Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bill Ayers will speak in Laramie -- townsfolk shaking in their boots

This is old news now, but Bill Ayers is coming to speak at the University of Wyoming in Laramie on April 28. This convoluted story gets more interesting all the time. Suffice to say that it took free-speech advocate Meg Lanker a few weeks to get Ayers to Laramie. He won't be speaking on campus -- that's been ruled out by the administration. But he will be speaking somewhere in Laramie.

I like this quote from UW that appeared in today's Casper Star-Tribune:

On Monday, UW General Counsel Susan Weidel told Lanker in a phone call and a two-paragraph e-mail that the university wouldn’t allow Ayers to speak anywhere on campus.

“The University of Wyoming will not be available as a venue for the event you are hosting for Mr. William Ayers,” Weidel wrote in the e-mail.

“As I mentioned in our telephone conversation, you may want to consider other large venues both public and private in both Laramie and Cheyenne,” Weidel concluded in her e-mail.

Quite nice of Ms. Weidel to suggest other venues in Wyoming towns other than Laramie. But I think she missed the point, which is having Mr. Ayers speak in Laramie.

The Star-Trib story also had this quote:

Brian Profaizer, president of the University of Wyoming conservatives, said that while he isn’t as opposed to Ayers speaking off-campus as he would have been if Ayers spoke on campus, he fears problems when Ayers finally shows up.

Profaizer said he is particularly worried that, even though Ayers won’t speak at UW, many university alumni still might stop sending donations.

“I thought that Laramie, overall, the city the university, we sent a strong message the first time,” Profaizer said.

“There were a lot of upset people the first time around, and I think that that anger is just going to be escalated.”

Empathetic Republicans are always so concerned that anger may be escalated. That's only when it comes to speeches by Liberals. Who cares when Tea Party activists threaten bodily harm against elected officials?

I thought Wyomingites were supposed to be a live-and-let-live bunch? After all, former sixties radicals Angela Davis and Bobby Seale have both spoken to UW. But the wingnuts latched onto Ayers with Pit Bull zeal during the 2008 elections. They're not going to let go easily.

And when did Wyomingites turn into such weinies? Intimidated by a little ol' leftist? People in Laramie scared? What would The Virginian say to that?


ravenwind said...

Good writing, and the subject matter is so Wyoming. Just found your blog, via DailyKos (and I'm right down the road from you in Fort Collins).

But spent 18 years living in good old Wyo, and have great affection for it and (most of) the people. Glad to know you're there.

Your point about Angela Davis and Bobby Seale is particularly well taken. Sad to see that the state's only university, with such a good reputation in many areas, is so afraid of the conservative right wing in this, the 21st century.

Michael Shay said...

A lot happening now at UW with Bill Ayers and Denver attorney David Lane and rabble-rousing UW student Meg Lanker. Ayers may or may not speak on campus but he is booked to speak somewhere in Laramie April 28. Stay tuned...

ca3799 said...

I'd like to see less use of the word "liberal" and more use of the word "progressive".

George Lakoff points out that conservatives have been intentionally making the word "liberal" carry undesirable baggage since the early sixties. Terms like "Tax and spend liberals", "Hollywood liberals" and "East coast liberal elites" allow conservatives to frame our message in a negative way. When we use the term, we reinforce conservative ideas of who "liberals" are.

I am none of those things.

Lets use the term "progressive" and frame our own message our own way.

ravenwind said...

I will,indeed, now that I've found you--you are bookmarked!

Michael Shay said...

I like the term "progressive" and use it often. The Wingnuts, never to be counted out, now have targeted "progressive" as a term that denotes socialism, Marxism, community organizing, catholicism (small c), moonbatism, premature balding, pacifism and all sorts of nefarious things. I lay claim to them all except balding, as I have a thick head of hair -- a perfect hiding place for smuggling secret messages to terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Your posting regarding the Bill Ayers speech was interesting. You mentioned the bodily harm threatened by Tea Party Activists. I don't recall ever reading or seeing this done. Are you sure?

Michael Shay said...

We can start with Tea Party signs at the D.C. rally that showed a picture of a gun (Browning automatic?) and this: "If Brown can't stop it, a Browning can." Then there were the racist epithets hurled at members of Congress by the Tea Partiers in D.C. Just people speaking their minds?