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July 29, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1969-07-29

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tiy frhB uaty
Seventyneight years of editorial freedorri
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

Making history .in Charleston

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.

TUESDAY, JULY 29, 1969


The American way of death

MANY PEOPLE like to think that the
United States is a civilized society
with a legal system which strives at "cor-
rection" rather than punishment. Others
know better.
Electrocution is the maxirhum "correc-
tion" for first degree murder in 21 states
Ten states use the gas chamber. And, per-
haps grounded in the frontier tradition
that makes our country whlat it is today,
John Sinel110aire
JIT 'IS TOTALLY inconceivable to think
of John Sinclair as a criminal. But last
week he was convicted for t h e second
time on charges of possession of mari-
juana. For this offense he was sentenced
yesterday to a term of from nine and one-
half to ten years in jail.
But for all this legalistic jargon, one
still finds it hard to think of John in the
way that the courts do - as an enemy of
society. And the reason it is hard to thinl
of him that way is that he just isn't. John
is one of the most human and wonderful
people this earth has had the pleasure of
Aside from being a genuinely intelli-
gent person, an accomplished writer and
the motive force behind some of the best
music in America, John is a truly good
human, being.f A big man physically
John is big in other ways too. He is gen-
tle, open and generous to everyone
around him. Yet with all of these qual-
ities John is still considered an outlaw by
the established mechanisms of society as
well as' most of the people that make it
up. It is frightening that this is true.
But equally frightening is the idea that
anyone should be considered criminal for
doing what John did. E v e n as this is
written thousands of people across the
country, including myself, break the law
under which John was convicted. We
break it with no evil intentions. We break
it because to do so is delightfully pleas-
urable. Marijuana becomes a part of our
lives because it is something which can
offer happinessi in a world all too clut-
tered with boredon and terror.
IN A TIME when astronauts have pep
pills and businessmen have tranquil-
izers it seems ridiculous to ,make; crim-
inal the use of 'a drug that simply allow
the normal to be a little more enjoyable.
But that is the whole point. John Sin-
clair is no criminal, nor are any of the.
rest of us, except in the eyes of a disas-
terously perverted and hypocritical so-

Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, New
Hampshire and Washington still use the
Utah, in what may' be one of the most
perverse commitments to the principles
of f r e e choice, gives its "correctees" a
choice-- hanging or the firing squad.
Only 13 states do not use t h e death
awaiting execution in a slew of cor-
rectional institutions around the country.
But a legal case, now pending before the
Supreme Court could effectively wipe out
the barbarian death penalty in this coun-
try, in most cases at least.
The case of Maxwell vs. Bishop, which
will be heard on' Oct. 13 raises a number
of key questions about the propriety of
the death penalty and the way it is ad-.
ministered in this country.
Specifically, the issues raised in t h e
Maxwell case include:
- Possible denial of the rights of due
process because the jury which made de-,
termination of guilty was also charged
with determining the penalty. The de-
fense argument is that to present miti-
gating evidence, the defendant w o u1d
have been forced to g i v e up his Fifth
Amendment right against self-incrimi-
-Possible denial of d u e process re-
siilting from the lack of guidelines for
sentencing. This. void makes the ju~ry a
possible discriminatory mechanism be-
cause of the potential for arbitrary de-
UNFORTUNATELY, the court is unlikely
at this time to take up the questio r of
whether capital punishment violates the
Constitutional bar against "cruel and un-
usual punishment." Nonetheless, t h e
Maxwell case will be significant if only
for the large number of people it would
The death penalty has long proved to
be a totally ineffective deterrent for first
degres murder and other capital crimes.
Countries like Great Britain which have
abandoned capital punishment find that
the murder rate does not increase 'and, if
anything, declines as a result.
The only remaining argument for the
death penalty is perhaps the most bar-
baric of all - that it is cheaper for the
state to kill a convict than to "correct"
Quite possibly, this argument is an ade-
quate reflection of the level of civiliza-
tion which obtains in the United States.
Hopefully, the Supreme Court will take
at least a step toward upgrading this sit-
uation when it hears the Maxwell case
this fall,

