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September 14, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1974-09-14

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gihr aMr 4igan Daij
Eighty-three years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan



night in


Saturday, September 14, 1974

News Phone: 764-0552

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

The ghost of tactics past

,HAS THE LEOPARD changed its
spots, or is the Ford Administra-
tion beginning to show its true col-
ors? On a daily basis the new White
House' is sounding more and more
like the old Nixon White House. Per-
haps the most refreshing thing about
Jerry Ford was the openness he pro-
mised -- and appeared to bring - to
a country desperately tired of being
lied to.
Maybe the nation was foolish or
naive. Perhaps 01 Jerry managed to
keep his helmet on while playing
football long enough to realize that
an appearance of simplicity to the
point of stupidity would leave him
the latitude to connive without fear
of suspicion.
In any event, many people who
were convinced that clean Jerry
wouldn't lie to us got a rude shock
this week. And far more important
than the actual pardoning of the
San Clemente Kid may be the perma-
nent loss of confidence the new
President may suffer.
Not that the pardon of Nixon is
a good thing, far from it, it was an
act of uniquely poor judgment and
brazen disregard for the concepts of
equal justice under the law. But
many people might have forgiven
Ford for pardoning his old boss after

he had stood trial, for few actually
desire to see Nixon behind bars.
THE REAL CRIME in the eyes of
many was the brutal rape of pub-
lic trust. Without a hint to anyone,
Mr. Ford just dropped his bombshell
on the nation, and many will never
be able to regard Mr. Ford in the
same idealistic light.
In an interesting revelation, J. F.
terHorst said this week that one of
the reasons for his resignation was
the fact that middle and higher level
White House aides had been in the
habit of misleading him on what to
tell the press. TerHorst said the atti-
tude was what the press doesn't learn
can't hurt them.
Little good can come out of the
whole regretable Nixon pardon. It
was a bad decision, made worse by
the floating of a trial balloon on the
subject of general Watergate amnes-
ty. The best thing Ford could do
wouldhbe tocut his losses while he
can. A sober review of policies re-
garding informing the press and the
nation might be in order. Only then
will the Ford Administration have a
prayer of regaining the trust of the
people that any government needs to
rule in a democracy.

First of two parts
BOSTON - Tuesday evening
we attended a concert and poe-
try reading at the Hatch Shell
on the Charles River Esplanade.
The band was setting up, the
sun setting nicely into E. Cam-
bridge across the river and our-
selves onto our blanket when
the lady sitting next to us ob-
served loudly:
"Is that wood or canvas cov-
ering the inside of the shell?
"Why, we think we see some
wrinkles," we replied. "It must
be cloth."
"But toward the back it does
look awfully like wood, doesn't
"Perhaps,"' we said doubt-
"Mahogany," she announced
upon completing an inspection,
breathless and happy. "I t ' s
beautifully cut and fitted ma-
hogany." We looked at the in-
side of the shell with new re-

well-mannered people were
sitting on the lawn, postured
like so many slouch-shouldered
"Hey, let's listen to some
music!" sang. a high sassy per-
son as the band broke into its
first song. This was Van Mor-
rison's "Moondance," and we
quickly figured out it must have
something to do with the band's
name, which was also Moon-
dance. While we were mulling
over the implications, a Joplin-
esque wail broke from the shell.
"Get back," we demanded,
but to no avail.
"A little bit of everything,
observed the lady sitting next to

cided her dancing was more
interesting than her singing.
Her movement was vaguely Af-
rican, a fast-paced forward
sway, but from time to time she
leaned back and kicked her leg
straight in front of her, like a
toy soldier. We wondered if that
were the revolutionary kick in
the ass, or merely the protest
of a willful child.
MEANWHILE, 400 motionless,
slouching forms were beginning
to jiggle and sway, ever so dis-
creetly. Yes! Several people
were on their feet dancing nice-
ly, and two couples in our im-
mediate vicinity were making
passionate love. When the sing-
er began bouncing her voice off
the inside of the shell so that
each word echoed behind the
one following it, we were finally
impressed. We liked that, and
the set ended.
* * *
UP ON THE stage half a doz-

