The media portrays Bill Ayers as a person who erred as a youth when he committed terrorist acts. The story goes that Ayers later vindicated himself with years of public service as a well paid muckety muck with the Annenberg Foundation.
Even worse, in the convoluted reasoning of the press, many have concluded that since Annenberg was a conservative, and he hired Ayers, then Ayers must now be a bipartisan.
I contend that the real story of Ayers is not his radical past, but the story of how all of our precious institutions are systemically being infiltrated and radicalized.
Anyway, I sat through the October 15th debate and found it depressing.
The part of the debate that turned my stomach most came when Obama said that he would require all students seeking scholarships to volunteer time with groups like Acorn or Ayers' project.
When I was a student I volunteered for such programs and came away deeply disappointed.
So many of these government sponsored organizations are driven by political agenda and are often more interested in indoctrinating students than in the community service that they wear on their sleeves. Students would do better dedicating themselves to their studies, or working a real job.
BTW, what I said is true of many of the religious groups on campus. As a non-Mormon in Utah, I see elements of indoctrination in the Missionary Training Center. This system has students in the impressionable years of 19-20 focused on expanding the political power of a central authority with which I disagree.
On the note of capture, the LDS Church was a commune and favored free love in the form of polygamy in its inception. The power base was captured by the right, making Utah the most Republican state. It is possible for the power base to be captured and transformed in other unexpected ways in the future.
The MTC, of course, is a private self funded effort. If this is how people chose to spend their time and money; then, so be it. A system where one throws the coercive power of government subsidized by taxpayers' dollars into an indoctrination effort, then the results are likely to be akin to the East German Stasi.
When people are inside organizations like the MTC or Acorn, they see it as something that is wonderful in every way. People on the inside of a powerbase tend to see it as righteous. People on the outside, however, see the efforts as something which is concentrating excessive power in a very small number of hands.
Anyway, Obama's plan to use scholarships to coerce students into volunteering for groups like Acorn does not suit my temperament.
Back to the debate ...
IMHO, the moderator spent too much time talking about issues where the president really should not be involved.
Remember, we are all supposed to be filled with hatred of the "Bush Imperial Presidency." The sins of the hated Bush all revolve around George Bush's usurping power that should not belong to the president.
However, the moderator kept asking questions that fall outside of the presidency.
For example, the moderator asked questions about how each candidate would balance the budget. The Constitution places the purse strings of the government in the hands of Congress.
IMHO, all of the questions about the economy, health care and education were also out of bounds. Our highly centralized government has the president doing too much.
The president is simply too far removed from these areas to be the decider on these issues. Doesn't anyone remember the ridicule Bush received when he said he was "The Decider?"
The president shouldn't be the person coming up with the plans. The president should be working to build consensus around the plans initiated by others.
In the limited form of government conceived by the founders, most of the decisions involving our personal lives (like health care and education) should be made locally, and not in Washington.
Oddly, McCain did okay with the few questions related to my view of what a president should be doing. He should have pointed out the questions in the debate were not relevant to the duties of the president.
I think too much of our minds are taken up with the big centralized machines of the big stock market, the big federal government, big education, and big medicine.
The great market collapse happened because big federal agencies (FannieMae and FreddieMac) centralized the mortgage industry. The mechanism was captured by groups seeking quick bucks on commissions for bad loans, and community organizers who pressured banks into making risky loans for political ends.
We will not find security in these big centralized systems because the rogues of the world are skilled at infilitrating and capturing the system.
This brings us back full circle to Bill Ayers. Billionaire Annenberg created a big fund to help improve public education. It was infiltrated and captured by people who seek to radicalize education.
Real security comes in the form of a limited government that focuses on doing what it is supposed to do well, and with smaller distributed organizations focusing on doing their jobs well.
The world falls apart when we depend on big markets, big government or big education.