SOMETIMES a small, seemingly
isolatedaevent produces con-
sequences far beyond the expec-.
tations of the participants. The
recently settled strike of Charles-
ton Hospital workers - most of
them impoverished Negro women
-may well be remembered as such
an episode. The behind-the-scenes
story of the local drama also il-
lustrates anew the unpredictable
element of accident in history.
It is not an overstatement to say
that the strike might still be on,
Charleston in turmoil and Robert
Finch departed as Secretary of
Health, Education and Welfare if
the critical moment in the true
negotiations had not occurred
simultaneouslyhwithnthe White
House decision to scuttle Dr.
ON MONDAY of the week when
the breakthrougicame, the Char-
leston newspapers reported from
Washington that Sen. Strom Thur-
mond and Rep. Mendel Rivers
were moving to block an honorable
settlement. They had reportedly
persuaded Dr."William McCord,
president of the State Medical
College, to withdraw concessions
he had offered. Thurmond claimed
he had received assurances from
HEW's Finch that there would be
no reprisals against the hospital-
"pending further inquiry"-based
on earlier HEW findings on flag-
rant discrimination.
The news appeared to signal an
all-out attempt to smash the strike
with Washington's sanction.
But it was just about 24 hours
later that the White House reached
its verdict. on a wholly separate
matter: Dr. Knowles was expend-
able. Some time dauring the same
day or night Dr. McCord received
a telephone call from White House
aide (and former Thurmond de-
puty) Harry Dent advising him to
reaffirm his concessions and made
a quick peace to spare the Presi-
dent new diversionary trouble.
IT IS HARD to believe the

pital, w'ho had also enlisted in the
union drive, started a sympathy
In a state that has long proudly
flaunted its anti-union label, and
has Strom Thurmond as its voice
at the White House, the strikers'
cause seemed a forlorn one. But
steadily the outlines of the ap-
proaching miracle became visible.
Largely through the early efforts
of Local 1199 of the Drug and Hos-
pital Union (which has set up a
National Organizing Committee to
move into such situations), the
Charleston conflict was trans-
formed~ from a remote skirmish in-
to -a national crusade.
Initially there developed a warm
alliance between the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference
and the spirited New York labor
unit. As the strike dragged on-
amid arrests and threats and
sporadic clashes-the alliance be-
came infinitely broader, uniting
institutions in both the civil rights
and labor movements that had
been increasingly estranged. Rare-
ly has so impressive a coalition
emerged on any issue in recent
years: George Meany's AFL-CIO
and Walter Reuther's new Alliance
for Labor Action rallied to the
strikers' side -with almost com-
petitive zeal - and desperately
needed funds.
Middle-of-the-road and "mili-
tant" civil rights groups suppressed
their quarrels over separatism and
strategy. Members of the old
"Kennedy team" like Bill Vanden
Heuvel and Peter Edelman 'joined
with aides of several Senators to
exert various forms of pressure in
both Washington and South Caro-
lina. By the time the Rev. Ralph
Abernathy was jailed, a national
spotlight was on Charleston.
Gradually a "lost cause" seemed
almost surely destined to prevail;,
the Knowles coincidence fortuit-
ously hastened the happy ending.
NOW IT IS OVER; beyond the
immediate wage gains, there is an

awareness that de facto unionism
has come to stay. As the Charles-
ton Post has observed editorially:
"Important lessons have been
learned this summer. The most
important is that of the growing
power of elements of the com-
munity who have hitherto been
relatively voiceless .
The echoes will be heard in
many places. Some 2,500,000 hops-
pital workers-most of them poor



T hurmond

tin-ng 'was coincidental. Finch's
office, notably Leon Panetta and
John Venamen, aimed with the
findings of its HEW predecessors
on the hospital's anti-Negro rec-
ord, had been pushing hard for
reinstatement of the 12 whose dis-
missal triggered the strike, A dq-
feat on that front, coupled with
the rebuff on Knowles, would
have made HEW .a graveyard. On
Wednesday L a b o r Secretary
Schultz added his voice.
McCord and his intransigent

supporters were beaten men.
Thus was history made in
Charleston - and Washington
and larger chapters are ahead.
NOW ABOUT the impact of the
strike and its outcome. It began on
March 20 when 400 service and
maintenance workers at the State
Medical College walked out to
protest the firing of 12 Negro em-
ployes involved in pro-union ac-
tivity. Eight days thereafter about
100 other workers at a county hos-

blacks-remain, unorganized. Since
the CTharleston uprising and the
stoic firmness displayed by the
strikersrduring thelong113 days,
Local 1199 has been deluged with
appeals for unionizing aid' from
hospital. employes throughoutfthe
nation. The next big push is in
And it all began with 400 people
who dared to walk on a picket line
in Charleston. Their walk, too,
made history in 1969.
(c) New York Post

