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October 28, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-10-28

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search of mad dragons

94c AMirlign Daily
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

Radicalism and the Holy Grail


420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

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



The counter-oin ratorium:
Invitation to backfire

IT WAS AN abrupt revelation last week
when Congressional doves declared a
moratorium on their own criticism of the
President and his conduct of the Viet-
nam war. After staunchly refusing to
grant the Nixon Administration such a
"wait-and-see" period earlier this year, it
was a significant gesture when war critics
relaxed their blasts following the dra-
matic anti-war protest of Oct. 15.
One might have expected that doves
would redouble their efforts, pressuring
the administration more than ever to
make a substantial concession in the
President's long-awaited Nov. 3 address.
Instead Sen. Fulbright cancelled his
hearings and other opponents of the war
leaked vague presentiments of peace to
the media. Newspapers, like the Detroit
Free Press ran banner headlines pro-
claiming: "Optimism Sweeps Senate; End
of War Reported Near."
OF COURSE, all such reports now ap-
pear to be spurious. The tact is appar-
ently for war foes to offer a pact of
silence to the President in return for a
major concession in his war policy. Ac-
cording to The New York Times, doves
hope to subvert the President, pressuring
him to buy his way out of the war at the
cost of their desperately needed support.
If the President proves unresponsive
on Nov. 3-if he fails to promise larger-
scale withdrawal-critics say this will put
them in a better position to attack an
adamant administrator

BUT THIS is indeed a dangerous politi-
cal game for the senators to play. It
is patently unwise to allow the President
a respite of even two weeks from criti-
cism. Concerted, unrelenting pressure
against the war is necessary for its im-
ruediate termination.
For the President is playing a waiting
game too. Through the pronouncements
of his foreign policy adviser Henry Kis-
singer, Nixon has made it clear he hopes
to stall on the war and de-escalate until
the American people are duped into be-
lieving rumors such as "End of War Re-
ported Near."
If war critics place themselves in the
position of wooing Nixon, their cournter-
moratorium may backfire. The benefit of
the doubt may swing in Nixon's favor
and the population may well believe that
the war really is over. So Nixon would
have us all believe, and so must we dispel
such notions.
THE PRESIDENT and the doves are
unlikely allies. It is a measure of their
desperation that anti-war senators and
newspaper editors hope to win Nixon's
support by selling their souls. Protest of
the war must be renewed with a',view to-
ward making the Nov. 15 march in the
capital the most effective anti-war action
to date. A campaign of silence cannot
end the war.

r FHE TIME will come when our children,
hoping to find historical hyperbole
verified by parental reminiscence, will ask
with the deceptive simplicity of adolesc-
ence, "What was it like when you were a
radical student?"
At this critical moment, confronted with
posterity's challenge to account for o u r
times, I expect most of us will be justifi-
ably inarticulate. Because many of us
whose sympathies seem to be moving al-
most by default, in radical circles have no
very clear understanding of how we came
to be where we are.
Few claim to have been rationally con-
verted to "The Radical Movement," a po-
litical ideal as difficult to lay hold of as
the Holy Grail, and gained only by the
same purity of heart and persistence of
Most only feel intuitively that they are
not what they once were, that their Uni-
versity experience has somehow enlighten-
ed them, and that all sacrifices of praise
should be laid at the alter of the radicali-
zation process.
this transmutation, curiously enough, is
generally attributed to the University en-
vironment. Ironically, the University seems
to be, breeding the very student radicals it
would so desperately like to disown.
New students arrive bowed under the
yoke of docility induced by a lifetime of
domestic confinement. But almost before
they have finished unpacking, they discov-
er that submissiveness is neither possible
nor provident in a university environment.
In the first place, submissiveness implies
the existence of an authority figure who
will take the initiative in making decis-
ions and enforcing them. Where in this

