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January 14, 2009
Ayers and Free Speech
Who said crime doesn't pay? Certainly not Bill Ayers, the 1960s terrorist who emerged from the "underground" proudly admitting he was "guilty as hell and free as a bird" metamorphosing as a "father of three, esteemed professor at UIC—and unabashed patron of the great bourgeois coffee chain, Starbucks," according to an adoring portrait of him in the August, 2001 of Chicago Magazine.
Yes, that's the edition which has him defiantly--and proudly--stomping on a US flag.
But Ayers' charmed life continues. Despite documenting his sins numerous times here
and in other places, his association with his neighbor and colleague, the Office of the President Elect Barack H. Obama, raised his profile--and his reputation--once again.
He's now an in demand speaker, most recently at Florida State University as a guest of the school's Institute of Liberal Studies. Described as
a one-time student activist (sic!) who came of age during the 1960s
Ayers' primary focus was supposed to be educational reform, the bulk of his address centered on political awareness and framing the key issues facing us today.
"What are we doing in the period of 'Yes, we can?' What are you doing?" Ayers asked. "What am I doing?
"We have to learn to open our eyes — not once, but again and again."
Not everyone agreed with Ayers though.
The lone person to voice dissent during Ayers' 30-minute talk on educational reform was quickly escorted out of the nearly packed ballroom by university police.
This despite a statement by T.K. Wetherell, FSU president
In a written statement distributed by university officials, Wetherell affirmed the university's commitment to free speech.
"Danger lies not in some speaker's ideas," the statement said. "Danger lies in teaching students that ideas they don't agree with are not important."
Once again, Ayers and the universities benefit from hypocrisy; we have to subsidize it, agree with it, or are "escorted out