think the main streem media are liberal, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Obama is the closest thing to a socialist we have ever had running for president. Very scary.

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  87. heather 87

    wanting to feel good about the next president is what keeps me from voting. sometimes i daydream about a voting strike/boycott – everyone refuses to vote until there’s a truly good candidate (can you imagine? not one person voting). we all want someone honest and decent but that always seems to be in short supply in washington. the whole idea of voting for the lesser of two evils (which is what i hear lots of people say) just doesn’t appeal to me. i want someone i can actually believe in and support with my vote – not just say “oh, he sucked less than the other guy.”

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  88. Oliver 88

    Did you actually write niggling?

    Wake up, sheeple! There is a clear separation between church and state. America is a country founded on religious freedom, but that doesn’t mean our president should be “talking to a god”. Look where that has gotten us now…

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  89. Obama keeps needing to start over and second chances. I can not really look at his record and see any sort of accomplishment besides getting the nomination. I am not comfortable with how he handles situations. Wait and see approach.
    Except also his nefarious associations. The reverend Wright thing was not bad you can see how that might happen but the Bill Ayers thing makes me think he has poor judgement. Plus not to mention it said around that they squandered a millions at that foundation and it was not really sure what happened with that. I am obviously a republican but in 1996 I did not vote because I hated Bob Dole. Its hard because you want to have great confidence in who you are voting for. Personally Obama is no where near ready for the duty. I watched his speech when he was an illinois senator at the DNC. I thought it was a great speech, but that isn’t enough. When I look at him possibly running the country Me, a Hillary Hater sort of wants her back, because she is at least a bit moderate on things. Obama is still an unknown quantity and that is scary. The more I do get to know things about him, the less I think he should be any where near the oval office.

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  90. Tipper 90

    I have the same feelings you do.

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  91. My husband is a Vietnam vet, and he would agree with your statements, as would my 4 veteran sons.

    We can have 4 more years of George Bush, or we can try something different. Change is scary especially in the situation our country is in right now. But somehow we’ve got to change course. I’m a terribly disappointed Hillary supporter, and I’m having trouble with Obama. But I’m terrified of four more years of what we’ve already had. I still have one son in the military. I want someone with some solid common sense and judgment. McCain? I respect the man, but I don’t believe in him, and I’m completely underwhelmed by his running mate.

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  92. Nancy 92

    I have seen Obama’s voting record. It’s pretty liberal!

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  93. Nancy 93

    Nice. First you call her a nasty name. Then you say you can’t understand how anyone could have an opinion that differs from yours. Nice.

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  94. Nancy 94

    This issue has nothing to do with separation of church and state. Nobody is saying Obama doesn’t have the right to worship wherever he wants or not worship.It has everything to do with a pastor spewing hateful, racist things about our country from a pulpit and Obama sitting there for 20 years listening to it and choosing this man as a “spiritual advisor.”

    As far as your “sheeple” comment, the same could be said of either side. Just because someone happens to agree with someone else doesn’t necessarily mean that they haven’t thought about their opinion long and hard.

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  95. Tracy 95

    I am curious about your source regarding the Canadians coming here for health care?

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  96. Nancy2 96

    I am a Canadain and I don’t know ANYONE who has ever go to the US for health care. I do know people who have gotton on planes with broken bones so that they could be treated in Canada and not the US.

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  97. Joy 97

    I agree- many of you have said they will choose the lesser of two evils….but this disheartens me, as I’d like to think most of us are old enough to stick to our morals, regardless of being told “these are your only choices.” Why choose one, or either if you don’t agree- it is condoning that which you yourselves say you don’t support. It’s easy to run your mouth- but how many of you are bold enough to live out the convictions you proclaim? Our society has raised us to believe we must choose what is in front of us- but progress is only made when someone has been bold enough to say “I refuse to take any path I do not whole-heartedly support, and therefore will make my own!” Choosing the lesser of two evils is a cop-out. All of you who are making that decision are no different than Obama- associating YOURSELVES with unsavory characters. I realize what I’m saying and to some may seem apathetic- but I refuse to put my support behind anyone that mocks the “Living Word” and I will sleep well at night because of it- knowing that I didn’t sell-out because it was my right to.

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  98. Lisa 98

    I also have doubts about Obama, he seems to be quite arrogant and has had many shady friends and associations. Yes, it happens to everyone, but when you are in the public eye you are accountable for your actions, and he had to know what his church of 20 years believed! Is that who we want running our country? I think NOT!
    As to the comments about George Bush, he is president, but he DID NOT put America where it is today! We have a democratic majority in Congress and they are the ones who have passed the laws that put us where we are now. The other thing that I think lead to where we are now is the morals of our people. When you can stand by and watch someone die in the streets, because you don’t want to get involved? What has happened to us? I have a lot more comments on this, but do not believe this is the place to say them. I do believe we need to take back our country, before other countries take it from us and we are no longer free to say what we believe!

