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October 27, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-27

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OPINION

f

4

Page 4

Tuesday, October 27, 1981-

The Michigan Daily

G IE dit b tua n o Min
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

An oxymoron for the Eighties

Vol. XCII, No. 41

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

He's 19, and he looks it. As he strums a
guitar for a small group of friends, soberly
promising a serious song and then
mischievously breaking into a children's dit-
ty, heSeems just like any conplacent, conten-
ted freshman or sophomore.
It's odd, though. He should look somehow
older and careworn. His brother, after all,
died a brutal death of starvation in a dank

Beyond the broadcast booth

T o MANY 4F the followers of
Michigan football he only may
have been the -man who screamed
wildly while broadcasting Michigan
football games, but for much of the
University community and Ann Arbor,
Bob Ufer was much more than that.
Ufer, the voice of Michigan football
for 37 years, died of cancer yesterday
at 61. While to most people he was
known for his flamboyant on-the-air
personality and amazing broadcast
record-until this year, Ufer had
broadcast 362 consecutive Michigan
football games-manywho knew him
say he was actually a more reserved
person in private life and one who was

active in civic and philanthropic
organizations.I
A deacon in his church, Ufer had also
been involved in little league baseball
for years and founded the Michigan
Quarterback's Club. The vociferous
broadcaster's recognition went past
the confines of loyal Michigan fans.
For instance, Michigan State Univer-
sity honored him with a decorated cake
after this year's Michigan-MSU game.
Clearly, Ufer's activities in Ann Ar-
bor spread far beyond the broadcast
booth. To football fans, his broadcasts
will be missed every football Saturday.
But for many, Bob Ufer will be missed
the other six days of the week.

Howard
Witt

cell in Northern Ireland. His brother was
Bobby Sands.
Sean Sands is a lot older and more
careworn than his tall, lean frame admits-he
just doesn't wear it on his sleeve. When he
talks of life, then you know.
HE TALKED for just a few minutes on
Saturday night at East Quad, addressing a
gathering of some 300 students from cam-
puses across the United States. But in those
few minutes, in a handful of words enriched
and embittered by his thick Gaelic accent,
Sean Sands captured the impossibly an-
tithetical essence of life in the world today: It_
sucks and it's hopeless, but you have to keep
hoping.
Optimistic Defeatism, you might call it-an
oxymoron for the Eighties.
"You know all those racks of bombs they've
got 'round the world," he said quietly.
"They're* not making them for nothing.
They're going to use them."

From a man who has so far had the courage
to reject the violent tactics of the Irish
Republican Army, the army for which his
brother died, such a dismally prophetic
comment is distressing. Because it is so true.
THEN, TEARS welling in his eyes, he
talked of desperation.
"Sure, I'm young. But I'm not stupid. I've got
ideas, new ideas . . ." He left the rest
hanging, not needing to add that the powerful
in the world don'twant to listen.
Sean Sands is in Florida today, talking with
college students there. Before he returns to
'his bleeding homeland, he will have visited
more than a dozen U.S. campuses. He wants
to go around the world, .not as some
propagandist for the Catholic cause in Nor-
thern Ireland, but as an individual trying to
sort things out for himself. He knows why his
country is rotting with hatred. He wants to
know why most other countries are festering.
The world sucks and the future's hopeless,
but Sean Sands keeps on hoping.
SO, TOO, DO the people who flocked to East
Quad this past weekend. They were attending
a national conference of the Progressive
Student Network, a loose coalition of hun-
dreds of groups ranging from gay rights ad-
vocates to anti-draft organizations, all con-
cerned about the debilitating effects of the
New Conservatism.
But their hope, like Sean's, is a wry, bitter,
ironic hope, unlike the unbridled idealism of
their liberal forebears of the Vietnam era. It
is a hope that expects the end of the world. It
is Optimistic Defeatism.
Where the students of the '60s and early '70s
perceived that the pendulum of history Was
swinging in their direction, the gloomy
students of today find no solace in such com-
fortable notions. They know the pendulum has
been running down in recent years. It has
just about stopped dead.

