Still Radical After All These Years

Recently the relationship between presidential candidate Barack Obama and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers has received additional scrutiny. Although the mainstream media brushed it aside as irrelevant, Sarah Palin has pointed out that such a relationship suggests a lack of judgment.

The friends of Obama have rushed to his defense, insisting that whatever Ayers did in the past, that was a long time ago, and now Ayers is a tenured university professor whose work on school reform and juvenile justice has won bipartisan support. According to an article in the Washington Post, Ayers is "admired and respected member of Chicago’s civic community." His and his wife’s radical past "has long been overshadowed by what colleagues consider their mainstream liberal good works."

What exactly are the good works that have redeemed Ayers? They are most surely not a repudiation of his radical past.

In an article co-authored with Therese Quinn and Erica Meiners, Ayers lashed out against the widely popular and very successful Junior ROTC programs and military style high schools in Chicago. Ayers doesn’t care that these schools provide discipline and safety to students who would otherwise be trapped in dangerous, under-achieving schools. For Ayers, the military is bad and students should not be allowed to choose a disciplined education. Furthermore, the military is evil because it requires persons experiencing same-sex attractions to keep it to themselves. The Left clearly regards this anti-military attitude as mainstream.

Ayers’ dedication to school reform took him to Venezuela in 2006 for a World Education Forum hosted by Hugo Chavez. Ayers bragged that he shared with Chavez "the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. … Teaching invites transformations; it urges revolutions large and small. La educacion es revolucion." Ayers has given up blowing up buildings because he has found an easier means.

Ayers is not just a leftist professor preaching to the choir.  He is the vice-president for curriculum for the American Educational Research Association. He was employed by Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley as a teacher trainer for Chicago’s public schools. Working with Obama, he has been instrumental in directing grant money to radical projects through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

Ayers has lent his name to other projects. For example, he contributed a laudatory blurb for the back cover of a book by William Letts and James Sears entitled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue about Sexualities and Schooling.  According to Ayers, "[I]t is a book for all teachers and parents, indeed for anyone concerned with the healthy development of children and schools. And, yes it has an agenda: it stands straight and strong for fairness, for respect, for humanity, for simple decency."

The book presents an aggressive "anti-homophobic training program" for elementary school teachers. In spite of the title, there is no effort at real dialogue, no fairness or respect for those who for religious or other reasons do not support the gay agenda 100 percent. The authors encourage teachers to eliminate ‘heteronormanativity" in elementary school. "Heteronormanativity" according to them occurs when schools present families with a father and a mother as the norm.

The problem with telling children that two mothers or two fathers are just the same as a mother and father is that the children know different. In fact, the book presents examples of how children in irregular situations understand that something is wrong and try to cover it up. Rather than acknowledging the children’s pain, the authors apparently believe that if they can force the schools to present these situations as normal, the children won’t notice that they don’t have a father or a mother. The anecdotal evidence doesn’t support this belief. The children not only know they are missing something — they soon learn that they shouldn’t mention their desire for a father or mother. Thus, the children are not only deprived of at least one of their biological parents but also denied the right to mourn that loss. The separation of a child from one or both of his or her biological parents is always a tragedy. Adults can respond heroically by trying to create the best possible replacement for the father and/or mother, but no one should purposely create tragedies. Brainwashing elementary school students won’t change reality.

It is clear that William Ayers is just as radical as ever, only now he has grants, the political connections, and the power to force his revolutionary agenda into elementary schools. Obama probably will not be so stupid as to appoint Ayers as Secretary of Education, but, if all of Obama’s friends and supporters see Ayers and his radical agenda as "mainstream," we would undoubtedly see a Secretary of Education in an Obama administration who shares Ayers’ values.