University is there such an authority fig-
Certainly the RA, a student himself and
if not a freethinker, at least a fun-seeker,
does not quality. Professors have purely
academic interests, and couldn't care less
whether their students turn on or turn off,
as long as they write passable finals.
Counselors don't even seem to have. aca-
demic interests, being generally g o o d-
humored, sympathetic, and misinformed.
And th e hundreds of administrators,
boards, and committees are primarily con-
cerned with remote institutional decisions
which have no more effect on students
than a Vatican encyclical. /
THIS IS NOT to imply that the Unier-
sity needs more authority figures, but
merely to point out that even if students
wanted to be submissive (God forbid, they
would have trouble finding a guiding spir-
it to submit to. Independence and initia-
tive are demanded of them.
Furthermore, even assuming the exis-
tence of such an authority figure, his ca-
pacity to make his decisions known and
obeyed would be seriously hindered by h
bureaucratic fences interposed betwen
student and the forces of administration,.
If a code of acceptable student behav-
ior exists outside the tacit assumptions of
the Regents - and one hopes it does not
word of this has yet to reach its desigettg-
ed target.
The little notices pinned on dormitory
bulletin boards are seldom read after the
first wave of exams. And barring a mega-
phone on the steps of the Grad Library,
this admittedly ineffective printed and
posted word seems to be the only way for
administrators to inform students about
what they should do.

in the second place, the new student is
not only deprived of anyone capable of
giving them orders,, but also deposited in
the middle of a mass of other students
more than willing to fill the void. Life be-
coums a very different thing, a sort of
cheerful, incredulous esprit de corps, when
it is shared almost exclusively with other
young people
The student finds his life filled with the
opinions, attitudes and values of other stu-
dents instead of adults, and he invariably
devotes himself to marathon talk sessions
which prove conclusively t h a t he is no
jonger alone.
Life among the student tends to rein-
Iorce all the hitherto repressed traditional
modes not only in such trivial matters as
dress (casual) and hours (late), but more
importantly, in a wide-scale rejection of
the middle-class Protestant ethic and an
exuberant search for something else.
student comes at Thanksgiving vacation.
When he comes back to the University, his
identity as a member of the student com-
munity has been solidified.
lie feels keenly that "his people" are the
ther students. that his interests are bet-
le- served by a peace demonstration than
a Job at General Motors. and that Allen
Ginsber" is considerably m o r e relevant
than the President of the United States.
He wears buttons.
All this makes for an undercurrent of
emotional cohesion on campuses that has
been sloganized as student p o w e r and
closely identified with the radical move-
ment. It seems especially radical when it
appears at a great public gathering like
the LSA sit-in or the moratorium assem-
bi .

But cohesion is also apparent in more
subtle ways that are equally important to
the radicalization process. Students basic-
ally like and trust each other. They like
to be together, packed into crowds where
they can feel the strength of their num-
bers. They like the heroic flavor of "one
for all, all for one."
*And it is probably this fondness for the
heroic, more than the absence of author-
ity of the presence of students, that makes
the' University breed radicals.
EDUCATION, it has often been s a i d,
seems like an endless process of learning
what everybody else thought, a study of
plagerized ideas. This may be exciting at,
first, but it soon becomes simply depres-
Most students reach a point where they
want to make their own ideas, to put their
own experiences together meaningfully, to
really accomplish something that can
stand by itself, something heroic.
But no one is very sure how this sort of
thing is done, and the frustration of want-
ing to give out and being able only to ab-
sorb is what makes most students so sus-
ceptible to radicalization.
It's like a child standing against a win-
dow trying to touch something outside. He
keeps banging his hand against the glass.
Students have given up banging on the
w indow between the University and the
"real" world outside and turned to the
bright banners and beautiful rhetoric of
campus causes instead.
Here, at least in feeling if not in effect.
is a heroic accomplishment, something to
command devotion and song. Its the clos-
est thing to life we've got.