en figures were huddled togeth-
er on a bench holding papers
and notebooks. This had to be
the poetry part.
"I want people to realize that
in some places poetry is as pop-
ular as rock music," said a
young man into the microphone.
"In Russia, for example, ten or
fifteen thousand people w i 1 1
show up just to listen to poetry.
It's as highly regarded there as
rock music is here, so I want
people to reflect on this and try
to appreciate the poetry."
We circled our arms around
our knees, tucked ourself to our
chin and waited expectantly.
The first poet was a woman.
"My name is Ann," she be-
gan plaintively, and we knew
at once we had found a kindred
spirit, descended from h i g h
ethereal realms to bring truth
and beauty to a lost and weary
"HI, ANN," came several
bored greetings.

"Can you hear me?" she ask-
ed slowly and anxiously.
"Yeah, Ann," came the same
bored replies.
The title of her first poem
was "Orgasm Number 8: A Ce-
lebration 'of Bacchus." It was
difficult for us to listen because
many people in the audience
were giggling, others talking
about matters unrelated to the
poetry reading.
"I can't see the Prudential
Building," complained the lady
sitting next to us.
"But you're supposed to be
able to see the Prudential Build-
ing from anywhere," we snap-
ped, and strained to listen. Pup-t
pies wailed across the lawn, and
a jet flowed by overhead as the
poet recited:
Some queer tried to whore
So disconsolate I returned
to the womb.

and a1

suggested that the act
in Provincetown. The
was a short, semi-stick
wearing flared blue jeans
blue halter; we soon de-

American Religion:


Nixonaccountability souoht

jN SPITE OF President Ford's par-
don of Richard Nixon, the former
president may yet find himself in an
uncomfortable situation. The Califor-
nia Bar Association has refused to al-
low Nixon to resign from its mem-
bership, pending an investigation of
Nixon's activities in Watergate - a
process that could lead to his disbar-
ment. This disgrace would not be on
the same scale as a congressional in-
vestigation and criminal prosecution,
but it is only justice we can expect
for Nixon at this stage.
But there is hope for another step
in the right direction. Rep. Michael
Editor al Staff
Managing Editors
KENNETH FINK ................,... Arts Editor
MARNIE HEYN.......'.....Editorial Director
SUE STEPHENSON.............FeatureEditor
CINDY HILL .... .......~ Executive Director
STAFF WRITERS: Prakash Aswani, Gordon At-
cheson, Laura Berman, Barb Cornell, Jeff Day,
Della DiPietro, William Heenan, Steve Hersh.
Jack Krost, Andrea Lilly, Mary Long, Jeff Lux-
eriberg, Josephine Maircotty, Beth Nissen, Cheryl
Pilate, Sara Rimer, Stephen belbst, Jeff Soren-
son, Paul Terwilliger.
Sports Staff
Sports Editor
Executive Sports Editor
ROGER ROSSITER .... Managing Sports Editor
JOHN KAHLER ...... Associate Sports Editor

Harrington (D-Mass.) has urged a
House subcommittee to withhold
$450,000 of Nixon's $850,000 transi-
tion money until he makes a full dis-
closure on Watergate.
Part or all of the $450,000 is for
securing and eventually destroying
the Watergate tapes, which include
evidence the American people will
never hear. Not quite the thing to
spend their taxes on.
A LSO, THERE IS a possibility that
legally, Nixon does not have a
right to the full amount of transition
money. The funding proposal, work-
ed out in San Clemente by Nixon
and some of his aides immediately
after the resignation, was based on
two laws, the Former Presidents Act
of 1958, and the.Presidential Transi-
tion Act of 1963. But a Justice De-
partment memorandum indicates
that Nixon is not eligible for full
benefits under both laws.
Maybe, in spite of Ford, Nixon
won't get his cake and eat it too.
News: Dan Biddle, Della DiPietro,
Cheryl Pilate, Judy Ruskin, S u e
Stephenson, Becky Warner, David
Editorial Page: Peter Blaisdell, Marnie
Heyn, Barb Moore, Pom Pallatta,
Steve Stojic, Mark Sollivan, S u e
Arts Page: Ken Fink, Doug Zernow
Photo Technician: Karen Kasmauski

