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November 23, 1963 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1963-11-23

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Seventy-Third Year
Truth Will Prevail"
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in at; reprints.

Readers React to Kennedy Assassination





John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
In Memioriam


THE DEATH of President John Fitz-
gerald Kennedy is a crime against
the human spirit. It strikes against the
highest aspiration of the human race
which is trying, using whatever meth-
ods it can conceive of, to raise itself
above the animal.
President Kennedy was first of all a,
human being. As such his death gives
rise to the sorrow and despair that at-
tend the death of any individual. But
in addition to his membership in hu-
manity the late President was a man
raised up by his fellows to a position
of providing leadership and inspira-
IT IS IRONIC that this act took place
in our midst; in the country that
Americans consider the most civilized
in the world. Such an act should serve
to remind us just how thin the veneer
of civilization sometimes spreads itself
over the United States.
Commenting on the assassination
various national political leaders point-
ed to the fact that the American peo-
ple are united in their expression of
grief. This unity also extends to the
condemnation of the act. Yet such feel-
ings are above mention; they are the
minimum. that should be expected in
our society. But the act of one person
brings all of us below that minimum.
Our whole society has been found
wanting. We may deny it, but the con-
creteness of the assassination con-
demns us.

HE DEATH of this type of man is a
personal loss to individuals all over
the world. Men capable of providing
leadership are all too rare today. In a
world of three billion individuals and
immensely complex problems, such men
are the means by which individuals
are made to feel a part of a greater
President Kennedy was such a man.
This is true whether we agree or dis-
agree with the way he ran the nation.
He was a man respected 'by friends
and enemies. During his term of office
he demonstrated a sincere concern for
the fate of humanity and the achieve-
ment of world peace. Children of the
future will, be indebted to him for his
part in the achievement of a nuclear
test ban.
The death of the President is both
a shock and a continuing, numbing
blow. It is a shock because of its ex-
plosive suddenness. Its numbing ef-
fects will be felt in the days ahead,
when his leadership will be sorely
For many Americans the late Presi-
dent bore the burden of their partici-
pation in the world with an ability and
competence beyond the means of most.
Going beyond our national boundaries,
his efforts in behalf of mankind will be
missed the world over. He was cut
down in his prime before his potential
was fully realized. It is this that we and
the world will miss the most.

To the Editor:
did not die of a bullet wound.
He was raised by the American
people to be a symbol for the
truths and freedom that they be-
lieve in.
He was destroyed by the hate,
prejudice and fear of the very
people whose symbol he was . . .
because .he was their symbol. You
and I are the people who have
shaped this society by the way we
live our lives and have allowed
this hate and prejudice to foster
people who are capable of such an
act. '
THIS LACK of understanding
that we have let happen should
not have been. If you continue to
live your life as you did yesterday,
it will happen again as this act
has already been repeated in our
country's history. You have an
obligation to change a world cap-
able of such an act by changing
your own life first.
-James La Palm, Grad
Too Late . . .
To the Editor:
THEY'LL STAND on the street-
corners and flood the churches,
they'll praise and talk until their
lips are dry-Poor Jack, he was
so good. We all loved him.
The tragedy is not in John F.
Kennedy's death-the death of a
man. He was only a man, he was
shot, and like any other, he died.
True, the life of a very fine,'very
human, human being was stupidly
ended. The murder was wasteful,
but not tragic. The tragedy lies
not about the man, but about the
people that are crying the tears,
mouthing the words. Us. The
tragedy is ours.
a hell from his inauguration. It
seemed he could please no one.
Pressured on one side, harassed
on' the other, oould he do any-
thing right? He didn't have the
courage to press for civil rights,
we yelled. He didn't have the
sense to see that it was none of
his business, we drawled. People
in other countries thought highly
of him, but of course they didn't
"know" him like us. We knew it
was simply a facade.
Our cries and sobs are not
needed. Our support was, but when
he could use it, when he was alive.
He's dead now. He can't hear the
words or' the praise and besides,
it's toorlittle and too late. We
wanted (like all Americans in this
great big land of liberty and
justice for me) too much and
gave too little. The tears are not
for that man, they're for our-
selves. We've realized after being
shocked from our sleep of self-
concern, what that man "did" for
his country; we didn't and in the
days that follow, won't because
there's a game tomorrow or a
paper due or my girl..
That is the real tragedy, not
that man's laying still in Wash-
ington or his sad, shattered, lonely
wife's. Hissdeath symbolizes our
own because he was alive in the
place that we weren't and never
will be-inside..
-George A. White, '65
ISA .-
To the Editor:
Association on behalf of the
international student community
of the University wishes to ex-
press its deepest sympathy to
Mrs. Kennedy and the people of
the United States.
The loss of President Kennedy
at this moment in the history of
this great nation is regarded by
all of us as an irreparable loss to
the world. His devotion to world
peace, and his interest in the
furtherance of the brotherhood
and equality of man have endear-
ed him to our hearts and singled