0 I ,
Bringing the eleti

t o all the people,

Lindsay: Best man available

THERE IS a saying going around New
York these days about the man who
was crossing a street. He stubbed his toe
violently against a curb and swore at the
top of his lungs, "Damn Lindsay."
That sums up all too well the problems
facing the incumbent mayor of New
York in his campaign for re-election.
He has been an activist mayor, speak-
ing on the problems of his city and the
nation, facing them personally, making
mistakes in trying to solve the myriad
difficulties facing the most ungovernable
city in the world.
As In any other election, there are two
questions-the candidates' own compet-
ence and ability for the job and the rela-
tive comparison of the available candi-
On the first count Lindsay is admitted-
ly far from perfect. He has not appealed
to or protected the interests of all the
people in his city. He has been a mayor
for the blacks and the ultra-liberals both
City Editor Managing Editor
CHRIS STEELE .. ....Associate City Editor
MARCIA ABRAMSON .... Associate Managing Editor
STEVE ANZALONE ......... Editorial Page Editor
JENNY STILLER ............... Editorial Page Editor
LESLIE WAYNE.........................Arts Editor
LAWRENCE ROBBINS.................. Photo Editor
LANIE LIPPINCOTT.Assistant to the Managing Editor
WALTER SHAPIRO .Daily Washington Correspondent
MARY RADTKE ................. Contributing Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Stuart Gannes, Martin Hirschman,
Jim Neubacher, Judy Sarasohn, David Spurr, Dan-
lel Zwerdling.
son Cooke, Bob Fusfeld, Russ Garland, Carold Hilde-
brand, Judy Kahn, Pat Mahoney, Burd Montgomery,
Marty Scott, Lynn Weiner.

in word and deed. He has not been sym-
pathetic toward the legitimate demands
of the Jews or Italians, of either their
middle class or working class segments.
BUT THESE mistakes and many miore
pale in comparison to what his Demo-
cratic opponent, Mario Procaccino, would
probably do. The conservative Demoent
has a long record of associations with
labor racketeers and Mafia figures, well-
documented by Mary Perot Nichols in The
Village Voice.
There is little reason to believe he
would change his habits now. His calls
for "law and order" contain the same
flaw that George Wallace's did -they are
aimed at indiscriminate, often symbolic
violence, violence usually deeply rooted
in social ills.
He ignores completely the question of
organized crime, the Mafia, the instigat-
or of more social problems and law viola-
tions than all the black riots in the last
five years.
There is a specific danger in Lindsay
being re-elected-that he will not learn
from his mistakes, that he will take his
re-election as a mandate for the absolute
continuation of his present policies
Lindsay has been making promises
galore in this campaign to the Jews and
Italians to get their votes. He must fol-
low-up, if he wins, and show that he can
be mayor of all the people of New York.
New Yorkers have a right to be dissat-
isfied with Lindsay, but he is all they
have right now and in many ways he is
still the best they could ask for.

in the wake of an overwhelm-
ing passage in the House is now
rebating the merits of the pro-
posed 26th Amendment, the aboli-
tion of the Electoral College. Un-
der this Amendment, voters in
every state would vote directly for
a President and a Vice President.
These votes would be counted at
the state level, and the ticket with
an overall plurality would be elect-
ed President and Vice President.
If no ticket receives at least 40 per
cent of the votes, the election is
thrown into the House as under
the present system.
In the debat 1,es that have sur-
rounded this proposal, there seems
to be one clear area of agreement:
That the office of elector should
be abolished, if not necessarily the
electoral concept of election. The
worst feature of this office is that
though the elector carries a public
trust to vote for the man he was
'lhcted to vote for, he is by no
means legally bound to do so
There have been instance of
faithlessness as recently as 1968.
and all indications show that this
trend is increasing. The legal in-
dependence of electors became ob-
solete as soon as the party system
was introduced. The party under
which an elector is elected must
be accountable for the fidelity of
hese moen,sand every instance of
faithlessness and "incdependence"
hurts the concept of two-party
In states where the names of
electors appear on the ballot in-
stead of the names of the Presi-
dential candidates, serious con-
fusion has frequently resulted and
ntold thousands of people have
unwittingly disenfranchised them-
selves trying to figure out who all
those strange men stood for on
their ballot. Naturally, abolition of
the office of elector would relieve
this problem permanently.
In weighing tie merits of the
electoral system, history shows
that America has been remarkably
lucky to have avoided several
electoral crises. There have been
no less than fourteen Presidents
who did not achieve a majority of
the votes, and three who actually
lost in the popular vote.