IN A DECEMBER, 1970 issue of Van-
guard, C. T. McIntire identified the
American Civic Faith as being unalter-
ably opposed to the Christian religion
when he spoke of it as having "its own
confession of Creator - the Sovereign
people; of Redeemer - the American
dream; of Sin - the malevolence of
un-Americans; and, centrally, of 'a
spiritual peoplehood - all Americans of
reason and goodwill who accept t h e
American ideal." Then he went o to
rightly conclude, "This American Faith
stands against the sovereignty of t h e
creator God of the Bible, the redemp-
tion in Jesus Christ, the biblical identifi-
cation of sin, and the radical Christian
peoplehood of God which is the body of
With these background comments in
mind, I wish to develop the following
thesis as food for thought: Richard Nix-
on, in all of his public actions, has been
motivated by a desire to keep this Amer-
ican Faith intact, and to strike cut
against anything that seemed in any
way threatening to it.
This observation makes it possible for
me to understand why he felt perfectly
justified in saying things like, "Peace,
with honor," in regards to Vietnam,
as if preserving the facade of moral pos-
ture in the face of an immoral war was
more to be valued than owning up to
the fact that it was wrong for us to be
there to begin with, a truth many of us
were late in coming to, and to which
some never did.
REMEMBER THIS, no faith can con-
tinue to be a vitalforce if it is seen as
an oppressor in the eyes of potential
believers. Remember too, taat humanly
speaking, it is difficult to come to terms
with ugly shadows if one has been con-
stantly told they do not exist. Vietnam,
indeed, became the "ugly shadow" in the
consciousness of thinking people, and the
Nixon slogan, by appealing to a sense
of national pride under the, guise of na-
tional "honor" made it possible for the
painful shadow to be avoided just a
little longer. It kept the faith intact.
His blind committment to the faith also
helps to explain why he would say,
"Never, never, never!" when asked if
he would grant amnesty to Vietnam war-
resisters. For the former President this
could never be. They had committed the
unpardonable sin of being un-American.
His post-Watergate cover-up activities
are the gyrations of a man caught in
the death throes of a spiritual battle lost
before it began. It almost seems as
though he was destined for tragedy, eith-
er because he lacked insight into the
latent, corrupting power inherent in any
monolithic, spiritual community, or, the
will to prevent it from literally control-
ling and dominating an entire society.
RICHARD NIXON became the victim
of the faith he espoused and sought to
protect. And therein lies the seeming
tragedy. For here was a man totally
committed to what he saw as a com-
monly embraced, "National Religious
Community," blind to the oppressive im-
plications of its monolithic control, who
ended up becoming oppressed himself
by that which he was enslaved to. So it
is with every idolatry.
A fitting postscript to his exit occurred
when he said, in asking support for the
incoming Gerald Ford, "We need to re-
discover those shared ideals that lie at
the heart of our strength and unity as a
great and free people." Here he was
making a confession of faith on behalf
of a "spiritual community" whose unity
he could only hope to maintain by re-
signing its most exalted post.
His loss could be our gain, and ulti-
mately his as well if it serves to give
:nth .h 2.rriraeaii-n:- d tntuli

