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August 11, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-08-11

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Page 4-Friday, August 11, 1978-The Michigan Daily
m.ilichigan imDAILY
Eighty-eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St. Ann Arbor, Mi. 48109
Vol. LXXXV~I, No. 63-S News Phone: 764-0552
Friday, August 11, 1978
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Smith backtracks
DY AGREEING to black majority rule begin-
ning January 1, 1979, Rhodesian Prime
Minister Ian Smith has tried to convince the world
that he has given up his racist ways. We aren't
convinced that he has.
Tuesday, the biracial interim government
headed by Smith outlawed racial discrimination in
public places, but excluded hospitals, state schools,
and segregated urban housing from the ruling. In
other words, they've limited the racism, but they
haven't eliminated it.
When Smith agreed to meet with black leaders
to discuss the possibility of majority rule, some
hailed it as a progressive step, which is exactly
what Smith wanted. But what many failed to
recognize was that Smith had no other choice. He
had been forced to the wall by guerrillas in his
own country, world opinion, and a loss of support
from South African Prime Minister John Vorster.
So he made no concession by agreeing to meet
with blacks and form an interim government that
would eventually give way to majority rule. If he
hadn't done it willingly he would likely have faced
a bloody revolution.
But he showed his true feelings by the restric-
tions he placed on black rule. Smith insisted that
20 seasts of Rhodesia's Parliament be reserved
for whites, giving them absolute veto power.
When radical blacks refused to accept these
terms they were simply denied a place in the new
government, and are currently hunted by
Rhodesian troops. These radicals were under-
standably suspicious of Smith and his proposals,
and Tuesday's action justifies their lack of trust.
SUMMER EDITORIAL STAFF
BARBARA ZAHS
Editor-in-Chef
BRIAN BLANCHARD KEN PARSIGIAN
Editorial Directors,
KEN PARSIGIAN
Magazine Editor
OWENGLEIBERMAN
Arts Editor
STEVE SELBST
Books Editor
ANDY FREEBERG
JOHN'KNOX
Photographers

Debate overproof:
why deny us drink*?

By Liz Slowik
In July, 1971, the state legisla-
ture granted adult
rights-voting, drinking, adult
status in courts among other
priviieges-to citizens over 18.
Now voters will decide whether
or not to allow those young people
to continue to drink alcoholic
beverages. According to forces
behind the effort to raise the
drinking age, Michigan residents
are more thanready to go along
with their movement.
Coalition for 21 and the
Macomb County Parent-
Teachers' Association (PTA)
banded together a year ago to
wage a campaign to put a
proposal on the November ballot
that, if approved, would raise the
drinking age to 21. In all other
respects, 18-to-20 year olds would
retain adult rights and privileges.
UNLIKE A BILL passed in
Lansing last spring, the ballot
proposal would take away the
privilege of drinking from those
who have been imbibing legally
since age 18. The bill approved in
the spring restricts those whose
birthday is on and after Dec. 3,
1978 from drinking, effective on
that date.
Our government up to this point
has not been designed to revoke
previously accepted privileges.
Even Prohibition was a failure.
Any measure to raise the
drinking age should not punish
those who already have enjoyed
the full status of the age of
majority. Taking away a single
privilege sets a precedent that
could lead to revocation of other,
more basic rights of young
adults.
If the ballot proposal passes in
November,dorm parties will
take a swing in a strange direc-
tion. Will several hundred
students in a dorm be satisfied to
play canasta while sipping
straight Coke on a Saturday_
night? I think not. Young adults
are more sophisticated today
than they were when drinking
was forbidden and house mothers
waited at doorsteps for curfew-
breaking residents. I think most
dorm residents would rather seek
booze from older students than
suffer through a dry house party.
A FROSTY MUG of beer at

Dooley's will be only a memory
for those under 21. So will
wineskins filled with vodka and
cider at football games. But, for
the 20-year-old's 21-year-old
roommate, these pleasures will
be legal.
How many will take this
seriously? I know I won't. Do
backers of this proposal think I
plan to obey an illogical law
which says that after two and a
half years of drinking I'll have to
abstain for four measly months?
Do they think I'll obey a law that,
in effect, claims that although at
18 I could handle liquor, at 20 I
cannot? I hope those people who
expect passage of this proposal
don't expect those of us who have
enjoyed the right to drink to
automatically give it up because
we are suddenly "not old
enough."
Coaliton for 21 has two main
arguments. First, the group
claims that a hike in the drinking
age will curtail car accidents
among drunk young adults. But a
study conducted by the Univer-
sity's Highway Safety Research
Institute indicates that even if the
drinking age is raised, fatality
statistics won't decrease because
availability of alcohol to the
general public has increased sin-
ce1971.
BILL FINLAN, co-director of
Coaliton for 21, also claims that
the "trickle-down effect" sets the
practical drinking age in
Michigan at 16. The ballot
proposal would, says Finlan,
keep alcohol out of Michigan's
high schools.
Proposal supporters have
neglected to substantiate this
argument. No one has produced
proof that a higher legal drinking
age will keep alcohol out of the

schools. Even in raising the
drinking age to 19, the legislature
simply presumed that a 19-year-
old no longer has connections
with high school students. In any
case, a person not old enough to
purchase booze can usually finda
willing surrogate buyer.
But the people really affected
by the proposal are already out of
high school. Some are married
and parents of children. Some
have been in college for several
years or have held steady jobs
over that period. Most have been
drinking, voting, signing contrac-
ts and some have been sued and
have sued others since they tur-
ned 18.
IN AN ANN ARBOR bar recen-
tly, the lead singer of a band
asked, "How many people under
21 are here?"
Close to half of those present,
beer or mixed drink in hand,
cheered.
"Well, there's a proposal on the
November ballot that would raise
the drinking age to 21. It's really
important to get everyone
registered and out to vote," the
singer said.
He's right. It is important to get
everyone who is against raising
the arbitrary drinking age to the
polls. And it is especially impor-
tant in a college town like Ann
Arbor where so many students
fall into the 18-20-year old age
bracket. If the general voter turn
out is small in November, but
enough sympathizers cast their
votes, there is a chance, however
slim, that the ballot proposal can
be defeated.
Liz Slowik is a steady citizen
who puts in sober time as a
Daily Night Editor.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Pursell backs ERA

To The Daily:
Your Letters to the Editor of

Sharp read the papers before he
writes to them.

- ~

91AP A05W

Aug. 9 contained an indictment of
Representative Carl Pursell's
human rights record:
specifically, Daniel Sharp wrote
of "Pursell's opposition to a time
extension of the Equal Rights
Amendment (ERA) ... (a) clear
indicator that he lacks consisten-
cy and conviction in this area."
Mr. Sharp is apparently
unaware that Pursell, then a
state senator, was instrumental
in obtaining support for
Michigan's ratification of the
ERA. He did, in fact, vote for it.
Finally, Mr. Sharp blithely
passed over the fact that, on July
31, Congressman Pursell publicly
-announced ,his en-orse ent of
extension of the, ratificatio'
deadline. I suggest that Mr.

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