[since i'm unlikely to get two letters to the editor published in two successive weeks, i include this one here. i think it's actually better than the one published last week. 200 words exactly!]
How many "associations" does a law student, community organizer, 6-year state senator and 3-year U.S. senator make throughout his career? Certainly hundreds. Yet Kevin O'Brien insists Bill Ayers is uniquely indicative of Obama's character. Indeed Ayers did some terrible things 40 years ago. A president also took us into war under false pretenses. A general told us he had to destroy a Vietnamese town in order to save it. Back home, cities burned.
Today Ayers is the ultimate toothless radical, a university professor. "Poisoning the minds of future teachers against America," as O'Brien claims? A reviewer for the conservative Chicago Tribune wrote, "There must continue to be thoughtful books like Ayers' that illustrate the profound flaws of today's juvenile-justice system and society's abandonment of the young and poor." Ayers claims his more recent remarks on "no regrets" and "not doing enough" applied only the Vietnam War, and he has publicly condemned the attacks of September 11.
According to polls, 50-60% of voters say Ayers does not matter. So talk about him all you want, Mr. O'Brien: Americans are not listening and not interested in reigniting culture wars. As Gertrude Stein said famously, there's no there there.