LETTER: Shameful That Bill Ayers Speaking At Highline College; Take Our Poll

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Your paper recently announced the speech to be given by Bill Ayers at Highline Community College (see our story here). I am dismayed.

With the recent shootings in Arizona and the subsequent heated debate about threats against public officials, I am aghast at the description given Ayers as an activist. You must surely be aware of his past connection with the Weather Underground and their terrorist activities to bomb government buildings and kill the public employees therein. You must surely be aware of his book Prairie Fire which he, Ayers, dedicates to Sirhan Sirhan the murderer of Sen. Robert Kennedy.

An activist? Really?

Let me inform you how one of the Kennedy’s feels about Bill Ayers. Chris Kennedy, Robert Kennedy’s son, sits on the University of Illinois board and spoke out at the thought of Bill Ayers being given “emeritus” honor at the University. Chris stated to the board, “I intend to vote against conferring the honorific title of our university to a man whose body of work includes a book dedicated in part to the man who murdered my father, Robert F. Kennedy.”

Bill Ayers' 1968 mugshot, and a recent photo of him.

Now as part of Martin Luther King Jr’s event Bill Ayers is to be a guest speaker. Recall if you will that Mr. King was very much a “peace” activist. How incredulous it is that a terrorist activist is given seat of honor at a peace activist’s remembrance. How disgusting. How shameful of the Board at Highline Community College.

And it is wondered why all these killings continue.

Charlie Rangel
Burien, WA

[EDITOR’S NOTE: What do YOU think of Highline College having Bill Ayers as a guest speaker? Please take our Poll below, or leave a Comment below. You can also email us a “Letter to the Editor” by clicking here. Be sure to include your real name and a way to contact you, and, pending our review, we’ll most likely post it.]

Do you think Highline College should allow Bill Ayers to speak during MLK Week?

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12 Responses to “LETTER: Shameful That Bill Ayers Speaking At Highline College; Take Our Poll”
  1. Bernie C. says:

    Is Charlie Rangel a pseudonym? Really?

    Voting my opinion would be foolhardy. Not only would I be saying “yes” or “no” but then be voting a manufactured opinion. So I’d be voting for two things. Silly, because the answer I’d give would be followed up with an opinion I don’t agree with.

    I think the truth about Ayers is a little more complicated than this. People are capable of change and shouldn’t always be judged by their past.

  2. Lee Moyer says:

    I agree with your opinion of these polls. The “clever” reasons distort the results and are rarely the motivation for one’s vote. A simple yes or no vote would make them more useful.
    In this poll if one votes yes in support of peaceful assembly and freedom of speeh, he is also voting to call the opposition right wing nut jobs.
    If one votes no in hope of more peaceful rhetoric in the aftermath of the Arizona shooting, he is also votiing to call Ayers a proven terrorist.
    If one votes “iI don’t know” because he thinks it is much more complicated much more information is needed before freedom of speech is restricted, he is voting that he doesn”t give a damn.
    I doubt that the reasons given are meant to be serious, but they still are inappropriate.

    • Lee and Bonnie –

      You both make excellent points. I have changed the poll now based on your Comments.

      I apologize for adding the snarky wording to each choice – I guess the old comedy writer in me is always trying to find something new/interesting to say/add, but in this case that’s not needed.

      So if you haven’t voted because of that, please try again – the entire Poll has been re-worded and re-set, so we’re essentially starting over from scratch.

      Thanks for the constructive criticism!

      Scott Schaefer

  3. Coverofnight says:

    Bernie: “…People are capable of change and shouldn’t always be judged by their past.” Really? Let’s have all those Level 3 sex offenders move to your block then.

    And for waffling Lee……..time to develop some backbone, buddy and take a stand. Sounds like you couldn’t even make a decision on yes, no or maybe.

    This reminds me of the uproar when Iran’s leader was invited to that college campus to promote his anti-U.S. stand. Remember when he proclaimed that there were no homosexuals in Iran? He’s a fool, so is Ayers and it disgusts me that their anti-American, anti-Christian beliefs are presented to the impressionable youth of this country as role models.

    “…peaceful rhetoric…” – yeah, Ayers is the poster child for that, isn’t he Lee?

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      CON, As Bugs Bunny would say”What a MAROON” !!! Thank God we live in America Where both you and Ayers can spew your rhetoric. I would really like to debate this with you but as a wise person on here once said “Don’t feed the troll” Good advice! Have a nice day! Eaton

  4. Lee Moyer says:

    It’s no surprise that you completely missed the point of my letter. Scott got it and responded quickly. Thanks Scott.
    And the anonymous verbal sniper accuses a writer using his real name of having no backbone. At least you have a sense of humor, CON

    • Coverofnight says:

      Hey Lee – after having been threatened with physical violence on this blog, do you think I’m about to use my real name? No, I’ll be content to write as did “Publius”, compiling the Federalist Papers. I’m always looking out for the public’s best interest. It is interesting, though, how all this “peaceful rhetoric” forces me to use a pseudonym. But thanks for noticing my sense of humor, because I do agree with you when you indicated in your first post, “…I doubt that the reasons given are meant to be serious…”. However, my strong feelings against Ayers and Iran’s Imanutjob remain unchanged.