not only is he Richard Nixon's replace-
ment, but he is very close to being his
spiritual heir.
He says that "right makes might,"
and that "only the laws of God which
govern our conscience are superior to
the laws of the Constitution which govern
our land," all of which, barring scrut-
iny, might sound good. Nevertheless,
upon closer examination his statements
reveal the same rigid, individualistic,
moralism of his progenitor, Richard Nix-
on; albeit less hidden, more open and
candid, but ungirded still by the same
division of life into two worlds: the sac-
red and the secular with different rules
exclusive for each. Thus the integrality,
the unity of life is lost.
Whenever you introduce a sacred
(morals, religion, etc) - secular ;hard
facts, public domain) dualism into life
some attempt at synthesizing them will
be made if for no other reason than
that the human heart longs for integral-
ity in life. The result of this in our
country has been the evolvement of an
individualistic kind ofmoralism coupled
with the notion of an exemplary-life
ideal based on reference to God and

ed an act of pardoning (Richard Nixon)
wholly inconsistent with even his idola-
trous view of conscience, particularly
when it is compared with the way he
has handled amnesty.
If he is not guilty of the abuse of
power in the Watergate cover-up and
related incidents former President Nix-
on has at least admitted to having made
mistakes in judgement. I would shy it
was his committment to the American
Civic Faith that motivated his actions
and eventually brought about his own
personal, and tragic fall.
Now, by Ford's "full, free, and abso-
lute pardon" he has been given total
amnesty for any crimes against the
U.S. which "he has .ommitted, may
have committed, or taken part in during
the time of his inauguration in January
of 1969 to the time of his resignation in
August of 1974." The pardon covers not
only Watergate but anything he might
have gotten involved in long before
Watergate took place.
CONTRAST THIS with the "partial, to
be earned, conditional pardon" of thous-
ands of acts of "conscience" perform-
ed by those who resisted being drafted

'What this really says is that following your conscience
means being un-Aierican, and being un-American is
virtually tantamount to committing the unpardonable
sin. What hope is there for real justice and real freedom
in our land with such a closed, restrictive and even re-
pressive mentality being enforced and exhibited by our
national leaders?'
.. .... . .. .. .... ..... ...:" "::::v.~ ... ..~::. ::..h.hW:h":;""":i::"::p.;.r}":"::r.":.y{h:}i} _r.}:{"x v..hy .:{r},N}

when this becomes appropriate. B u t
mercy is not something given at the ex-
pense of justice. On these terms mercy
comes off as pious sentimentalism. It
suggests the recipient is less than a
human being responsible under law, as
it effectively removes him from the de-
mands of lawful accountability, making
the central question one of how much
someone has suffered rather than what
is just. Revenge or mercy done or given
for their own sake become dehumaniz-
ing as each tends to remove one from
the sphere of justice. Political theorist
Gerald Williams, speaks to these issues
when he says, "Mercy is not mercy
which sees possible destruction, spurns
justice, and cries peace. Justice will be
requited or we shall reap the whirlwind."
President Ford, like his predecessor,
has fallen, without, I believe, his even
being aware that he has, to the tempta-
tion t make the nation and its insti-
tutions objects of near religious loyalty.
THE HEALING the former President
sought by his resignation, and F o r d
now seeks by his pardoning of Richard
Nixon will never come as long as each
is motivated in the final analysis, by
the will to preserve the dominating pow-
er of one spiritual community, i.e., The
American Civic Religion.
What is destroying the potential Jfor
any kind I national, harmony is the
failure on the part of governmental lead-
ers to recognize the basic plurality of
value communities in tur society and
their stubborn insistence on a monolithic,
melting-pot, democratism.
It should be noted that by the term
"value-community," I do not speak to
divisions according to race, se, age, or
any other important but essentially non-
life-directing criteria. I refer, rather, to
basic world-and-life views about the na-
ture of personhood, our relationship to
others, the world, and to God, however
defined, that give the slant of "the saw
to all we say or do, including our poli-
tical doings.
BY "DEMOCRATISM" I refer to that
fundamental notion, deeply ingrained in
our societal institutions that we c a n
function as a society only if each of us
is willing to set aside what we really
believe in, in order to find those so
called, shared ideals we presumably
hold in common with all Americans.
Once these shared ideals are abstracted
out of each basic value community they
somehow become absolutized into a new
one, "The Democratic Way of Life," a
virtual monolith that presumes to speak
for everyone. True to the nature of any
spiritual community it ex-communicates
all those who do not believe, who are
heretics to the faith.
Clearly, democratism's central confes-
sion of "neutrality" and "shared ideals"
is a myth. It does not speak for every-
one. And so as a sniritual community,
its central confession lontains within it-
self the seeds of its own inevitable dis-
solution. It must ex-communicate por-
tions of itself. In this way it becomes
not a way of life but a way of death.
Gerald Vandezande, Executive Secre-
tary of the "CJL Fundation" a radical-
ly, biblically, Christian civil rights or-
ganization in Canada, spoke to these
oppressive conditions in North American
society when he said:
"The government should realize that
conformity is not necesarily a virtue.
Frank admission of and proper respect
for deep differences of conviction as well
as equal opportunity for all to live ac-
cording to the dictates of one's heart
within the framework of non-discrimina-
tory laws, makes for more harmony than
the arbitrary imposition of the popular
notion that men and women must sup-
press their basic beliefs for the sake
of a colorless, artificial unity."