Careful examination of the most
controversial elections in American
history reveals that the presence
of the electoral college was a con-
tributing factor to several of these
questionable outcomes.
Surveying two centuries of Pres-
idential elections, one can arrive
at the simplistic conclusion that
the electoral college should be kept
because it 'works'; the United
States has indeed weathered every
near-crisis in the field of elections.
BUTI' T'IE advocates of reform
have in their arsenal of objection
a very disturbing point. The elec-
toral college is the product of a
nationwide gerrymander, in which
the candidate who carries the big
"swing states" in the industrial
northeast is more often than not
the winner. With the coming of
political parties. the value of keep-

in a states Ac"oi'al vote bock
in a utit was realized. This of
course means that if a voter votes
tor the losig candidates in his
state, his vote will not be repre-
sented anywhr 'Cexcept in post
nmortem records kept for posterity,
'It should be noted in this -con-
nection that a Pesident is not,
"elected" tmil the electors cast
stnacty. tilt' poutir vote of an
elec s state only uests to that,
leKtAor the way he should vote.
Thus with the prevailing 'uit
rule,' only t otes oli the winner
il ivei state ai'e 'epiest'ented in
the electoral college under normal
A New rk voter, in a close
eleetion. poe tiallr in fluences 43
electoral vot es. A Wyoming voter,
voting in ani established Repub-
lican state. might as well stayr
home no matter what his lart y
loyalty is. It is thle undeniable
trtth that the end 'esult of elec-
toral collee unit-voting is the dis-
eufla!chisemet of not only the
loser's rotes in every state, but the
disenfrachisenment of ever' one it
the smn'i-troutI. one-srt"
states prevalent in the western see-
lOs Of the United States if that
pairty's cndidat es does not win
That some voter's votes in this
d'otiltr'y count for very much more
tani the votes~ of otner's as a restilt
of the system which has evolved
over' ltwo hutndred years is an un-
questionable injustice to those liv-
ing otttside the indlustirial north-
east, thus makine a voter's reiha-
tire strength solely Srn accident of
residence. This disenfranchise-
merit ext ends to black voter's out -
side the Northbeast, particularly
those livine ill "one-party"' South-
ciii stateus.
Tlhese last points keynote the

of the huge relative strength of the
big "swing states," the presidential
candidates, if they are to win,
must at least attempt to woo the
conglomerate of minority groups
who live there. The candidates
must show a knowledge and a
concern for the problems of the
cities, which are so central to the
problems minority groups are en-
countering. The disproportionate
power of a Northeasterner's vote
is the only substantial poiwer' a
black American can claim, and the
electoral college is an added prod
to presidential candidates to ad-
dress themselves to the crisis of
the cities.
proposed plan point to Congres
as a rurally-oriented body, con-
servative-to-moderate in disposi-
tion writh relatively little concern
for urban and race problems, and
suggest that the electoral college
has encouraged Presidents to be a
liberal, urban-minded check on the
legislative branch. They contend
that if a candidate had only to
appeal to a majority of the voters-
at-large. much of this orientation
might be lost, and the additional
voting power of Southern blacks
vould not mitigate the results.
These same people suggest that
even the national political power
of Southern blacks would not be
enhanced by the the adoption of a
direct national election.
It is suggested that because of
the electoral college. two-party
politics in the Southern states.
with the blacks in a position of
voting power, is becoming a dis-
tinct possibility. The Democrats no
longer consider the South crucial
enough to compromise on ques-
tions of race with their Southern
Democratic wing. Hence the re-

and energy where the bulk of
voters are, that is, the Northeast
and Midwest? Electoral reform
notwithstanding, any candidate of
any party would be a fool not to
give the problems of the city their
due attention. Direct national elec-
tion, with the bulk of voter power
located in the cities, would not
change this.
It can only remain to be seen
whether black influence would be
greater in the electoral college
than if taken compositely in a
direct election. Since blacks gen-
erally vote Democratic wherever
they are from, they could becomE
a viable national "swing vote," af-
fecting the outcome more directly
than possible now. The black polit.
ical situation would not be wor-
sened, because their loss in thr
electoral college is more than mad(
up for a united block of ten mil-
lion votes.
It is equally unclear why black.
fear that their gains of power it
the South are so dependent upon
keeping the present system. South"
ern Democrats are not the only
ones in favor of eliminating th(
electoral system: this movement
is extremely broad-based, and no
calculated to take anyone's power
awvay, but rather to give everyone
equal power. Black voting power
would mean, more than ever, unity
in realization of their best inte-
rests. More crucial, it would seem,
than keeping the electoral college,
is keeping the Voting Rights Act
and expanding on it.
BECAUSE OF mass-media and
increased %tention paid to the
candidates. the appeal of presi-
dential candidates has become in
a very real sense national. Region-
al leaders with a limited perspec-
tive of this country's problems

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