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  99. Kristin 99

    I’ve only posted here once before, but I wanted to post in response to this. I don’t know Bill Ayers, but I do know his wife (Bernadine Dohrn). The two of them worked together during their radical years, and Bernadine was involved in the same events. I think that most people would disagree with their violent tactics — I do. Despite the fact that Bill has not wholeheartedly disavowed those tactics, he is not involved in anything similar now. Both Bill and Bernadine are, however, deeply involved in human rights work. They are involved in a number of the best human rights and anti-poverty organizations in Chicago (and the two preeminent Chicago universities), and they have good ideas. Obama has associated with them because of these ideas and their current ideals — I am quite sure — rather than because of their history of radicalism. To know them and associate with them now is not to condone violence; I know many who associate with them, respect them greatly, but disagree with the methods employed by the Weather Underground.

    I have never worried that being involved in the same organizations as Bernadine Dohrn could reflect negatively on me at a future time. Given the worry over Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, perhaps I should have been worried. However, despite that, if I could do it over, I would not shy away from this association, because they bring too much knowledge of problems in Chicago and too much passion to make the world better.

    There are a lot of very respectable people in Chicago who feel the way I do. I’m sure it was politically beneficial to Obama to meet Ayers’ friends and colleagues — but what does it say that all of these influential people are willing to associate with Ayers? I can say that I don’t think they’re out to cause violence. I think, perhaps, if Obama were more of a politician (only doing what he wants others to see; managing image), he would have distanced himself from Ayers in order to avoid these potential criticisms.

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  100. laura 100

    Thank you, Kristin. This is exactly what I was trying to say previously.

    I found it very disheartening that this post got hijacked by rather illogical Obama haters and sensible voices like yours got drowned out.

    Obama is an incredibly savvy and calculating guy. I’m sure that he chose to associate with Ayers only after weighing the pros and cons of it. Unfortunately, I think he has more faith in the average American mind than I do – it seems like America has lost the ability for critical thinking, as being made clear by the irrational blow ups on both sides this election season.

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  101. Cathy – great idea here. It’s been very interesting to read the comments/opinions. It gives me some good “meat” to chew on…

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  102. melly~ 102

    I think your past actions DEFINE who you are today.

    I’m not a very political person. I’m trying to be but I feel as though politics is this whole new world I’m exploring but I don’t speak the language.
    I hear time and time again, ‘make an informed decision’ and I find that nearly impossible to do. I can’t trust what the media throws at me, I don’t know any of the candidates personally. I try to find out all I can about how they stand on issues that are important to me and cast my vote accordingly.
    I registered to vote this year for the first time ever. It’s been a -very- interesting process for me. And I’m very concerned about my one little vote as if it’s my vote that matters.

    Thanks for the food for thought, Cathy and for all the intelligent, articulate replies. The more you know…

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  103. Carly 103

    I totally agree with this. Politicians have their falls and McCain is certainly no angel. But, I look at McCain-Palin with the potential that Palin would take over if something happened to McCain. And beyond being unqualified, she’s a total nut job.

    Obama isn’t my favorite democratic choice, but I have way more faith in him than I would ever have in McCain/Palin.

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  104. Natty 104

    I used to serve as a leader for a junior high group of a large church. I did this for many years before moving to a new city and my life going in another direction than youth ministry. Years later, I learned one of the people I served with was arrested in Thailand for killing a young, male prostitute. Now, should my service at that time be connected to that creep? I think not.

    I’m voting for Obama and I have no illusions he’ll be able to do everything he is promising now (and I don’t agree with everything he wants to do, by the way, but I really, really disagree with what McCain wants to do (ie, continue in the traditions of Bush/Cheney. No thanks.) What I believe Obama will do is improve our relationships with our friends abroad, he’ll end the war in Iraq, he’ll be VERY reluctant to use military aggression, and, yes, taxes will go up for certain people. The Bush tax cuts need to be rolled back, unless we all want the government to continue to borrow money to fund our nations activities. McCain just wants to push off the pain of paying our debts and make (rich) people happy by lowering taxes. This is childish at best.

    Just my two cents!

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  105. Natty 105

    Oh, and if we’re going to talk associations, McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five needs serious scrutiny. McCain was one of five senators who received money and trips from Charles Keating. I would say McCain’s scandal is much more relevant to the current debate than Obama’s association with Ayers.

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  106. The NY Times had a very interesting article today about this very connection. http://www.nytimes.com Sarah Palin referred to it today in her scathing attack on Obama while campaigning in CA. But apparently she didn’t read it ahead of time, because it states very clearly that the Obama/Ayers connection is very slight. Oh well, that’s American politics. I wish all of us the very best on November 4th and in 2009!

    Reply
  107. Marie 107

    Please read To Teach by William Ayers before you make any rash judgments about a man you obviously only know very little about.

    Reply

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