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November 01, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-11-01

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Elwe £iri9an DuUly
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited 'and managed by'students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.




Trapped for Humphrey

Trapped for Cleaver

WISH IT were easy to shrink from respon-
sibility for the results and consequences
of elections. Deciding not to play the game
of lesser evilism in 1968 and thereby avoid
compromising one's personal morality does not
release one from responsibility for the result
of the election. In effect one has assured the
victory of the greater evil.
And for the black people of this nation,
many of whom exist on the subsistence level
even now when the president's economic ad-
visors tell us the. nation is at full employment,.
the election of Richard Nixon is a far greater
evil. For Nixon's election as President of the
United States means black unemployment.
It' means a tight lid on inflation, the chief
concern of the business and financial com-
munity and Nixon's chief campaign slogan.
The consequences of moves to halt inflation
would be to retard the rapid economic growth
which America has experienced under the
Johnson administration.
In periods of slow economic growth, mar-
ginal workers quickly lose' their jobs. Profits
can remain high as in the early sixties. The skills
of white workers can continue to be in demand.
But the unskilled marginal workers, most of
whom are black, will be in the streets looking
for jobs or waiting in unemployment com-
pensation lines. Prior to the current wave of
prosperity, six per cent unemployment rates
had long .been tolerated although that meant
up to 25 per cent unemployment rates in many
black areas.
is that with oppressive police control, the
white citizen in this suburban home can remain
safely oblivious to the misery of black people
as he drives in and out'of the central cities
on new super highways.
I readily admit that under Hubert Hum-
phrey, the congress will not commit, the neces-
sary funds' to rebuild our cities nor levy taxes
so our nation's wealth is equitably redistributed,
But I do believe Humphrey is a compassionate
human being, sensitive to, black unemployment.
Although his record in civi; rights is seriously
flawed, it is still impressive.'
More immediately, his campaign is based
on neither an end to inflation nor on appeals
for law and order. His belief in both economic
and 'political equality for blacks cannot be
However, economic ,equality can never be
achieved without continued prosperity and full
employment. Without rapid growth in pro-
ductivity and inflation the black man will be
concerned with securing enough money to feed
his family rather than looking for homes in
better neighborhoods.
Black mobility is very limited. Financial
conditions make escape from these unhappy
circumstances impossible, leaving violent dom-
estic revolution as the only alternative-a
revolution which has no chance of ever suc-
It is easy for the white intellectual to say
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he will not play lesser evilism and therefore
punish the Democratic party. But if "his con-
cern for blacks is more than semantic he must
either vote for Humphrey or work for the
success of the domestic revolution which he is
It isn't fair we have been trapped like this.
But we're trapped and denying it will not erase
these harsh realities. Either we actively support
Humphrey or the people who can least afford
unemployment will have no livelihood.
I HATE THIS election. Even more I am
afraid I will be trapped for my lifetime between
lesser evils because my political visions are
so outside the mainstream of American life.
But to leave the system in disgust is to commit
those who cannot escape its consequences to a
life of indignities.
There is much evidence which would in-
dicate the war is practically over. With the
enactment of a professional army, the federal
government will have little effect on our lives.
We can flee.
I long toyed with the idea that defeating
Humphrey might ultimately mean a new more
responsive Democratic party in the long run.
1968 was to be the year of the great catharsis.
But then 1964. was to be the year of the great
catharsis for the Republican party and an old
conservative is still their nominee in 1968.
It is irrational to believe the party will be
handed over by those already in control to
those who have watched the nominee go down
to defeat. In reality, the defeat of the na-
tional Democratic administration will result in
a tremendous influx on the local level of loyal
Johnson party regulars, booted out of their
jobs in Washington.
The fight for control of the party will be
rough whether\Humphrey is president or not.
But ultimate victory really rests on persuading
the average Democratic voter that liberalism
is the answer to America's problems. We are
a distinct minority and in our college isolation
we fail to realize it. Ironically, the leadership
of the Democratic party is probably too liberal
for the taste of most Democratic voters.
EDUCATING THE electorate is a difficult
task which few people will attempt. The most
discouraging side-effect of this election is that
the outpouring of support for the candidacies
of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy has
dissipated. The young people who took ,the
jump into the dirty world of politics are now
running away, frightened by their crushing
defeat and the horrible events at the Chicago
convention. They don't have the resiliency or
commitment to stay in and painstakingly ed-
ucate the electorate.
But the excuse they offer for leaving politics
is that they don't want to dirty their hands.
The moral compromising that any drive for
political power requires may be dirty, but it is
a silly illusion to believe that by leaving the
political process they maintain their political
Such irresponsible actions ,only insure that
the government can act irresponsibly. Any no-
tion that the course of American governmental
policies cannot be changed is based on a mis-.
conception of the current will of the American
people. Policy can be affected if the electorate
can be persuaded that problems exist and must
be solved. But the fleeting Wallace phenomena
clearly illustrates how racist and conservative
our -society currently is. '
The righteousness of a cause in a democratic
system does not necessarily prevail. It is en-
acted only when the electorate recognizes the
righteousness and desirability of a cause.
Educating the American electorate is not
an easy task. It is a lifetime task. But we can-
pot shrink from it.

