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May 15, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-15

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Unwritten rules of democracy

Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Wednesday, May 15, 1974
News Phone: 764-0552'
A ruts lead to..
NOW THAT THE ENERGY crisis has been officially
accepted as a condition that will be with us all for
a good long time, reduced speeds and curtailed travel are
beginning to be a way of life. Unfortunately for those
who must continue the practice of commuting to school
and/or work in the Ann Arbor area, the Washtenaw
County Road Commission and the City of Ann Arbor
have decided to use the energy crisis as an alibi for ne-
glecting needed renairs to city streets and county roads.
These circumstances have led to the decay of some
streets and roads to the point where they are unsafe re-
gardless of how slowly one drives or how "defensive" a
driver that person may be.
Certainly there are examples of hazardous streets
that are beine repaired, such as the State Street-I-94
interchange. But the majority of these repairs are only
taking place because they are either state-funded or be-
cause pressure is applied from Lansing to get them re-
A CLASSIC EXAMPLE of disinterest in the public's
safety at the local level is the continued haggling
between the City of Ann Arbor and the University of
Michigan as to who should nay for the needed repairs to
the Fuller Road bridge that is a vital link between the
Central and North Camnus resions.
The City claims that the University should pay
since Fuller Road is heavily used by University vehicles
(particularly buses) which c a us e excessive and has-
tened wear to the surfaces. Meanwhile, the University
claims the city shourl foot the bill since Fller Road is a
city strcet.
Siice neither seems willing to nay for a complete
and necessir" renovation of the old bridge, only tem-
porarv renairs are done. and they become worn almost
as sonn az the, ,re finished.
Tvpically the ones who pay in the end are those
who have no sav in the matter, in this case the daily
commuter who has no choice but to use the "street re-
gardless of its condition. How does the commuter pay?
Through increased risk of accidents, and the increased
wear'and tear that rough, rutty streets cause on an auto-
In addition, those who rely on bikes for transporta-
tion have diecovered that they are endangered not only
by drivers who consider bicyclists to be undesirable pests,
but by potholes and chasms that can devour front wheels
in one gulp.
WOULDN'T IT BE FUN to see if "the tire that tamed
the Baja" could do as well in and around Ann Arbor?

ON CAPITOL HILL the impeachment proceed-
ings formally began with a foreseeable com-
pound of gravity and ritual. But other events and
utterances may be swiftly overshadowing that
inquiry. The Republican rebellion against Nixon
is the big story.
Each hour brings new evidence that Richard
Nixon's doom is being fashioned by a revolt of
the most entrenched pillars of respectable con-
servative Republicanism.
It was suggested here and in other places many
weeks ago that such a development would be the
decisive turning point. As long as the calls for
Nixon's ouster were emaninating from predom-
inantly Democratic and liberal voices, he appear-
ed capable of hanging on through the long im-
peachment process and perhaps even holding 34
Senate votes - the one-third-plus-one required to
avoid conviction.
Now the Republican defection is assuming the
proportions of a stampede. In the face of spread-
ing repudiations from politicos and newspapers
that had given him protective cover, Nixon's
counter-attack has lost its last rationale.
FOR A LONG TIME even some of his critics
has expressed fear that the country would be
torn apart if he seemed to be "driven from of-
fice" by his adversaries. But the leadership of
the movement to banish him is now clearly in
the hands of long-time allies - the Hearst press,
the Chicago Tribune and a growing battalion
of Republican Congressional and party dignitaries.
Thus it became a cry of desperation for R o n
Ziegler to assert, as he did Tuesday night, that
Nixon had again been the target of "repulsive
tactics" being used by those who "wish to drive
the President from office." He used those words
in commenting on a story transmitted by the
Gannett News service reporting a key deletion
in one of the edited transcripts. It happens, of
course, that the Gannett chain has long been
a solid citadel of Nixonism; Ziegler's strident de-
nunciation of "dishonesty," "vindictiveness" and
"piecemeal use of tapes by partisans" sounded
as if it were denouncing a far-out left-wing ga-
Such outbursts might have had some effect in
an earlier time when Nixon still commanded the
support of traditional Republican organs. They
can only be heard now as expressions of fright
and futility.
IN THE ANGRY and 'morbid meditations now
occurring inside the White House, there must be
some faintly grim awareness that Nixon's un-
doing has been largely the product of his own
self-revelations. Presumably the calculated risk
was that it was preferable to engage in limited