Grining America's gossip ,il

TED KENNEDY'S recent acci-
dent and television response to
the American public raise an im-
portant question: not how t h e
tragedy happened, but why Amer-
icans are talking about it at all.
"In Washington and across the
country," declared a national
newscaster recently, "hardly any-
body is talking a b o u{ anything
else." Y e s, he's probably right.
NBC, king of the mass media de-
voted over an hour and millions of
television time dollars on Friday
alone to appraising this event. The
New York Times splashed a quar-
ter of its front page and more on
the inside Sunday - perhaps that
was all the news that fit. And
Sunday church picnic groups have
mixed pure Teddy with their po-
tato salad gossip.
One reason, of course, is simply
that Kennedy's accident comes
when the nation's media and gos-
sip mills need it most: the Apollo
11 is fading fast (the astronauts
are in quarantine) and Nixon's
Asian trip bores almost everybody.
But why do Americans care
about t h e Kennedy accident at
all? The answer is a perverse sys-
tem of moral concern which brings
the public to bear harshest judg-

ment on politicians' driving capa-
bilities and the sexual habits of
the neighbor down the street --
and forget cities of starving hu-
man beings a n d millions dying
ing? was he -- dare we say -
carousing with a young secretary
(his wife, remember, was at
home)? Was he speeding? These
indeed are the grave moral con-
cerns which arouse an entire na-
But has he supported the Viet-
nam war, advocated air strikes -
is he burning babies by proxy and
destroying an Asian people? Has
he shovelled billions of dollars in-
to a national war machine and
starved 20 million American poor?
These issues make fair political
game, perhaps, but we Americans
have removed them from the
realm of morality and the human
worth of men.
Genocidal killings: what a fine
issue for public debate, cloaked in
the sobriety of Congress and high
politics of the Nation. But t h e
subject interested most people
o n 1 y as an exercise in political
struggles, very cold and shrewd
like a fine chess game. To war or
not to war? When we judge a po-

litician for his stand on the issue,'
we focus on the taxes and spiral-
ing inflation which will make life'
a little less pleasant for us - not
the napalm which will destroy the
lives of others.
issue smells - perhaps foul play
lurks about? - and we strap the
guilty man on a public stock of
scrutiny and demand an explana-
tion to 200 million people. His po-
litical career will continue or
crumble according to our assess-
ment of his performance - but all
political observers agree, his ca-
reer will never be quite the same.
Human tragedies and petty hu-
man affairs are. the social mas-
turbation 'on which our nation
thrives. For our lives come steril-
ized in plastic packages: our toilet
papers are perfumed to disguise
the odor of human biological pro-
ducts, our steaks have been bled
and shaped beyond recognition by
the time we purchase them in re-
frigerated grocery counters. There
is nothing bloody . and lusty in
daily life any more. We have sepa-
rated our souls from our guts with
frustrating taboos-and so we
seek our pleasures in the heroics
of movie stars with mighty breasts,
the smut of 42d St. pornography

stands, and in the jungles of Viet-
nam. For it is the same puckered
puritan American lips which drives
our society into wars and into
giant tabloid headlines trumpeting
the Jackie-Onassis kiss.s
And then there is something
close to people, within their grasp
and even control, about petty
human affairs. Moon shot tech-
nology and the operations by

which a multi-billion dollarnation
survives are beyond any under-
standing and sense of control
which a people can hope to ac-
quire. But death and sex are hu-
man operations everone can touch.
If Kennedy's career falls be-
cause his car drove into a river,
the American public will suffer the
loss. But ini our democracy, of
course the public works its will
and a single personal error de-
stroys all the social good in a man
by depriving him of public sanc-
tion and power.
Kenedy's stand on the war, his
priorities of American spending,
his proposals for dredging a dying
America from , its ruins: these,
questions determine his worth to
the people. Not his drinking habits,
love life or driving skills. Un-
doubtedly, he has suffered more
from his accident than our editor-
ials can ever punish him. I wonder
howr President Nixon suffers after
every bombing sortie.
"THE PUBLIC has, no place in
the bedrooms of its people," says
Canadian PrimehMinisterhPierre
Trudeau. No,' the state has no
business there perhaps-but that's
where the people want to be.