him out as a statesman of vision
and courage.
His death is regarded by peoples
all over the world as a sacrifice for
the cause of humanity.
-Isaac Adalemo '65
International Students Assn.
Superiority .,
To the Editor-
HAVE THREE apologies to make
and beg forgiveness for my er-
rors. First, I must apologize for the
inaccuracy of my figures stating
that a child dies of starvation
every 13 minutes. In countries
where malnutrition is the rule,
starvation is rarely listed as the
cause of death. It might even be
closer to the truth to claim that
a child dies of starvation not once
in 13 minutes but once in 13 sec-
onds. That so high a rate has not
included my own child is a fact
for which I am ,thankful but not
a fact which is attributable to the
moral or ethical superiority of
Western civilization, of Christian-
ity, of America or of the Cauca-
sian race. She was born into for-
tunate circumstances. But I do
apologize for my error.
Second, I must apologize to Prof.
Clark for not sending him a copy
of my letter as he has, done for
me. I am truly embarrassed at my
negligence of this common cour-

readers, speak for itself. My reply
to his letter is intended, there-
fore, only for those few readers
who, like Prof. Clark, do consider
their current good fortune to be
the product of the moral or ethi-
cal superiority of their own reli-
gion, of their race, or of their
country of origin.
., * *
LET ME TAKE seriously Prof.
Clark's request to correlate condi-
tions of poverty, or of excellence
and abundance, with the exist-
ence of political and religious sub-
divisions of mankind. As Prof.
Clark expects, white, Christian,
Western, Republics fare rather
well, but certain problems arise:
1) Shall I attribute Western
eminence in mechanical engineer-
ing to the West or to a liberal
borrowing from such non-Chris-
tians as Archimedes and the Chi-
nese pioneers in geomagnetics?
2) How shall I credit the ex-
termination of six million Jews
and three million Poles by a white
Western nation of avowed Chris-
tians when I draw up my list of
the assets and liabilities of the
Western half of the world?
3) If I am to attribute the bless-
ings of bounty to political sys-
tems as Prof. Clark suggests, am
I then forced to attribute the dif-
ference in living standards be-
tween North and South Koreans
to the benefits of Communism?
4) Shall I consider such success-
ful socialist states as Norway, Den-
mark, and New Zealand part of
the same political subdivision as
the United States or does the
Christianity in these countries
bring on the benefits without the
help of conservatism?
5) Since I find the Negro share-
croppers of Mississippi and Ala-
bama and the miners of West Vir-
ginia to be both Christian and
American, to what do I attribute
their poverty?' (Is it the political
conservatism of .their state gov-
ernments or should I infer other
6) Shall I consider the affluence
of white Christian South Africans
to be attributable to their ethical
superiority or to their enslave-
ment of South African Negroes?
7) Shall I include poverty-
stricken Latin America in my list
of Western nations or should I
separate the many Catholic coun-
tries with low standards of liv-
ing from my list of nations who
are reaping fruits of Christian su-
periority? Are Catholics less wor-
thy than other Christians?
* * *
TO USE the criterion of past
success as the criterion of worth
is certainly to deny the rightness
of University President Harlan
Hatcher's appeal to take into ac-
count the Negro's deprived back-
ground in order to evaluate him
fairly and avoid prejudging educa-