disclosure and thus try to head off even more
devastating stuiff.
But plainly the President and those who en-
dorsed his strategy totally misjudged that con-
sequences of their two major moves - the re-
lease of his tax returns and the subsequent is-
suance of the edited transcripts.
Each time the White House inner circle was
reported confident that most Americans would
be so moved by these gestures .of openness that
it would ignore or minimize the contents. Ob-
viously a certain contempt for the public in-
telligence - and sense of values - must have
loomed large in the decisions. The man who beat
one rap with 'the "Checkers speech" more than
two decades ago had apparently convinced him-
self that the formula was irresistible. One must
also believe he still fails to comprehend fully why
he is in such deep trouble. Amorality breeds se-
condAry forms of blindness.
But the countdown has begun.
While Nixon may choose to prolong the agony,
the outcome can hardly be in doubt. Too many
men on whom he relied for miracle aid have pro-
nounced him a terminal political case.
FOR REASONS perhaps more complex than
yet revealed, Willy Brandt knew when he. had
had it.
The analogy to Nixon's plight is hardly exact
and in some basic respects unfair. Brandt is a
man of deep convictions and personal valor who
repeatedly risked his life in the underground
anti-Nazi movement and later resolutely defend-
ed Berlin against the Soviet thrust. Nixon emer-
ges more clearly than ever as a shallow oper-
ator devoid of either profound principle or per-
sonal loyalties. For Brandt, power has been
the instrument of a lifelong social idealism; for
Nixon, it has been a thing to pursue and preserve
for its own sake.
Even in his isolation, Nixon must have been
jolted by the news of Brandt's abdication. In
comparison with Nixon's mounting, raging sea
of troubles, Brandt seemed to be facing nothing
more ominous than a spring cloudburst.
Private problems may have accentuated his
distress. But the clear implication of his re-
signation was that he had not woven any fan-
tasies of indispensability (although he might
have made a stronger case than Nixon).
Now, especially, because of the volatile nature
of the American scene, Brandt could have told
himself that his own presence in high office was
more urgently needed than ever. Instead, he
resigned, in his words, "out of respect for the
unwritten rules of democracy." Can Nixon miss
the message much longer?
Copyright, New York Post Syndicate, 1974.



To Th
it clez
the le
of Mai
of sev
ing the
is a g
free tc
ed to,
on the
the for
on the
the U

Letters to the
e Daily: this fascist "science" and "cul-
ANN ARBOR S t u d e n t ture."
nent would like to make -Ann Arbor Student
ar that it never endorsed Movement
tter statement which ap- May 14
d in the Michigan Daily
y 11th, with the signatures .struggle
'eral organizations includ-
e Ann Arbor Student Move- To The Daily:
A member of our organi- AS A PROLONGED "y e a'r
allowed our name to ap- abroad" student, and E u r o-
as a co-signer without the pean reporter for the Daily and
ment of our organization. other newspapers, I have had
wish to reaffirm at t h i s the occasion to observe certain
our organization's f u 11 differences between the political
rt for all students, student structures and tendencies in
zations, and film groups in 'Europe and the United States.
just struggle against the One of these differences is that
University of Michigan European leftists (especially
istration which has always French student activists) often
a total dictatorship over fall into the "don't worry, eco-
ts, through various nomic and electoral change will
es, 'investigations,' and solve all our problems" trap.
rules and regulations. It M
ood thing that students are .Meanwhile, their counterparts
oo ng th atck s are- in the American "new left" and.
ng these attacks and de- "counter-culture" often spend
ig a truly academic at- too much time and energy on
ere chs ideastuden a en"specific issues, such as women's
er. liberation, ecology, gay libera-
tion, racial discrimination, and
THE same time our or- use of bicycles instead of cars,
tion condemns all at- without dealing directly with
s to push the degenerate the forces behind sexism, auto-
re" of the U.S. monopoly mobiles, and the masculine and
list class. We are oppos- feminine myths. The perfect ex-
all fascist cultural attacks ample of this is the "struggle"
for the legalization of mari-
people whether they take juna. While' marijuana should
rm of anti-people apd anti- be legalized and de-mystified,
sg class films or "sexploi- in my opinion, this reform would
movies or the fascist not be a fundamental change in
.h the American society; on the
es of B. F. .Skinner, contrary, the legalization of
ley, or "Zero Population marijuana might "de-Radicalize"
h," etc. All these attacks many American activists, as the
people emanate from the "end" of the Viet Nam war
holy capitalist class;. and did. I agree with Bobby Seale
who once said: "Making mari-
niversity of Michigan au- juana legal won't feed the peo-
es are notorious pushers of ple.".

IF BY SAYING this, some
reader mightsuspect that I im-
ply that the capitalist - f r e e
enterprise system is in part re-
sponsible for racism, pollution,
and the prolongation of sexist
ethnic stereotypes (through tele-
vision), that reader is complete-
ly correct.
As a former copper miner in
a "right-towork law" state, I
can assure any doubting Thom-
as that, from my exepriences,
working in an underground mine
is more destructive to one's
health (and to the environment)
than smoking marijuana could
ever be. I hear little about "tie
fight against copper mines," or
against asembly lines, in t h e
leftist press, however. The
"saleability" of copper mnes,
assembly lines, and even Viet
Nam wars, (not to mention au-
tomobile usage instead of pub-
lic transport) as opposed to
marijuana could be the reason
for the "'legality" of the former
and the illegality of the latter.
This observer from the other
side of the Atlantic believes that
a concurrent struggle for spec-
ific changes (drug laws, more
rigid anti-pollution laws, etc.),
and efforts to effect more basic
changes in the American eco-
nomic end social structures, are
what's really needed from the
American left.
AFTER MY Arizona exper-
iences, I had the habit of tell-
ing Ann Arbor ecologists that
"the real air pollution is in the
factories and the coal mines "
Paul O'Donnell
Barcelona, Spani
May 7


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