4
IT'S HARD TO explain just how this inef-
fable new philosophy works, but everyone can
understand it. In a through-the-looking-glass
world where a deep recession can coexist with
high inflation, where new weapons are
developed faster than treaties to limit them
can be negotiated, where a fraction of the
world's population controls a vast majority of
its wealth, Optimistic Defeatism fits right in.
I met a student from Madison, Wisconsin
who was gravely concerned about the strife in
Northern Ireland; he was a friend of Sean's.
We talked for a while about the history of the
conflict there and the reasons for the fighting,
and finally I asked him whether he thought
there might be any solution.
"Frankly, I think the Soviets will invade
Poland next week and World War III will
begin," he gave as an answer.
THAT IS THE language of Optimistic
Defeatism. Yet this same student who sin-
cerely believes the end of the world is at hand
took time out to travel 500 miles to a con-
ference of progressives; he actively supports
liberalcauses;ghe is working for change. To
some he might be crazy; to me, he makes a
whole lot of sense.
For how else are we 'to. deal with the im-
minent destruction of the earth? It's bound to
happen soon; if we don't ,blow ourselves up
we'll starve or freeze or pollute ourselves to
death. In the meantime, we try to keep our
sanity. We think only of today, tomorrow,
next month, next year. And we work for social
change in a vain attempt to persuadeour-
selves that we still have some control over our
own destiny.
The world sucks and it's hopeless, but we
continue to hope.
Witt's column appears every Tuesday.

6
6

0
0

A cheerful recession

(OFFICIALS IN the Reagan admini-
OJ stration released the latest
Consumer Price Index figures on
Friday, and, if you didn't know any,
better, you'd think the administration
-is suggesting that we should be happy
that we're in a recession.
The numbers themselves are not en-
couraging. The index, which seeks to
measure changes in consumer prices,
surged i.2 percent in September. That
works out to an annual rate of more
than 14 percent.
In short, that means that the nation
has been experiencing double-digit in-
flation since July.
And the administration's response?
"It's not as bad as the numbers
look," Robert Ortner, the Commerce
Department's chief economist chimed
in Friday. "With a softening economy,
it should not be anticipated that this
will continue."
So we should be happy that we're in a
recession?
Of course the bureaucrat is. right;

the recession the country is in may just
slow the economy down enough to ease
inflation somewhat.
But the real meaning of the new
figures is not that thet nation should
welcome the Reagan-induced
economic slowdown. Rather, they are
just continued manifestations of the
poverty of the Reagan program.
Reagan's military program-and
the continued deficit spending and high
interest rates which will accompany
it-can only further exacerbate the.
problems with both the inflation rate
and the recession.
If there is to be any prospect of
making real inroads into the inflation
rate-rather than just slowing it down
temporarily with a recession-the
huge federal outlay for the arms
buildup must be curbed.
Instead of even suggesting that the
nation should take solace in a
recession, the Reagan administration
should, take a look at some of the
reasons its economic program is
falling apart.

Wasserman

A

USED TO B
LIBERAL-

U Ff NE POH OR SAYE THE CII ES,
FRI1 o N RFORM - THE WHOLE BIT

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'BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE A TRILLION?'

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N\ WIFE AND WERE

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Michigan needs a fair tax system

To the Daily:
Alpena schools are broke and
have been shut down. Taylor Sc-
hools lost their millage Monday
October 19, and Pontiac is right
behind. These school district
taxpayers have a gun to their
heads. They must pass the
millage or deprive several
thousand students of.their basic
right to an education.
The other side of that choice is
this: Pass the millage and con-
fiscate the homes of the poor and
elderly who can't afford to pay
the cruelest tax since English
taxation finally ended in colonial
revolt and the Boston Tea Party.
You can go without tea, but not

without shelter in Alpena, Taylor,
and Pontiac.
The great colleges and univer-
sities-of the state are in a finan-
cial crises because the state can't
provide enough state support to
keep tuition from soaring and
thereby forcing students out of
higher education, unless their
parents are wealthy.
The present tax system is
based primarily on the-sales tax
and the flat rate income tax.
Both of these taxes are
regressive and fail to meet the.
standard of ability to pay.
The State Constitution, Article
9, Section 7 prohibits a graduated
income tax. This article doomed

the state's institutions and ser-
vices in a recession where demand
increases for unemployment
benefits and welfare payments.
The only way for the state to get
welfare and unemployment
money is to shift K-12 education
costs to property and "gut" sup-
port for universities and junior
colleges.
If we 'are going to revitalize
Michigan we can't destroy our
educational seed beds.

Wake up people of Michigan!
The tax structure should be based
on ability to pay, not on ability to
survive in adequate housing.
Michigan must have an amen-
dment to the Constitution to
remove the prohibition against
the graduated income tax. The
people of Michigan are not op-
posed to paying taxes which are
fair and based on ability to pay.
-Clair A. White
October 26

Some wisdom for Jed

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Feminists, where are you?

To the Daily:
Much has been said and written
lately about Jed and the Diag
preachers, and their version of
Christianity. The words of the

insight to the beliefs of these
Christians:
"Those who know, do not speak;
those whospeak, do not know."
-Tom Richardson

feminists have not yet protested

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