A collage
of views

Associate Editorial Director
to see the connection between President
Johnson's announcement of a bombing halt
last night and Hubert Humphrey's uphill cam-
paign for the Presidency.
And since the timing of the bombing lialt
seems callously contrived as a political lure
for the disenchanted Democrats, it is important
to remember that a bombing halt should not
be equated with a speedy end to the war. And
the eventual end of the war should not be
mistaken for a reversal of the postulates un-
derlying our interventionist foreign policy.
It is clear that Lyndon Johnson only chose
the path of conciliation in Vietnam when faced
with an impending Presidential election. This
is a significant recognition that our votes on
election day for President represents the only
faint leverage the American people can apply
to the making of our foreign policy.
tragically destructive follies of the Johnson
Administration, Hubert Humphrey is now seek-
ing a mandate from the people to be "his own
man" in the White House.
If he is elected, without repudiating the
war in Vietnam, he will know that a Presi-
dent is no longer accountable, even on election
day; for the consequences of his party's for-
eign policies.
I am petrified by the power that will be in
the hands of the next President. I would be
even more terrified if I knew that the next
President had few qualms about the 'public's
reaction to his foreign policies. This kind of
supreme isolation has given us the senseless
war in Vietnam. I want no part of it for the
next four years.
The argument is being pressed by many
that if I don't vote for Humphrey I am re-
sponsible for the election of Richard Nixon,
who would be an unmitigated calamity for
But I cannot subscribe to the perverse logic
that makes Nixon's appalling' defects imply
assets for Humphrey. I believe that both men
are so intolerable that the ledger between the
two is not nearly as one-sided as recent con-
verts to the Humphrey banners might think.
I cannot have confidence that Hubert
Humphrey will resist the zealous advocates of
law and order. For Humphrey's response to
the brutality in the streets at the Chicago
Convention was that he couldn't see anything
wrong with Mayor Daley's conduct.
has far greater aspirations for domestic social
reforms, the conservative completion of the
next Congress, regardless of who is elected,
will almost guarantee that very little of what
Humphrey proposes will ever be enacted into
It is highly likely that Nixon, if elected, will
lead this nation into the folly of a $50 billion
anti-ballistic missile program. But I have no
certainty that Humphrey would resist pres-
sures from the defense industries to do 'the
Remember that it was the Democrats who
manufactured the expensive missile gap fan-
tasy of 1960. And the current defense budget
is almost double what it was at the end of
the Eisenhower Administration.
All this must not be construed an an en-
dorsement of Richard Nixon. I do not accept
the mythology of the "new Nixon" and feel
his election would be a disaster for America.
But because so many others share my fears
of Nixon in the White House, a Republican
Administration may be the most closely

watched in our nation's history. The tradi-
tional checks of an opposition party, which
were sorely lacking in the vital area of foreign
policy for the past four years, would once
again be applied to a Nixon Administration.
LASTLY THERE is the argument based on
what seems to be the prevailing attitude of
the black community, "You white students
can get along under Nixon if you have to.
But we're trapped in the ghetto. We can't
afford to have Nixon as President."
There is certainly some truth to this. But
I cannot predicate my own political actions
solely on the needs of the black community,
as they perceive them.
A Humphrey Administration would only be
able to enact petty remedies for our tirban
problems. For I feel that no significant at-
tention can be given to solving our urban
problems without a serious relaxation of the
Cold War.
Perhaps all this can be regarded as essen-
tially intellectual justifications for what to
me is a simple moral act. I cannot endorse
the underlying premises of an American for-
eign policy that places national prestige be-
fore human lives.
And I cannot vote to support the chief
cheerleader of the war in Vietnam.
SINCE NOT VOTING closes off one of my
few avenues of protest and since write-in
votes will not be counted in Michigai, I have
little choice but to vote for Eldridge Cleaver
for President on the New Politics ticket.
I admit that I am far from comfortable
voting for Cleaver, who is neither a serious
candidate nor a paradigm of my views. But
voting 'for Cleaver is the only action likely to
be construed as a forthright dissent from pre-
vailing American foreign polities.
More importantly, if I vote for Cleaver as
as protest candidate, I will not have to en-
dure a Cleaver Administration. In face 50
concerned people could purge the Cleaver
wing of the state New Politics Party if they
wanted to
But if I, vote for Humphrey, I may be
forced to see my reluctant candidate exercis-
ing almost total control over our foreign policy
for the next four years.
MOREOVER, THERE ARE several residual
advantages to voting for Cleaver which should
not be ignored.
The 'unprecedented vote that George Wal-
lace will collect next Tuesday will almost
certainly push both major parties to the right
in order to pi&k up the votes of the Wallace
backers before the formidable Southern demo-
gogue undertakes an even more massive cru-
sade in 1972.
One of the few things that might possibly
deter such a reactionary shift in American
politics, would be the indication that a size-
able segment of the voters at the other end
of the spectrum is equally disenchanted with
the two party system.
Lastly, it should be realized that a size-
able vote for the New Politics Party in Michi-
gan will keep them on the ballot and enable
them to mount future crusades similar to
their current challenge to Washtenaw County
Sheriff Douglas Harvey.
But in an election as dismal as next Tues-
day's there are really no right answers. It is
even more complex that most people think to
determine which of the major candidates is
the lesser evil.
And it is more than anything a symbol of
my sad disgust with the future of American
politics that I am forced to vote for Eldridge