-Daily-Kenneth Winter

tional deficiencies as a sign of in-
competence. It seems perfectly
clear that the success of one's
successors, be they Christian,
Buddhist, Caucasian or Baboon,,is
not an adequate measure of a
man's worth. In ideals which are
certainly shared by Christianity,
that worth must be assumed from
the moment of birth. I do not
think that allowing human chil-
dren to starve in India, in Peru
or in Ghana while we overpro-
duce and store our surpluses, is
evidence of the superiority Prof.
Clark believes we possess.
Prof. Clark's list of the com-
parative advantages of the right-
eous Christian, Caucasian, private-
enterprise west and the sinful,
pagan, colored, Communistic east
will provide a wonderful tran-

Unfinished Business
quilizer for those who must believe
that the world is clearly divided
into black and white, good and
evil. But the truth is less simple.
I BELIEVE that the real ob-
stacle to human dignity arises not
from any demon such as atheism
or Communism. A lack of broth-
erhood arises rather from those
individuals who define their own
stock, or political system, or creeds
as a sign of their superiority over
others and a justification for their
own privileges. This sin was sim-
ilar for the Nazis and the Stalin-
ists of the '30's and exists in South
African "apartheid" today. We
find it at home in Ross Barnett
and in the Americans who ex-
terminated the Plains Indian. It is
the anti-Christian crime of Dos-

toievski's Raskolnikov, the hubris
of Greek tragedy and it is no less
ugly when sandwiched between
protestations of Biblical sanctity
by an American university pro-
Prof. Clark has cordially invited
me to discuss our respective views
more fully. If we will first visit
the International Center and con-
vince one of his own Indian, Chi-
nese, African, or even American
Negro students that the poverty
of his background reflects a basic
inferiority of his religion or of his
native country, then I will not
only meet with Prof. Clark, but I
will take notes. What is more, I
will even eat my hat.
-Prof. Marc Pilisuk
Mental Health Research

On the Nature of, Western Politics


BASEL--Most Americans don't realize
how much harsh anti-American bias
lurks in Western Europe. Anti-American-
ism exists in all countries, Communist or
not; but one would expect more under-
standing and sympathy from the Euro-
pean allied countries and their popula-
When then Vice-President Lyndon
Johnson gave out ball point pens and
lighters as he walked through Dutch
crowds in his recent trip to the Benelux
countries, a Dutch newspaper, "De
Vaolkskrant," soon had some criticism
ready: "Are we a recently discovered
country? Did Johnson think he had to
give pearl necklaces and pocket mirrors
to the natives?" Another newspaper, "Het
Vaderland," found the same thing quite
amusing: "Maybe Johnson thought we
were an underdeveloped country when
he gave out 5000 pens and lighters."
This example may be unimportant, but
it is highly relevant to the whole problem.
Johnson gave out these little trinkets to
prove the cordial feelings of Americans
toward the Dutch. In his simple, open-
hearted American intention, he did not
in the least think he would hurt Dutch
feelings. But Dutch feelings are very vul-
nerable as are all other European people's
THESE PEOPLE live under two main
misconceptions about Americans. The
first is the supposedly great wealth of
every American. This impression comes
from the many American tourists abroad
who take along their comparatively large
cars and tend to spend large sums of

