Guilt by association; McCarthyism in the 21st Century

On Election day, William Ayres gave the press an interview. He also publicly addressed his association with President Elect Obama that Sarah Palin and the lie, cheat and steal Republican party tried to make an issue in this past election. You can read Ayres side at the link below.

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

Apparently, though the Republican Party, the McCain campaign, even Sarah Palin herself, did not start the smear of guilt by association. The Clintons did.

Bill Ayers Tells His Side: ‘A Bit Surreal’

He charges Hillary Clinton’s campaign with laying the groundwork for the attacks that would become central to John McCain’s campaign:

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) campaign provided the script, which included guilt by association, demonization of people Obama knew (or might have known), creepy questions about his background and dark hints about hidden secrets yet to be uncovered.

McCain, Ayers writes, “immediately got on message” about him after an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, but it was Sarah Palin who took it “viral”:

When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got hold of it, the attack went viral. At a now-famous Oct. 4 rally, she said Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists.” (I pictured us sharing a milkshake with two straws.)

The crowd began chanting, “Kill him!” “Kill him!” It was downhill from there.

Yes, it was Hillary Clinton that provided the script. And it was Hillary Clinton who started the guilt by association smear tactics of the campaign of 2008. HILLARY CLINTON…..of all people.

I mean if anyone should not be smearing anyone for their associations it should NOT be the Clintons. They know first hand what that’s about.

But there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed which Mr Ayres touches on.

The ’60s pushed us to a deeper appreciation of the humanity of every human being. And that is the threat it poses to the right wing, hence the attacks and all the guilt by association.

McCain and Palin demanded to “know the full extent” of the Obama-Ayers “relationship” so that they can know if Obama, as Palin put it, “is telling the truth to the American people or not.”

This is just plain stupid.

Obama has continually been asked to defend something that ought to be at democracy’s heart: the importance of talking to as many people as possible in this complicated and wildly diverse society, of listening with the possibility of learning something new, and of speaking with the possibility of persuading or influencing others.

The McCain-Palin attacks not only involved guilt by association, they also assumed that one must apply a political litmus test to begin a conversation.

Now I thought we learned this lesson in America during the 50’s under Joe McCarthy. The problem is that those of us who were around to remember what happened, ie. GUILT BY ASSOCIATION, are old. And apparently they are not teaching History in our schools anymore. Or maybe they are but most kids can’t read well enough to understand what they are reading.

So for a quick refresher, Senator Joe McCarthy went on a witch hunt looking for Communists. If you ever associated with ANYONE, even casually, with someone on McCarthy’s list, you could be subpeoned to testify before Congress to allegedly answer questions about your patriotism.

Sounds awful familar to me except we didn’t confine it to a hearing in the Senate. No, the smears were spread all over TV and the internet.

America is allegedly a free country where we have the right to speak out for what we believe. We have the right to worship or not as we please. We allegedly have a lot of rights that have been trompled on during the last 8 years by GW Bush, a man who referred to the constitution as “a goddamn piece of paper.”

If President Obama does anything right for the next 4 years, it can start with restoring our rights as defined by the Bill of Rights. It can start with picking Supreme Court Judges and Federal judges that will represent those rights and by preventing the Federal Gov’t from restraining our right to sue for redress of grievances….another subject dear to GW’s heart.

If I want to pal around with a gay person, that doesn’t make me gay. If I want to associate with a Muslum, it doesn’t make me a terrorist. And since there are many of us, who in the 60’s, stood up to an oppressive government and just said NO to a war that we did not believe in, that doesn’t make us unfit to be part of society today. In fact, it makes us more fit.

It’s is time once again, to stand up to the powers that be regardless of their political affilliation, and let it be known, that guilt by association is not a tactic that should ever be brought into government in any way, shape or form, ever again. Not into campaigns, not into administrations, not into regular citizens lives.

The only guilt that should be questioned is the guilt of the guilty who lie to us, use their power to con us, and who without listening to the voice of the will of the people tries to use Joe McCarthy tactics to scare us. It can no longer be tolerated, period end of story.

Let the election of 2008, be the last time anyone has to deal with guilt by association. LET US NOT FORGET THIS TIME!