, ' M

You are what They say

You are what you eat'

Associate Editorial Director
DID NOT register to vote.
I felt naughty like the time I overslept
and missed my free immunization shot
against rabies. What if something does hap-
pen, I asked, will it be my fault?
The political system generates its own
energy from an unlimited source: man's need
for the reli'gion of politics. Whether I plug
myself into the circuitry or not makes no
Here we are, 500 years into the bureau-
cratic age, (since Gutenberg), and we kid
ourselves that elections have meaning. Ca-
tharsis, maybe. Meaning, no.
The momentum of inertia keeps our giant
government of administrators and hacks in
perpetual motion, even though they some-
times skirt the edges of catastrophe with
highly impersonal finesse.
A President has little control over the di-'
rection and speed of the machine. He has no
rn '.rn nrn nrni ~ r a i -. ti Yts 'i+f

son as well as a personality. This year's lot,
except for Wallace and McCarthy, do not
even have personalities. T h e y are plastic.
They are creating anti-myths which may yet
convince us that we.live in ticky-tacky boxes.
Robert Kennedy's urban policies may not
have been that much better than Humph-
rey's. But the ghetto blacks believed in Ken-
nedy and they do not believe in Humphrey.
There is some hope in irrational boyish en-
thusiasm. There is n o n e in an impossible
capitalistic scheme.
Similarly, Nixon may end the war but he
will not change anyone's psychopathic need
for the military which bred and nurtured the
Voting in 1968 has the same therapeutic
value as going to church or going to class.
YOU CAN TELL ME that if I'm not part
of 'a solution (I'm not voting) then I'm part
of the problem (I sanction the status quo or
worse alternatives). I will tell you that the
politics of your solution are just as inhuman
and corrupt as the politics of the problem.
Vnuit aln 'me in terms nf lesser noliti-

Magazine Editor
THERE IS A RESTAURANT off the express-
, way near here where there are crystal
chandeliers and sawdust on the, floor. One
stops in hoping to get a hamburger. But the
menu offers only dog food, cat food and bird
seed. The dog food is made out of horsemeat;
the cat food, from dead alewives taken off
Lake Michigan beaches; the birdseed, from
whatever birdseed is made.
One complains to the waiter. Out comes
the manager. "This is the best restaurant,"
he says. "You can't complain about"the menu.
It's the best menu." He returns to the kitch-
en, where he resumes kicking a dead horse
he is preparing for the dog food special.
In comes an aged man who bedrools him-
self. "The trouble with people," he says, "is
that they get easily mislead. They think that
just because the food on the menu is called
"dog food, cat food and birdseed," it should-
n't be served to people. But that's all wrong.
The food on the menu is perfectly good for
humans. Like my parents before me, I've been
ordering birdseed all my life. If you don't
m,.,- hirAicyc wh y r nn't vni trv the 'at

of Ietroit who aren't even twenty-one voted
a year early last July with gasoline bombs
and bricks. That's not voting, you say, that's
rioting. Very 'well, call it what you will. At
best, voting is a personal act: what you call it
is far less meaningful than what the voter
thinks he is doing.
It has not been easy to make a personal
act out of the 1968 campaign. One can only
thank Cleaver and Blommen for making it
all slightly interesting. I don't want to be-
labor the point: It's pretty clear that Hum-
phrey and Nixon can't be credited for any-
thing more than raising their voices in
crowds of the middle aged and Wallace isn't
quite worth talking about.
So the only way one can make anything
out of one's petsonal act of voting is to take
refuge in that traditional American lamp-
shade: secret ballots. No one will be able to
know what I do in the voting booth. I might
not even vote.
There will be a president. But one won't
have anything to do with his election. No
hard feelings, it just would be out of char-
acter. And out of the political realities of
who we are.
nv ono nther nnint. One should expect




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