THE SECOND ASPECT is more of a per-
sonal nature for the individual Euro-
pean. As an Englishman once explained
to me, "When Americans go travelling
abroad, they behave as if they own the
Again, it is very easy to misinterpret
American tourists, because they are some-
what less restrained in their actions and
use a language which sounds very dis-
agreeable to almost any European. All of
this, combined with the sometimes quite
unfavorable picture which GI's provoke
abroad, constitutes personal reasons for
anti-American bias in Western Europe.
A third force at work combines the two
preceding reasons. European nationalism,
which exists in practically all countries,
works against good American intentions.
WITH THESE FACTS in mind, Washing-
ton now is reconsidering its basic po-
sition abroad. Cutbacks in the foreign aid
program as well as reduction of govern-
ment spending on armed forces are prob-"
ably better justified than is generally
acclaimed here.
But "giving Uncle Sam the economiz-
ing look" will not help to solve the prob-
lem at its root. More understanding for
the American way of life must be fostered
in Western Europe through the public
German television has, for instance,
done much in this direction. It has broad-
casted many good documentary programs
about the United States which give a
clear and fair picture of the American
scene. More such relevant programs must
be broadcast in Europe about the United
.Zsc Ri, +nkn in +he TTnitpa t3 gtnt

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the
third of a three-part column. in
which Walter Lippmann reveiws his
recent six-week European trip.)
rope in the two preceding ar-
ticles. My main point was that
the change of generations coin-
cides with the realization that
thermonuclear war has to be and
probably will be avoided and that
this is weakening the discipline
which binds Eastern Europe to-
gether under the authority of the
Soviet Union.
In the West I visited Rome, Par-
is and London-omitting Bonn,
where it seemed to me too early
to get any clear view of what is
to come after Adenauer.
There is no doubt, I soon realiz-
ed, that in Western Europe today
President Charles de Gaulle is the
pivotal figure. The initiative is in
his hands. There is little reason
to think that the initiative will
pass to London or Bonn. This is
not because General de Gaulle is
universally loved, or even admired.
It is, so I venture to think, because
he has seen more of the future
than most of his contemporaries,
and so much that happens seems
to bear him out.
LET US BEGIN with domestic
policies in'-the western continent.
Nobody whom I saw in Paris pre-
tended to believe that General de
Gaulle has set up a government
which could be made to work
without General de Gaulle.
France today is a free country
in which representative democrat-
ic government has in fact been
suspended. Yet no one who has
visited Eastern Europe would think
of France as a totalitarian dicta-
torship. It is rather an enlighten-
ed monarchy, and there is in
France little of the fear which
would make the general's oppon-_
ents, of whom there are plenty,
drop their voices and talk in a
kind of code language for fear of
being overheard.
So far as I could make out, the
general's chief instrument to re-
tain his power, apart from his
enormous personal prestige, is that
he has seized for himself a mon-

resentative government with its
parties did not work in postwar
France. It has not worked in post-
war Italy. Probably it will not
work in post-Adenauer Germany.
What will come next the Gaullists
do not profess to know. But they
insist that' it must be something
which overrides parties and fac-
tions and establishes a continuous
national authority.
* * *
THE CENTRAL political ten-
dency in Italy constitutes a tacit
acceptance of the Gaullist find-
ing. The parliamentary system
with two-party government, as it
comes down to us from the nine-
teenth century, is, say the Gaul-
lists, now workable. It led to Mus-
solini and to Hitler and might
then have led to Stalin.
The Italians are trying to work
out what is in reality a suspension
of the two-party system. They are
trying to form a coalition of all
the parties and factions which be-
lieve in demorcacy, or more ac-
curately in personal freedom. This
in the inwardness of the so-called
"opening to the left."
The Italian center-left coalition
is intended t'o comprise the Cath-
olic Party insofar as it is progres-
sive and liberal and the Socialists
insofar as they are not Commu-
nists and totalitarian. I do not
know whether such an Italian
coalition can be formed success-
fully. But I have yet to talk to
an Italian who had any plausi-
ble idea of an acceptable and
workable alternative.
In the field of theory and doc-
trine, moreover, the Italian at-
tempt anticipates correctly, I
venture to think, the main tenden-
cy among the masses of the peo-
ple on the Western European con-
tinent. The Democratic Socialists
are abandoning their Marxist
ideology, particularly of the class
struggle, and the Christian Demo-
crats are moving away from their
former close collaboration with the
feudal remnants and the pluto-
cratic lobbies.
TURNING NOW to internation-
al affairs, the main fact is that
General de Gaulle got the jump
on all his partners and alliesabe-
cause.he was the first to realize