cOv%SP up' oF TnG cove-up

This is dangerous because it ulti-
mately leads a nation to make its form
of government into a "way of life." It
induces government to become some-
thing it was never intended to be: the
promulgator of a monolithic spiritual
THE AMERICAN Civic Religion, a
case in point, has the power and author-
ity of the state and nation behind it.
As such it has become clossd and vir-
tually totalitarian in nature, allowing no
other spiritual community to have its, own
distinct voice in any of our various socie-
tal structures. It should be the role of
the state to make sure that each value
community has the freedom to live out
its unique world-and-life-view perspec-
tives in each sphere of our society: e.g.
politics, education, the media, etc. In-
stead, our heads of state conduct their
business under the presumption that this
one view should be imposed on all.
Of course, they don't think of it as an
imposition, because they believe the
myth that the American people with all
of their colorful differences, are at base,
in essentials, one. That's what makes us
Americans we are told.
This inculcated belief belies their lack
of insight. In the end they become op-
pressors, unwittingly in most cases I'm
sure. For the most part they have good
intentions. However, good intentions and
naive hopefulness do not usher in human
solidarity except of the most shallow and
artificial kind. In fact guided by the
spirit of the value community he em-
braced, the basically good intentions one
man started out with hae ended in ner-

to fight an 'immoral war" in Vietnam.
Conscience, President Ford says, is
something motivated by God, and is the
only thing superior to the laws of the
This he says with one breath but
then with another gives full pardon, not
to the man of conscience, but, to the
man who, seemingly not aware of how it
happened or came about, became cor-
rupted by his own lust for power through
blind and unflinching committment to
the American Civic Religion. The men
of conscience, supposedly moved by God,
are given a slow and grudging hand of
forgiveness, and that, a forgiveness
which must be earned.
What this really says is that follow-
ing your conscience means being un-
American, and being un-American is vir-
tually tantamount to committing' the un-
pardonable sin. What hope is there for
real justice and real freedom in our
land with such a closed, restrictive and
even repressive mentality being enforc-
ed and exhibited by our national lead-
What is worse is that the current pre-
sident has taken "conscience" as one
aspect of our temporal existence, ab-
stracted it out from all the others, and
absolutized it as final and ultimate, moti-
vated by God, he says, as if conscience
could not be motivated by anything else.
The repression this brings from those
who hold power becomes deified as an
act of God. The revolutionary fervor it
tends to invite from many who see
through this kind of thinking suffers from
a similar delusion.
How can we ever hone to be able

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