Dean Millot's Comment on the Ayers AERA Affair
I'm a lawyer now involved in k-12 education with a long background in national security.
Putting on my lawyer hat - Ayers was a fugitive from justice, but all charges against him were dropped in light of prosecutorial misconduct.
Putting on my national security hat - to describe him and the Weather Underground as terrorrists is a bit of hyberbole. As a tactic of political struggle, terrorism refers to the indiscriminate use of force against innocents. The Weather Underground targeted government and military facilities - and warned potential victims prior to their actions. Their actions were criminal, but they were not Al Quada, the IRA, Bader-Meinhoff, or the Red Army faction. It devalues the serious nature of terrorism to slap the label on every misguided or even deranged person with a bomb.
Putting on my k-12 hat, the man may have radical views, but presumably members of AERA havent found them to be a bar to his role in an norganization nfocused on research. If AERA is too radical for some, they might form a separate group.
As a citizen of this free society, I also have something to say. To call someone who has never been found guilty of of a violent crime, let alone terrorism - the highly charged word "terrorist," is to take political debate back to the atmosphere of McCarthyism. "If you don't agree with me, you must be a Communist - or in this case a terrorist (and I, by implication, must be a patriot)."
I don't agree with Mr Ayers politics or many of his views, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to protest actions and tactics that can only drag poitical discourse into the mud.
To paraphrase one historic response to Senator McCarthy - "Have you no shame?"