If we are to understand the real
calculation behind the general's
insistence on creating a French
nuclear striking force, we must
begin with the Gaullist conviction
that, because of American power,
the Soviet Union cannot launch a
successful aggressive surprise at-
No Frenchman pretends to be-
lieve that France can afford to
match Soviet or American nuclear
power. The candid Gaullists with
whom I have talked regard their
small striking force as "independ-
ent" in a special and peculiar
sense. Shocking though it may
sound to Americans, they expect
this small force to give France the
ability, on its own initiative, to
press the trigger that would com-
pel the United States to go into
an all-out war.
** *
France is seeking to create is not
an independent French nuclear
force, but an independent detona-
tor of the American nuclear force.
In these matters of the life and
death of nations and of civilization
itself, we can allow no such dan-
gerous illusion to persist. How-
ever, I am not sure how seriously
the whole business is to be taken.
Thus, when I pressed the matter,
pointing out that the United States
would not surrender its independ-
ence to Paris and that we have
many ways of asserting our inde-
pendence, a Gaullist official with
whom I was talking admitted
quickly enough that France had no
intention of pressing the trigger.
The French are just as much
afraid of a nuclear holocaust as
are the rest of us. The purpose
of creating the trigger, he assured
me, is not to pull it-ever-but to
negotiate with the United States
and the Soviet Union on the basis
that France possesses such a trig-
ger and has a finger on it.
I don't think this is going to de-
ceive anybody very much, and
there is no need, I conclude, to be
too much excited in Washington
over the French nuclear deter-
rent, or over the British. They are
note military instruments. They are
political instruments. Their main
purpose is to give weight to French
and British dinlnmacy in all the

the alliance between Western Eu-
rope and the United States-in
the commitment to go to war to-
gether if war breaks out-and he
insists that he proved it in the
Cuban crisis. But he does not be-
lieve in the NATO establishment
which General Eisenhower once
commanded. He regards it as ob-
solete and as an undesirable pro-
longation of American hegemony
in Western Europe.
He does not believe in the ideol-
ogy of the Common Market and
in the political aspirations toward
European unions which accompan-
ied its birth. And so he may break
up the Common Market .if Chan-
cellor Erhard does not sacrifice
the German farm bloc to the
French farm bloc.
He does not believe in negotiat-
ing with the Soviet Union now,
because he does not think any-
thing will be lost if we do not ne-
* * *
MOREOVER, there is a profound
difference between his views of
West Germany and the current
American view. We tend to think
of Germany as purged and recov-
ered and as the leading power of
Western Europe. The real Gaul-
list view, so I have come to real-
ize, is that West Germany, after
the criminal orgy of Nazism, after
the shock of defeat and with the
open wounds of partition, is a big,
deeply-perturbed invalid who must
be nursed, guarded and tranquil-
ized lest he relapse into his old
That is why the general thinks
that our attitude toward West
Germany is simple-minded and
So one may say that he dislikes
practically everything that Tru-
man and Acheson, Eisenhower and
Dulles constructed when Western
Europeewas poornprostrate and
defenseless. And now that West-
ern Europe is prosperous and feels
itself secure, the general rejects
entirely the American assump-
tion that it is the leader and
protector of the Western society.
BUT HOWEVER lacerated our
feelings, the evidence is, I think,
unmistakable that the Europeans
have turned a corner and that the

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