Convention of Statesmen

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"Fire in the Night" by John M. Murtagh

Much has been said about Barack Obama's associate, William Ayers, self-proclaimed and, still proud, member of the domestic terrorist organization, The Weather Underground. This group of cowardly Americans bombed the homes of a judge and others, attempting to blow up the Capitol and the Pentagon as well.

Barack Obama likes to say, "Well, he's just a guy in my neighborhood." But they've served on multiple boards together, worked together and Obama launched his political career in William Ayers living room. It's become a he said/she said situation. Here's what Ayers up to these days? Yeah, that's Obama's friend and associate standing on the American flag.

Interestingly, the source I found showed that George Stephanopolous, a Democrat, was the first to bring up the Obama/Ayer connection in a debate between Hilary Clinton and Obama. I thought it would be good to hear from someone directly affected by William Ayers and his group of cowardly cohorts actions:

John M. Murtagh
Fire in the Night
The Weathermen tried to kill my family.
30 April 2008

During the April 16 debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, moderator George Stephanopoulos brought up “a gentleman named William Ayers,” who “was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that.” Stephanopoulos then asked Obama to explain his relationship with Ayers. Obama’s answer: “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.” Obama was indeed only eight in early 1970. I was only nine then, the year Ayers’s Weathermen tried to murder me.

In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called “Panther 21,” members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of February 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car. (Today, of course, we’d call that a car bomb.) A neighbor heard the first two blasts and, with the remains of a snowman I had built a few days earlier, managed to douse the flames beneath the car. That was an act whose courage I fully appreciated only as an adult, an act that doubtless saved multiple lives that night.

I still recall, as though it were a dream, thinking that someone was lifting and dropping my bed as the explosions jolted me awake, and I remember my mother’s pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood. Through the large windows overlooking the yard, all we could see was the bright glow of flames below. We didn’t leave our burning house for fear of who might be waiting outside. The same night, bombs were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in Brooklyn. Sunlight, the next morning, revealed three sentences of blood-red graffiti on our sidewalk: FREE THE PANTHER 21; THE VIET CONG HAVE WON; KILL THE PIGS.

For the next 18 months, I went to school in an unmarked police car. My mother, a schoolteacher, had plainclothes detectives waiting in the faculty lounge all day. My brother saved a few bucks because he didn’t have to rent a limo for the senior prom: the NYPD did the driving. We all made the best of the odd new life that had been thrust upon us, but for years, the sound of a fire truck’s siren made my stomach knot and my heart race. In many ways, the enormity of the attempt to kill my entire family didn’t fully hit me until years later, when, a father myself, I was tucking my own nine-year-old John Murtagh into bed.

Though no one was ever caught or tried for the attempt on my family’s life, there was never any doubt who was behind it. Only a few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse. The same cell had bombed my house, writes Ron Jacobs in The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. And in late November that year, a letter to the Associated Press signed by Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’s wife, promised more bombings.

As the association between Obama and Ayers came to light, it would have helped the senator a little if his friend had at least shown some remorse. But listen to Ayers interviewed in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, of all days: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Translation: “We meant to kill that judge and his family, not just damage the porch.” When asked by the Times if he would do it all again, Ayers responded: “I don’t want to discount the possibility.”

Though never a supporter of Obama, I admired him for a time for his ability to engage our imaginations, and especially for his ability to inspire the young once again to embrace the political system. Yet his myopia in the last few months has cast a new light on his “politics of change.” Nobody should hold the junior senator from Illinois responsible for his friends’ and supporters’ violent terrorist acts. But it is fair to hold him responsible for a startling lack of judgment in his choice of mentors, associates, and friends, and for showing a callous disregard for the lives they damaged and the hatred they have demonstrated for this country. It is fair, too, to ask what those choices say about Obama’s own beliefs, his philosophy, and the direction he would take our nation.

At the conclusion of his 2001 Times interview, Ayers said of his upbringing and subsequent radicalization: “I was a child of privilege and I woke up to a world on fire.”

Funny thing, Bill: one night, so did I.

John M. Murtagh is a practicing attorney, an adjunct professor of public policy at the Fordham University College of Liberal Studies, and a member of the city council in Yonkers, New York, where he resides with his wife and two sons.

So let me ask my fellow Americans, do you really have no concern over Barack Obama's judgment in friends, mentors and associates. William Ayers. Jeremiah Wright. Father Flagherty. It goes on and on. Barack has summarily dismissed them as having no influence over him whatsoever. Really, tell me America. Do your friends have no influence over you? Does your pastor effect or inspire you in no way? Could you have listened for 20 years and been influenced in no way?

Barack's kind of caught between a rock and a hard place, and here's why.

He worked with William Ayers and had no problem with it. He's also said that Ayers is just a professor now. But we've seen what Ayers thinks of America above? But he's now thrown Ayers under the bus as "someone who lives in the neighborhood" instead of someone he respected and worked with. Ayers unrepentant actions were effecting Obama's race for the highest office in the land.

He attended, for twenty years, the church were Jeremiah Wright spewed his anti-American, racist rhetoric and threw Jeremiah Wright under the bus when his rhetoric hit the airwaves. He left the church, and turned his back on Jeremiah Wright, because Wright's actions were effecting Obama's race for the highest office in the land.

After Jeremiah Wright retired as a pastor Father Flagherty dropped by Obama's old church. Whew! More of the anti-American, racist rhetoric, only this time it was coming from a white guy. Go figure. Anyway, I don't know that Obama and this guy were actually associated, but wow! That's some church Obama used to attend.

So let me wrap this all up. Obama never should have associated with people like this and the fact that he did says he thinks like them. Let's face facts, he can say whatever he wants, but people generally don't hang around with people they don't agree with. But here's the problem I see:

He could either be loyal to his friends and the people who gave him a shot in business and politics . . . or he could throw them under the bus. He threw them under the bus, including his own grandmother, and plowed his way through them on his way Washington, D.C.

So we have the Democrat nominee for the presidency of the United States of America showing bad judgment AND a distinct sense of disloyalty toward his friends and mentors. Can't win either way.
"Fire in the Night" by John M. Murtagh "Fire in the Night" by John M. Murtagh Reviewed by Candace Salima on Friday, October 17, 2008 Rating: 5