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September 19, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-09-19

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T4V irnnan Daily
Eighty-one years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

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.



Vietnam's farcical election

war in Vietnam was legitimated as a
war to make that country "safe f o r
democracy." Even through the rapid suc-
cession of Vietnamese military coups in
the early .sixties, this pretext of saving
helpless peasants from the "authoritar-
ian menace of communism" has been
But in the past several weeks, what-
ever remained of this myth of fighting
for democracy has been shattered com-
pletely. In the October South Vietnamese
presidential elections, the only name on
the ballot will be that of Nguyen' Van
Of course, the Administration in Wash-
ington does not see this development as
reason to pull out or even partially stop
the flow of aid going to the Thieu re-
gime. President Nixon said this week that
in only 30 of the aid-receiving countries
"have leaders who are there as a result
of a contested election by any standard
that we would consider fair.
"In fact,", said Nixon, "we would have
to cut off aid to two-thirds of the nations
of the world, in Africa, in Latin Amer-
ica, in Asia, to whom we are presently
giving aid, if we apply the standards that
some suggest we apply to South Viet-
Thus, since we are already giving aid
to over 60 authoritarian or even fascist
countries, why should South Vietnam be
held to an arbitrary standard of demo-
growth of a philosophy which is more
intensely anti-communist than pro-
democratic. Nixon "would prefer, as far
as South Vietnam is concerned, that its
democratic process would grow faster."
But he is most concerned that the South
Vietnamese government be viciously anti-
communist, whatever component of
democracy is used to install it.
This system of priorities is reflected in
our foreign policy as a whole, where we
would sooner see a fascist dictatorship
than a peoples' democracy, if that demo-
cracy should show the faintest inclina-
tion towards disaffirming an anti-com-
munist stance.
In South Vietnam, because of the spot-
light of publicity, American officials have
worked hard to maintain at least an out-
ward show of democracy.
When Gen. Duong Van (Big) Minh was
considering withdrawing from the Presi-
dential race, Ambassador Ellsworth Bun-
ker reportedly offered him "financial as-
Editorial Staff

Authoritative Vietnamese sources said
Bunker portrayed the offer as a way to
achieve "equality" between the resources
for the campaign of Thieu and Minh.
However, the sources said, Bunker's
proposition angered Minh and was a
principal reason he withdrew from the
race August 20.
N OSOONER HAD Minh withdrawn,
than the South Vietnamese Supreme
Court reversed an earlier decision and
allowed Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky
to reenter the race. Almost all observers
have attributed this direct turnabout to
American pressure.
On August 5, the court had disqualified
Ky because his endorsements from pro-
vincial councilors had duplicated Thieu's
to a large extent. However, when it ap-
peared that Thieu would have no oppon-
ent in the October' election, the court
reversed itself.
Ky withdrew from the race, charging
as Minh had that the election was rig-
ged. Several days later, substantive evi-
dence appeared that confirmed t h e s e
APPARENTLY, THIEU sent a letter to
each of South Vietnam's 44 province
chiefs saying they would be responsible
for getting out the pro-Government vote
in the elections. It then detailed various
ways to harass opposition candidates and
build government, support.
The authenticity of the letter has not
been challenged by anyone in the Thieu
While the election will now be uncon-
tested, Thieu has attempted to give it
some semblance of democracy by saying
he will resign from office if he doesn't
receive at least 50 per cent of the vote.
A voter can only express his non-con-
fidence by mutilating the ballot or
throwing it away and putting an empty
envelope in the ballot box instead.
Thieu has said that, "If I see the re-
sults of the voting confirm the confi-
dence of the people in me, I will con-
tinue with another four-year term. But
if the results show clearly that the peo-
ple do not have confidence in me, I will
not accept another four-year term and
step down."
BUT DESPITE its farcial character, the
election will go on. Ky has vowed to
stage a coup if it does. The U.S. news
media has tried to show a deep division
between Ky and Thieu, while the effect
of both on their country has been de-
Some time ago, Ky boasted his hero was
Adolf Hitler. Every day, we hear more
of the atrocities practiced by Thieu's
army and government. The split between
the two is not a split founded on political
ideology, but merely on personal rivalry.
A race between them, though seeming-
ly democratic, would offer the Vietnam-
ese people a choice of one tyrant or ano-
ther. Now, they have been denied t h a t
"democracy" as well.
And while whole newspapers are cen-
sored and opposition candidates beaten
up, Secretary of State William R o g e r s
drones on in the background, "the demo-
cratic process will continue in S o u t h

