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May 15, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-15

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age 4--Tuesday May 15;Y179-The MiChigan Daily
Michigan Daily
Eighty-nine Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI. 48109
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 10-S News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan

National security:
Need or deceit?
D MITRI ROTOW, a nuclear weapons expert,
was doing research connected with
American Civil Liberties Union's defense of the
Progressive Magazine in the library of the Los
Alamos Scientific Laboratory Thursday after-
noon. Suddenly, the library was closed for "inven-
tory and review," to insure that the unclassified
section contained no classified material.
Sure enough, one of the documents Rotow had
seen was labeled "improperly classified" by a
laboratory spokesman. The name and nature of
the misclassified document were not revealed,
however, because its classified status might be
A federal court order prevents the Progressive
from publishing an article about the hydrogen
bomb, which the government contends threatens
national security and would encourage the
proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The Progressive's retort to the library closing
points out a vital side issue in the case, in addition
to the spotlighted one, freedom of the press.
.. information classified is used to intimidate
American citizens more than to preserve
genuiune secrets."
The Burger court will probably rule in favor of
the government. But before the decision is handed
down, national security may prove to be more of a
smokescreen than a necessary but overexcerised
restriction on public information.
But assuming the nation's security is
judiciously protected, the government should
permit the case to be judged on its merits without
benefitting from its intrinsic advantages over the
press. Restraining the availability of information
to the Progressive's defense limits the possibility
that a fair trial will take place.
At the heart of the issue is whether the proper
information is classified. The mere discovery of
the "misclassified" document casts a dubious
shadow in public trust in the government's perfor-
mance in that area. The fact that the Progessive's
reporters obtained the information in the
restrained article underscores government
bungling in classifying materials.
The American people found themselves unwit-
tingly on the brink of atomic war during the
Cuban Missile Crisis, and later discovered that
national security cloaked the lies emanating from
Richard Nixon'smouth. On the heels of such even-
ts it is difficult to believe classification is pruden-
tly used.
The present method of classifying documents is
an undemocratic method of governing. It smacks
more of coercing the people than persuading them
with evidence. It is also inconsistent with the need
to restore confidence in government during these
post-Watergate years.
The First Amendment appears the weakling
against the national security giant in this bout.
But this court struck down "executive privilege"
more t.9 fu r , ao; they, mightdeal.
natonaif6tyidtore bow.

The history of American politics
is much like the famous poem
from Lewis Carroll's Through the
Looking Glass "The Walrus and
the Carpenter." Alice, heroine of
the book, proclaims favoritism
for the Walrus, becasue he felt "a
little sorry" for the oysters he was
so greedily consuming.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
pointed out that the Walrus held
the handkerchief in front of his
streaming eyes to prevent the
Carpenter from seeing how many
he, the Walrus, was in fact
eating. "Then I like the Carpen-
ter best," declares Alice. "But he
ate as many as he could get," one
of the Twins remarks. This WAS
a difficult situation, certainly.
"Well," equivocates the poor
Alice at last, "they were BOTH
very unpleasant characters."
The American voter has
become like Alice. Faced with
this choice, they are staying
away from the polls in un-
precedented numbers. And why
not? Since the publiction' of
Phyllis Schlafly's 1964 tract "A
Choice Not An Echo," the
political trends have been
generally in the direction of ex-
tremes. McGovern's and Gold-
water's candidacies attest to this.
Both major parties became, for a
time, the hostage of their fringe
Now, in the era of symbols
(wittily satired in Doonesbury),
the Choice has become an over-
whelming symbol itself. Carter
campaigned on an anti-
Washington plank, but has since
shown himself to be as much a
pro politician as any of those he
derided. California Governor
Jerry Brown is running for
president in 1980 on an anti plank
as well; his is simply anti-Carter.
Democratic candidacy come
down to Carter and Brown? This
seems likely; Kennedy is not
disposed to run at this time,
Chappaquiddick and his unlucky
family history are probably
overwhelming obstacles. But
what kind of a choice is one bet-
ween a sitting President about
whome we still know almost
nothing,_except to know that we
don't like him much, and the
California enigma? We don't
know anything about Brown, ex-
cept that he has his finger in the
What about the Republicans?
Kansas City in 1976 was the scene
of intense partisanship and a race
that was never quite over until
he finish. the end, JerryFord.

