I am a Doctoral student at St. Mary’s College of California. I love my school! I am also a great proponent of free speech. Given how I make my living, I like to see a vigorous and open debate of all issues.
I know the decision to have former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers speak Wednesday night at St. Mary's was very controversial. By his own admission, Ayers was involved in dangerous acts of domestic terror as a protest to the Vietnam War. More recently, his associations with candidate Barack Obama stirred controversy during the Presidential campaign.
As an academic institution, St. Mary’s was within its rights to invite Ayers, who now makes his living as an educator. And the protesters were within their rights to object. The First Amendment grants ALL the right to free speech and free assembly. Sometimes, in the heat of passion, we forget that; but these are some of the basic tenets that have helped our democracy to survive all these years.
To me, the internet has extended the reach of those rights in a mostly positive way. To that end, I have listed a few links below. One is to the St. Mary’s College website; another is to the "Contra Costa Times"; and the final is a link to one of the groups which protested the event. May society benefit from a free and open discussion of all these issues.
As always, if you have comments--for or against Ayers's appearance or its protesters--post them in the comments section of this blog!
My new book, “Age of Obama: A Reporter’s Journey with Clinton, McCain & Obama in the Making of the President 2008” is now available. Click the book button on the right of the screen to be connected to www.Amazon.com.
Commentator George Will autographed a copy of my book, Thursday night at Contra Costa USA in Concord, California. What a great event!