Editor's Note: Walter
piro is a former Washingt
litical writer who is nowa
uate student in Europea
tory. He was associate e
director of the Daily in
DESPITE the intensit
which the media and
narcissism have probed t
tudes and aspirations of t
lectivity simply known as
one of the major riddles
is the unfathomable plans
could potentially be 25
young voters.
Few are unaware th2
"youth vote" loomslarge
political scenarios titilatin
in the Presidential car
George McGovern and Joh
say-candidates who havE
fusions about being nor
by a convention of elderly
But it was startling to li
same sort of claims while
to a key adviser to Henr
son. It is one thing to tole.
political fantasies of suce
cated doves as McGove3
Lindsay, but "Scoop" Jack
sentimental favorite of bi
and the aerospace industr3
an unlikely figure to galvi'
campuses of America.
The speaKer, Ben Wat
was no political novice.
authored along with]
Scammon The Real Majo
moderate's answer to Kev
lips - which in a chap
titled "Demography is I
posited that the typical
a "forty-seven-year-old
wife from the outskirts of
Ohio, whose husband is
graphic profile of the 11.5
Americans enfranchised


RO state referenda rejecting a lowered
Sha- voting age and pass the 26th
ton po- Amendment anyway.
a grad- Even liberal Democrats who saw
in his- the lowered voting age as some
ditorial sort of electoral subsidy (although
1968- not as big as they might have
hoped) generally had little con-
by with cern about restrictive residency
;y with requirements which in most states
our own forced college students to vote at
he atti- their'parents' homes-or not at all.
hat col-
"youth", For in their own way liberals
of 1972 are as petrifiedofstudents vot-
of what ing en masse in their campus com-
million munities. The fate of former Rep.
.Jeffrey Cohelan (D-Calif.), is too
Lat the recent for it to be otherwise. Co-
in th helan, a staunch, if not outspoken,
g those left liberal whose voting record
mps of over seven terms in the House was
inp ofnd virtually spotless by ADA stand-
en Lid- ards, was defeated in the 1970
.ino ie- Democratic primary by Ron Del-
ed lums, a militant black city coun-
y ward- cilman.
Cohelan's district? Berkeley and
hear the environs.
talking Dispersed to their parents' pre-
y Jack- cincts for voting purposes young
rate the voters could help elect the mature
;h dedi- liberal of their choice. Concen-
!n and tra ted in college communities,
son, the thesedsame voters might do some-
ig labor thing dangerous-like run candi-
y, seems dates of their own in primaries
nize the and general elections.
tenberg, THE SPECTRE OF. frivolous
He co- students taking over sleepy col-
Richard lege towns and driving the good
rity- a tax - paying burghers into bank-
in Phil- ruptcy was raised several times
ter en- during Congressional debate on
Destiny" the 26th amendment.
voter is Conservative Robert Michel (R-
house- Ill.), set the tone of the March
Dayton, 23 House debate when he wailed,
a ma- "For goodness sakes, we could
have these transients actually con-
trolling the elections, voting city
demo- councils and mayors in and out
million of office." For those previously not
by the familiar with Michel's contribu-





basis for continued discrimina-
tory registitraon procedures seems
flimsy at best. Seeing the hand-
writing on the ballot, a group of
House Republicans decided to
sponsor a new constitutional
amendment (the 27th) which in
effect bars students enfranchised
by the 26th amendment from vot-
ing in college towns.
It is hardly coincidental that
among the Republicens sponsoring
the amendment are three con-
servatives politically threatened
by the 35,000 Ohio State Univer-
sity students, 30,000 University of
Cincinnati students and 17,000
University of Ohio students, re-
While most of the focus of the
fight over student registration has

26th Amendment, which lowered
the voting age to 18 (an additional
13.5 million Americans will reach
age 21 between 1968 and 1972) in-
dicates that there is some basis
for Wattenberg 's optimism. Demo-
graphics indicate that while
"youth vote" has a leftward tilt, it
may be less acute than McGovern
and Lindsay stalwarts expect.
For those of us to whom "college
student" and "youth" have long
ago become interchangeable syno-
nyms, it is sobering to realize that
only 20 per cent (2.3 million) of
the 11.5 million Americans be-
tween the age of 18 and 21 are
college students living apart from
their parents. Needless to say that
among the new voters who will
have already turned 21 by 1972,
the proportion of college stu-
dents is even smaller.
In contrast to this campus con-
tingent, is a group best describ-
ed as "blue collar youth"-to
whom George Wallace is more
likely a hero than Caesar Chavez.
Of the 11.5 million potential voters
enfranchised by lowering the vot-
ing age, the 4.1- million youths in
the labor force certainly fall in
this category.
But all these new voters will be
far less likely to vote than the
average citizen, if past electoral
behavior is any guide.
Traditionally high mobility and
fragile community ties have kept
voter turnout among those in their
twenties disproportionately low.
For example, a December 1969
Gallup Poll on voter registration
revealed that only 50 percent of
those, polled between the ages of
21 and 29 were registered to vote,
as contrasted with almost 75 per-
cent of the adult population at
The cynical may use this sta-
tistic to say that the reason that
Congress so willingly granted 18
year olds the right to vote was.
only because they were confident
that it would not be used.
IN ANY CASE, the likelihood
of low participation and little bloc
voting was undoubtedly a factor
in convincing conservative and
moderates to ignore numerous

