Friday, October 07, 2005

Bringing a Terrorist to Monmouth

I love my alma mater. I loved it even before it was my alma mater. Its lawns have always been greener, in my mind, than the lawns of any other campus. Its buildings have echoed with ideas since long before I arrived, and upon the day I first stepped onto its grounds, it has welcomed me in a wonderful, fulfilling way. It has been my finest playground for both body and mind, since my first days in this community.

That is why it pains me to say, something has gone horribly wrong at Monmouth College. It has been stricken with a disease I thought only struck places like Boulder, CO, Berkeley, CA, and other such bastions of leftist, '60s-"love"-speak. Moderate, historically rational Monmouth College is inviting in a known terrorist to proudly instruct the kiddies. Granted, they have not gone so far as to hire any overtly dangerous anti-Americans full-time, but they are showing themselves willing to risk the college's good reputation in bringing a proud anti-American to propound before the student body and the public. He will be lecturing at 11 a.m., November 17th, at the Kasch Performance Hall, under the aegis of the departments of education and anthropology-sociology, ostensibly to lecture on teaching. But precisely what subtext will he carry?

William Ayers was at the forefront of the Weather Underground, a violent 1960s-'70s organization which carried out bombings at the Police Headquarters of New York City, the Capitol and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., as well as 27 other bombings, and he continues to have no shame over this. This is the same man who recently published his autobiography, "Fugitive Days', in which he boasted of participating in those historic bombings. He wrote: "There's something about a good bomb... Night after night, day after day, each majestic scene I witnessed was so terrible and so unexpected that no city would ever again stand innocently fixed in my mind," and has subsequently said: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." People died. He still stands proud of those actions and attitudes. And the man who said, "Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents," in 1970 is now teaching other people's kids... what? "Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom". How's that again?

And how is it that the members of the committee which chooses guest speakers for Monmouth College think this man is a good choice? Can they really be so uninformed as to not know his history, or his current views of his history? I don't know, though, whether I prefer that idea to the notion that the folks who planned this knew and encouraged this, without sharing his background information with the rest of us when they had their promotional leaflets mailed out. Ignorance or indoctrination -- take your pick, they're both frightening in an institution of learning.

It's one thing to have an overtly political figure of one bent or another come to speak to students. Political debate, open and unfettered, is one of the best methods of instruction. In fact, members of the far right have found themselves pressing for legislation to guarantee that their viewpoints be heard on campuses (in this, I believe David Horowitz and his group are wrong. Free speech can't be forced through the courts. It must come from within, or else it is not free), since the majority view in many colleges -- and, indeed, most public educational institutions -- is so far left that Stalin himself might be impressed by its ferocity.

But, it's quite another to reward a person for murderous actions and intents, by encouraging him to instruct our young. Indeed, paying someone like Bill Ayers to speak on ethics or morality (of any sort) is comparable to asking Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to come speak of peace and brotherhood. Both have shown themselves determined to kill Americans. Both are proud of their killing days. Neither should be allowed unfettered access to malleable young minds, and yet, both have been treated with respect and encouragement by the far left, and given free rein among madrassas and schools.

If we want the best for the young people who attend Monmouth College, if we want the best for the school, if we want the best for its surrounding community, we need to be asking those in charge of the decision-making process there, "What were you thinking?" We need to let them know how reckless it is to invite Ayers to pour on his charms before the students, especially without their first knowing his dark past. If, indeed, this man is to be made welcome, the students and the public should know -- well in advance -- what sort of person he is. He is the man who, when later describing his 1972 bombing of the Pentagon, said, "Everything was absolutely ideal... The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them."

Will he? Or will we?

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