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September 02, 1983 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-09-02

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Ariela in the President's Den


A Seven Arts Feature

Standing on the threshold
of the spooky 1984 tiat
George Orwell warned us
about, Americans are de-
bating vigorously a variety
of nuclear freeze proposals.
For those looking a few
calendar miles down the
road, an even livelier debate
looms, i.e., on the improba-
bility of being able to con-
trol attacks from fortresses
planed in outer space.
No sooner had some of the
dust settled over the Ameri-
can Catholic Bishops' out-
spoken stand on the dangers
of nuclear war than Har-
vard (sometimes referred to
on the West Coast as the
Stanford of the East)
jumped into the field of
Perhaps it was an unfor-
tunate choice of title, "Liv-
ing With Nuclear
Weapons," that raised the
hackles of nuclear freeze
champions. Congressman
Edward Markey (D-Mass.),
who led the fight for the
freeze resolution in the
House and has produced a
book. of his own on the sub-
ject, jumped all over the
Harvard writers. He sees
the think-tankers on the
Charles as "the arms con-
trol experts who created the
problem we all face today."
Maybe so. But the point
here is that we have an
obligation to keep the
huge arena of debate on
the freeze available to all.
This is no time for Ameri-
cans to resemble the
"dumb, driven cattle"
Longfellow warned us
about. Dissent whets the
knife of keen patriotism;
it is a healthy prerequis-
ite for effective consen-
That this goes for Ameri-
can youth was handsomely
illustrated by the recent
case in which a Princeton,
N.J., 17-year-old courage-
ously carried the nuclear
freeze battle right into the
Oval Office. Neither
President Reagan nor the
youthful freeze champion
r xper• - -2ced a change of
mint_ n the nistoric
encounter; but the -nnclu-
sions one may draw are of
major importance.
In one corner of the ring
was the President who re-
minded Ariela Gross, his
young adversary, that he
had access to information
that she lacked. In feisty
Miss Gross's corner was a
rare combination of intelli-
gence and backbone.
Selected as one of 141
high school seniors to re-
ceive a $1,000 award as a
Presidential Scholar in Ap-
ril, Ariela Gross wrote to
the other 140 star students
to join her in attempting to
encourage the President to
endorse the proposed freeze
on nuclear weapons by both
the U.S. and the Soviet
Three special aspects
of the episode cry out for
recording in our history
• The executive director
of the Commission for
based in the U.S. Depart-

ment of Education, phoned responsibility to be right."
Anela's mother and warned
Time upon time, the
that if her child did not President has spoken
cease her freeze campaign, out; all too frequently his
her scholarship would be "facts" have been in dis-
revoked. Fortunately, wiser array. Who, then, is qual-
bureaucrats prevailed, and ified too sit in such harsh
the conference with the judgment on Ariela and
President was arranged.
her small circle of dissen-
• Of the 50 scholars who ters. By speaking out, by
responded to Ariela's ap- daring to differ, and —
peal, only 13 signed up.
yes — by daring- the
• One of the scholars said chance to be wrong, they
to Ariela: "Don't you under- pass the true test of pa-
stand that as presidential triotism.
scholars, we give up some of
Or to pick up where Gil-
our' rights?"
bert Chesterton left off:
That point is the real " 'My country, right or
clincher. Hold tight to it for wrong,' is a thing that no
a moment. It leads directly patriot would think of say-
to the incredible statement ing except in a desperate
Mr. Reagan made to all the case. It is like saying, 'My
young award winners: "You mother, drunk or sober.' "
have a responsibility and
right to speak out . . . But
The first bicycle factory
let us always remember was built by Nahum Salo-
that with privileges goes a mon in London, England.

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Friday, September 2, 1983 25

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