      Was disappointed a bit that Scott caved in and changed the survey. Especially after roughly 70% voted against Ayers speaking; are all our votes now invalidated? (Can we demand a recount? Better check with the gov, Christine as she’s good at recounts.) Perhaps in the spirit of Scott’s background, he could have included an “Arthur Neville Chamberlain” selection – one that will appease the few and not offend them.

  5. Shari says:

    If I respond to this strictly on the basis of the question posed in the poll, I’d have to vote “yes” with enormous reluctance because the question focused on whether he should be “allowed.” But in some cases, decisions about “can and can’t” would do well to be supplemented with considerations of “should and shouldn’t.” I personally think this is one of those cases. This is supposed to be an event celebrating the legacy of Dr. King. In that context, a session focused on the link between education reform and social justice seems more than warranted and, in fact, a great idea, given how topical educational reform currently is around the nation and the state and how strongly it connects to social justice, a core theme and purpose in Dr. King’s life. And Dr. Ayers has, over the years, made substantial academic contributions to the area of education and educational reform. However, my initial reaction to the idea of Bill Ayers being a speaker at a conference honoring Dr. King’s life and legacy was to remember a few years ago when John Edwards announced he was joining a hedge fund and private equity firm in order to learn about poverty. Someone in the news responded by asking something to the effect of “isn’t joining a hedge fund to learn about poverty kind of like going to the surface of the sun to learn about cold?” I kind of feel the same about Ayers being the one selected for this event. Surely there are other equally-accomplished individuals in the field of educational reform and social justice who (although they have perhaps not dedicated their lives to non-violent responses to rage-inducing injustices as Dr. King did) don’t have in their pasts a very substantial period in which they responded to their own rage about injustices with a commitment to violence and leadership in a movement dedicated to inciting others to do the same? I think it would be extraordinary if we could listen to a dialogue between Dr. King and Dr. Ayers about whose methods have, in the ensuing decades, produced more positive and long-lasting social change, but, oh yeah, one of those two men was cut down by someone who saw violence as the way of productively expressing his rage against a society he felt was headed in the wrong direction. I’m disappointed that Highline made this choice, which seems out of keeping with the deep-seated principles by which Dr. King lived his life and for which he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. If this event were a colloquium on educational reform, I’d feel differently. But it’s not– it’s a celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy. Weird choice.

  6. Julie D says:

    The Poll – restructured ansd flawaed again….even more so!

    Is the realy question: should Ayers be ALLOWED to spaak, or should he be PAID WITH PUBLIC FUNDS to speak? It’s America, anyone can speak anywhere (we hope). But it should be on his dime. Why on earth is this guy interested in HCC?

    Should an attempted police killer be PAID with our coummunity funds (it’s a community supported college) to further a mission of social justice? Is this the most genuine way to pay tribute MLK? Now that’s a poll question.

  7. Dale says:

    I assume Ayres will discourage us from voting for the upcoming Highline School Bond and give us advice on the best way of bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Both issues I support hence I encourage everyone to attend his lecture especially since it is on MLK day.

  8. Just sayin' says:

    In the ’60s, Bill Ayers advocated and engaged in violent opposition to what he saw as government tyranny and an illegal war. Sharron (“2nd Amendment remedies”) Angle, Sen. Ron Paul, Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck and others of the 2nd Amendment absolutists ilk say we should all have ready access to assault weapons and the like for the same reason, to take on govt tyranny, the Obama Administration, and presumably the 82nd Airborne. Read for yourself: “Of course armed revolution is on the table. That’s exactly what the 2nd Amendment means. It has nothing to do with protecting your home against burglars or hunting ducks. The 2nd Amendment was specifically designed to allow the people to be more powerful than their government and to be able to overthrow tyranny should it take hold.” – Pat Robertson; “Fellow patriots, we have a lot of domestic enemies of the Constitution, and they’re right down the Mall, in the Congress of the United States – and right down Independence Avenue in the White House that belongs to us. It’s not about my ability to hunt, which I love to do. It’s not about the ability for me to protect my family and my property against criminals, which we have the right to do. But it’s all about us protecting ourselves from a tyrannical government of the United States.” – Rep. Paul Broun.

    So tell us, where’s the difference? Seems to me like Ayers was the one who practiced what he preached, and the others are just terrorist-wanna-be’s.

  9. TMS says:

    Just so you all know: No taxpayer money is being used to bring Bill Ayers to Highline. The whole program is funded from student activity fees, which are directed by students, who are elected by other students to do so. And, in contrast to what some have said here on the blog, I don’t think the college will be hiring extra police for the event. Frankly, we’ve had more radical speakers on campus than Dr. Ayers. Where was your outrage then?

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