tions to the lucid debate on this
issue, "transients" is a euphemism
for students - that is, people who
make a definite commitment to
attend college in one place for
four years in a country where al-
most 19 per cent of the general
population moves annually.
During the debate, Abner Mikva
(D-Ill.), who represents the Hyde
Park area surrounding the Univer-
sity of Chicago, gave assurances to
the House that nothing in the
Amendment -jeopardized s t a t e
laws limiting student registration.
Earlier Tom Railsback (R-Ill.),
generally one of the least Nean-
derthal of Illinois Republicans,
had actually called the 26th
Amendment an example of "what
you people can do by working
within the system." This time he
intoned that in his view "before
a person or student (editors note:
there's a difference?) should be
permitted to vote in a community
where he is attending college, he
would have to express to the sat-
isfaction of the registrar that this
was going to be his permanent
GIVEN THESE assurances that
the 26th Amendment would be
like an "R" movie with students
under 21 admitted to the polling
booth only when accompanied by
parents or guardian, one can
easily imagine the political shock
waves generated by the Michigan
Supreme Court's recent decision
affirming that for voting purposes
students are bona fide people.
The Michigan Supreme Court
decision was pretty unambiguous.
Justice John B. Swainson noted
that the United States Supreme
Court had ruled in 1965 that under
the Equal Protection Clause of
the 14th Amendment "the preven-
tion of transients from voting
could not justify" a Texas law
limiting registration by service-
men. Applying this and other re-
cent voting rights cases to Mich-
igan the court held that "in the
future, students must be treated
the same as all other registrants."
Although so far students can
register to vote only in Michigan
and a few other states, the legal

-Daily--Tom Gottlieb
been on the future of local gov-
ernment in college towns, these
three Ohio Congressional districts
are not that atypical.
Nationally thanks largely to
the modern multiversity - there
may be a dozen Congressional dis-
tricts in which students could po-
tentially become the most pow-
erful voting bloc. And in perhaps
an additional 25 Congressional
districts students could become a
vocal minority,
Bringing the issue closer to
home, Michigan's 2nd District-
home of both the University and
the 25,000 students at Eastern
Michigan University in Ypsilanti
-has one of the largest concen-
trations of students in the coun-
Although he won by 37,000 votes
in 1970,bland, three-term Repub-
licen incumbent Marvin Esch
must have been troubled by the
Michigan Supreme Court decision.
For the 1970 census shows that 27
percent of the 2nd district's voting
age population is under the age
of 25. And following redistricting,
callow youth may comprise 30 per
cent of the potential electorate.
National attention, however, has
been foscused on how the "youth
vote" will influence Presidential
politics. This may be somewhat
unjustified, since low turnout and
a lack of a cohesive voting pat-
tern among youth as a whole may
seriously blunt the anticipated ef-
fect of the 26th Amendment. In
that case, the real importance of
the 18 year old vote may lie in the
impact of bloc voting in student
communities on local and con-
gressional races.
the 26th Amendment only one
member foresaw the possibility-
let alone the desirability-of any
change in, the composition of the
House. Looking around at the cor-
pulent, middle-aged male faces
of her peers, Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.)
reminded her colleagues that "the
House of Repesrentatives, more
than any other branch of Govern-
ment, is intended to be the di-
rect voice of the people. And in
a nation which is getting young-