ct but all vile
espoused back in 1971 or
By JEFFREY SELBST Kevin G. Phillips, in his
TheEmerging Repub
won out because of his presumed this theme here, one nee
electability, as contrasted with say "Prop a.
the rootin'-tootin' image of This is not a new idea a
Ronald Reagan, hero of so many Majority which contains a
WildWes epcs nd earess fantasy about haw the E
Wild West epics and fear ess country was seeing the er
Protector of the Canal. There was its foolish social welfare
a choice here, too, but not a and was coming around I

pleasant one.The bland, friendly
guy who smokes a pipe and sits
on the power mower next door?
Or the roaming loony? Hardly the
stuff of history.
The old saying back in 1968 was-
that the race between "the
Hump" and "Tricky Dick" was
so much Tweedledum and
Tweedledee. But we now know
that isn't true. The race was

right the farter it moved
(geographically) to the South and
West. As the culmination of these
trends, Arizona is rather fittingly
the home of Barry Goldwater. It
has, after all, more Southerners
than California and more
Westerners than Texas.

'72 by
d only
It was
ror of
to the

terrifically close, though it would
have been had LBJ not gone out
of his.way at every stage to un-
dercut the believability of the
Happy Warrior. There was a
choice to be made in that race,
though it boiled down to either a
continuation (again, presumed)
of LBJ presidency, or Something
New. The voters opted for
Something New, and wound up
with Watergate.
where is the choice going to lie?
In the primaries, it will be once
again the President and his
challengers for the Democrats,
the right and the center for the
Republicans. Schlfly, an ex-
tremely prescient if unpleasant
woman, presaged accurately the
shape of things to come. The
American public has been faced
with choices and will be in-
creasingly faced with choices in
the foreseeable future.
So, now knowing that there
have been choices all along, what
will the choices be? Sages predict
that America is following the pat-
tern of Britain in swinging far to
the right. That would, if true,
follow from our national
migratory pattersn: the West and
the South, homes of me-firstism
and isolationism historically, are
the growing regions. The choice
will boil down to the East with its
decaying leftist ideas, and the
West, with its vigor and its
selfishness. No need to. harp,6n.

is the personification of the East,
the sleazy ad man with the
Yankee heart and the Scotch
generosity. Jerry Brown, in con-
trast, is a man who believes
nothing but the polls, the King of
the Flipflop (a trait he shared
with Carter during the 1976 cam-
paign), the man who did the
breathtaking back somersault on
the tax limitation proposal.
(Which may or may not be as
deceitful as it sounds. Was it not
Gandhi who, when asked about
being the leader of the Indian
people, replied that he had to
"catch up with the crowd and get
in front of them"? That was his
notion of leadership; in fairness,
that may be Brown's.)
The myth that 'there is no
choice in our political system is
just that-a myth. Perhaps for
the underprivileged, there is no
choice. The Republicans have in
past years made it abundantly
clear that they are not wanted,
though they are trying to change
that image for 1980. But for the
vast, reasonably affluent
majority, there is a very real
choice in candidates. The
problem is that the choices have
all become intolerable. When was
the last time anyone ever felt that
they voted FOR a candidate, in-
stead of against one? The issues
in modern life have become so
concrete-to tax, or not to tax, to
regulte or not to regulate; it is
significant that the anti-anti-
abortionists call themselves pro-
choice. This demonstrates the
delineation between the partisans
on this and other issues.
The choices are what keep
voters away from the polls, not
the lack of them. And, like Alice,
the voters find that both sides are
"very unpleasant characters."
Jeffrey Selbst is .a former
DailyArts editor. '

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