Contributing Editor
The last of the four summer piano
recitals sponsored by the University
Musical Society featured Gyorgy
Sandor, renowned exponent of the
music of Bartok and Prokofiev. A
disciple and student of Bartok, a
graduate of the Liszt Conservatory,
and an artist who has concertized
throughout the world, Mr. Sandor
now resides in Ann Arbor and teach-
es in the Music Depatment of the
University. Though frequently seen at
musical functions in town, Mr. San-
dor has less often concertized here;
thus last night in Rackham Aud. he

played to a "home audience" that
was especially interested in and alert
to the performer..
Sandor appeared as a very serious
pianist not given to fantasy or aband-
on; his touch was strong and sen-
sitive and his technique highly skilled
if a bip less flexible than the most
limber of his profession. Most impres-
sive were his concentration and his
intellectual assessment and control
of the musical structures on which be
focused. In all, his performances
were, perhaps appropriately ,in that
he is involved with pedagogy, like a
bell curve: the concert reached its
satisfying peak at the program's cen-

Aggressive, stiff, studied, un'even
and digitally imperfect Scarlatti
opened the program; Mr. Sandor
chose three sonatas but he obviously
was not yet relaxed enough to bring
off adequately their scintillating flow.
Another appetizer before the main
course, Mozart's Sonata in G major,
K. 283, was chosen. The fifth and last
of a group composed by the young
Mozart in 1774, this sonata so revels
in simplicity and lyric clarity that it
invites and often brings out a per-
former's pretensions. (Witness, for
example, Glenn Gould's recent re-
cording of the work in which his
tempos are so fast that the music
sounds as if emerging from some
ghastly player-piano.) The sonata is
in three movements, an allegro that
plays with ve'ry singing themes, a
graceful adagio, and a presto filled',
with hyperactive ploys.
Sandor eschewed precociousness
and effected a nicely balanced read-
ing. The musical structure of the al-
legro was clear and cleanly rend-
ered, though just lacking ultimate
tension in the bass line. The an-
dante proved the pianist's taste, for
phrases were sensitively felt and
shaped and consideration went into
each note. In the presto, Sandor's
seriousness was mildly debilitating;
the music cried to be "let go."

ous fragments but a vision of the
music which saw and uttered the
unifying line.
Such command of the music's
spirit and rationale-and Sandor was
in complete, convincing command of
the material-is needed for Prokofiev.
Constantly put down by Soviet cul-
ture censors, Prokofiev, tended to
bury his true ideas and feelings
under a style most often called "sar-
donic." As in going through wood-'
cuts and paintings by German Ex-
pressionists, it is often hard to say
how much style alone comprises the
content; only in the greatest works
does content dictate style and not
vice-varsa. Prokofiev's music seems
often to say "Find the'real me, the
real message beneath the fusilade of
my style," and how often little seems
to exist at that deeper level.
But the Seventh Sonata is a terse
and effective piece that is beautiful
and moving. An insistent allegro (the
weakest part, I think) gives way to a
surprisingly melodic slow movement
where Prokofiev's usual angularity is
rounded off, and the music drifts in a
poignant and slightly anonymous
fashion. A closing "precipitatio," a
Cubist hoedown, brings the Sonata
to a sybaritic climax.
After the intermission, Sandor
plaved Bartok's Dance Suite (1923).

Scriabin's D-sharp minor Etude,
however, is a fascinating if brief
work. The last of Scriabin's 12 Opus
8 Etudes, this short piece may have
been the' composer's answer to Chop-
in's Revolutionary" Etude for it has
magnificent scope and truely inspired
power. For this listener it evokes the
weeping and babbling Nietzsche
pounding on the piano with his el-
bows, just before he was removed to
an asylum. Sandor played all three
works with technical brio, slightly
turgid; the Scriabin would have been
more effective if it had been more
plastically swept along, rather than
so blatently proclaimed.
Sandor's treatment of Liszt's
Mephisto Waltz - quite a work to
schedule after such an arduous pro-
gram-did not come off. It was first
of all too fragmented and secondly
too distant. Schumann wrote how
Liszt "enmeshed every member of
the audience. with his art and did
with them as he willed . . . no artist
to a like degree possesses this power
of subjecting the public, of lifting it,
sustaining it, and letting it fall
again." The Mephisto Waltz was
meant for just those melodramatic
purposes; as Schumann said "within
a few seconds tenderness, boldness,
exquiteness, wildness succeed one an-


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