er all the time, there are no young
people in Congress."
But somehow there is little
shock value to the simple state-
ment that "there are no young
people in Congress." No one seems
to find something awry when the
youngest member of Congress is a
30-year-old conservative Demo-
crat from Georgia named Dawson
Mathis. We so take it for granted
that politics is the domain of the
mature and the established, that
the absence of even token rep-
resentation for youth seems only
At this juncture the politically
cynical may ask with consider-
able justice, "Why bother? What
difference would one -- or even
a dozen-campus-oriented Con-
gressmen make?"
Their skepticism is thoroughly
ground in experience. Few in
Congress have attempted in recent
years to demonstrate what an in-
dividual - or even a dedicated
minority - can achieve. And since
a Congressional majority ready to
profoundly alter the American
status quo is sufficiently evanes-
cent, even two dozen new Con-
gressmen are likely to make scant
THE OBVIOUS limitations of
the Congressional stress on coa-
lition and compromise is illus-
trated by a case study of the
timidity of the Senate doves in
the August Washington Monthly.
The author John Rothchild indicts
the Churchs, Hatfields, McGov-
erns and Hartkes for being far
more opposed to disrupting the or-
derly processes of Congress than
to continuing. the Vietnam War. .
An aide to J.W. Fulbright could
have been speaking for any num-
ber of dove Senators when he
admitted, "I don't think it's reach-
ed the point where he'd stop the
whole Congressional machinery to
cut off funds for the war."
COMMENTS LIKE this seem to
invite bitter rejoinders. 'But in a
sense bitterness is unfair. Ful-
bright and his Northern col-
leagues, reflecting their New Deal
heritage, are there to pass legisla-
tion, not to obstruct. In a pathetic,
yet somehow touching way, lib-
erals actually believe in the ef-
ficacy of such concepts as ra-
tional debate, compromise and the
overriding necessity to be "effec-
tive legislators."
Profoundly influenced by the
patriotic tinsel of World War II,
they actually believe in the ma-
jesty of the Presidency and when
they refuse to challenge the
President on foreign policy, it oft-
en reflects not only political cal-
culation, but a lingering rever-
ence for the office, as well.
This orientation of Congres-
sional liberals is by no means
limited to the war in Vietnam.
Last year only one Senator voted
final passage of Nixon's patently
unconstitutional preventive de-
tention bill. Why? Because as the
result of a typical Congressional
compromise it was inextricably
linked with a piece of "good leg-'
islation"-a judical reform bill.
the same issue of Washington
Monthly illustrates what tactics
Congressional rules provide for

-Daily-Tom Gottlieb
dedicated minorities - if they
choose to take advantage of them.
The article by Jacques Leslie is
a profile of Rep. H. R.' Gross
(R-Iowa), a man little known out-
side of Waterloo, Iowa, and the
United States House of Represen-
tatives. A 72-year-old rambunc-
tious reactionary who has built an
entire Congressional career around
voting ""no, Gross is the living
antithesis of Sam Rayburn's oft
quoted maxim that in Congress
"to get along, you must go along."
For Gross, a~n uncomplicated
man for whom a balanced budget
is wedged somewhere between
cleanliness and godliness, is a liv-
ing example of the power which
one lone man can have over the
operations of the House-a body
which gives short shrift to the
right of the individual member
compared to the more leisurely
and loosely - structured Senate.
A fierce opponent of all Gov-
ernment spending not sanctioned
either by God or the Defense De-
partment, Grass makes his pres-'

Executive Editdr

Managing Editor

Rep. Dellums
ence felt on the House floor with
acidic questions during debate and
requests for quorum call after
quorum call. When particularly
irked, Gross has been known to
tie up the entire House for hours
by refusing to grant repeated re-
quests for unanimous consent to
dispense with some unnecessary
portion of official House proce-
OBVIOUSLY H. R. Gross' style
of obstruction is not the only
model a campus - oriented Con-
gressman could follow. He or she
could serve as a kind of national
ombudsman for students and
youth - much in the same way
that Bella Abzug is an advocate
for women and Ron Dellums for
blacks. Another alternative would
be to use Ralph Nader as a model
and establish a Congressional of-
fice whose major function is to
probe areas of Government glos-
sed over by the conservative Con-
gressional committee structure.
These are just some of the first
possibilities which have emergec.
from the Pandora's box of student
voting in Ann Arbor and else-
where. The Michigan Suprem(
Court has raised the lid, but th,
box's future . contents right nox
depend on massive student regis


STEVE KOPPMAN ..Editorial Page Editor
RICK PERLOFF . Associate Editorial Page Editor
PAT MAHONEY ....Assistant Editorial Page Editor
LYNN WEINER Associate Managing Editor
LORRY LEMPERT Associate Managing Editor
ANITA CRONE ........ Arts Edito'
JIM IRWIN .... . ..........Associate Arts- Editor
JANET PREY.............. ...Personnel Director
ROBER' CONROW Books Editor
JIM JL ?:IS.. .......... .Photography Editor

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