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February 15, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-15

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01

OPINION

Page 4
e g b tsanichig an
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Sunday, February 15, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Backing gays poses dilemma

Vol. XCI, No. 117

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Primary Endorsem ents:
Peterson clear choice in 1 st Ward;

When white Northern liberals went South to
Selma in 1963, they had much to worry about:
ridicule, abuse, even death. The heroic efforts
of those who perished in the Civil Rights
struggle will not soon be forgotten.
When brave Scandinavians, Dutch, and
Slavs hid their Jewish countrymen to protect
them from the Nazis during the thirties, their
risk was even greater: to be called a "Whites
Obliquity
By Joshua Peck

L OWELL PETERSON is the clear
choice for council member in the
First Ward Democratic primary.
Peterson, 22, recognizes the concerns
and problems of students in Ann Arbor
and has proven his ability to work
toward their solution.
As a legislative aide to state Rep.
Perry Bullard and a resident of Ann
Arbor, Peterson is well aware of the
difficulties that confront students-a
critical shortage of affordable housing,
and crime, especially rape, on campus
and surrounding areas.
Peterson has promised to push for
better city planning that would en-
courage the construction of more
multi-family dwellings to help
alleviate the city housing crunch. He is
also a strong supporter of plans that
would provide late-night public tran-
sportation for Ann Arbor residents and
students.

Peterson's opponent, Clinton Smith,
has offered few substantive proposals
concerning long range city issues.
Although Smith offers some innovative
proposals on the issue of police protec-
tion (that of increasing police visibility
through a new reliance on foot
patrols), and agrees with much of
Peterson's approach to the housing
crunch, his platform becomes vague
on the matter of city government ef-
ficiency.
Smith argues that the efficiency of
city employees can be dramatically
improved thus saving the city many
taxdollars. Yet, Smith's proposals
aimed at achieving this end are in-
complete and would not likely be effec-
tive.
Peterson, although not new to city
politics, has a fresh, intelligent ap-
proach to city issues that could very ef-
fectively serve the students and
residents of the first ward.

Jew," the name the Third Reich applied to
Gentile sympathizers with the Jews, meant
derision and sometimes even death.
YET FOR ALL their courage, neither
American liberals nor European "White
Jews" ever had to suffer one stigma that
might have given them pause, had they been
faced with it: Neither risked being identified
as a member of the oppressed minority they
had chosen to help protect.
That may sound like a truth too obvious to
be mentioned at all, yet it bears heavily on a
systematic display of disdain and oppression
that has fouled and continues to foul the lives
of a sizable portion of the American
population today. I refer to the condition of
the American homosexuals.
I suspect I am not the only liberal who finds
discrimination against gays every bit as ob-
noxious as that against blacks, Jews, women,
and other groups who have at various times

suffered the chauvinistic narrow-mindedness
of the powerful. Yet to come out with liberal
views on the matter of gay rights is taken by
many to be equivalent to "coming out" in the
more colloquial sense; i.e., to endorse gay
equality is to confess to homosexuality
oneself.
ENLIGHTENED THINKERS WHO have
embraced the rights of virtually every other
wronged minority have remained closeted in
comfortable silence on what, in my view, is
currently the most pressing injustice in
American life.
Just last week, Representative Jon Hinson
was allegedly discovered in the act of "at-
tempted sodomy" (oral sex, presumably)
with a man in a Congressional office building
bathroom. Reaction from liberal opinion
makers was predictable and misplaced; they
rejoiced that a conservative southern
congressman who had wholeheartedly endor-
sed the reactionary rhetoric of "family
protection" (anti-abortion, anti-ERA, anti-
extramarital sex), should find himself the
victim of his own ideology.
I find it difficult to feel anything but sorrow
for Hinson. Obnoxious as his election plank
may have been, there is no reason for his
sexual preference to have ended his political
life. To the extent that the legislation Hinson
pushed thwarted others' freedom, he ought to
be censured; to the extent that he is a victim
of intolerance, he ought to be supported.
THE TABOO against homosexuality is un-
derstandable from a historical viewpoint: It
stems from a time when the population of the
world was comparatively tiny and when the
infant mortality rate was comparatively
enormous. Activity which relieved sexual
tension but did nothing to build a society's

numbers was seen - not unreasonable,
perhaps - as societal suicide.
But logical arguments against the practices
of homosexuality were not as strong as
religious prohibitions. And so an irrational
ethic, beneficial in its own day but oppressive
in ours, was born.
The arguments never seem to change: "It's
not natural," the moralists argue. Yet it oc-
curs in nature. "Male equipment and female
equipment just weren't designed to fit with
their own kind." Gays don't seem to
mind; why should we? "Th'ey're products of
an unnatural attachment to the opposite-sex
parent." And what if they are? Once they are
of consensual age, and if they are mating only
with co-operative partners, what difference
does it make that their psychosexual
development may have been different from
most? Homosexual adults, like any other
adults, ought to be free to make personal
decisions about lifestyle without interference
or embarrassment.
Compared to the task of educating the
citizenry, passage of anti-discrimination laws
is child's work. The greater and uglier battle
is with the mindset of individuals who would
hate others for loving the "wrong" kind.
Though I understand that hatred, I contend
that it has no place in civilized society.
Moral Majoritarians are again tugging at
the reins, ready to unleash their polemic and
their politicians on deviants from what they
imagine to be the true path. Perhaps liberals
-rof all sexual persuasions - will be ready
for them.

Joshua Peck is a Daily staff writer. His
column appears every other Sunday.

. j

Incumbent Morris in 2d Ward;

Weasel

IN THE predominantly-student
second ward, Councilwoman Leslie
Morris is worthy of re-election to a
third term. In her four years as a coun-
cilmember, Morris has made herself
accessible to her constituents and has
generally fought for students' in-
terests.
Perhaps Moms' ,greatest service is-
her responsiveness to the requests and
suggestions of her constituency. She
has always encouraged the input of the
students and residents of the second
ward and has consistently worked to
cut through City Hall red tape in an ef-
fort to solve constituents' problems.
Although Morris has been successful
in attacking the small problems and
responding to the individual complain-
ts of residents, she seems to have of-
fered little effective leadership on City
Council toward attacking the major1
Velker reluctantly
N THE FIFTH ward, neither
candidate in the Republican
primary is very appealing. The choice
is between a man who offers no sub-
stantive platform and another whose
past campaigns have threatened to
mix politics and religion. We reluctan-
tly endorse the latter.
Louis Velker is the station manager
of an Ypsilanti Christian radio station.
In previous campaigns he has
repeatedly stressed that he seeks a
council seat because "Christians
should be more involved in the com-
munity." In an interview during his
unsuccessful campaign last year,
Velker said, "before they (some
Christians) do anything, they say 'How

problems plaguing her constituency.
During the four years Morris has ser-
ved on City Council, there has been no
measurable improvement in the
second ward's acute housing shortage
or crime prevention.
Morris' opponent in the Democratic
primary race, Robert Ewing, cannot
be easily dismissed as a serious con-
tender.'Ewing is a strong proponent of
downtown revitalization and fiercly
opposes the proposed "halfway"
correctional facility, which would be
built in Ewing's neighborhood on
Broadway Rd. But, Ewing seems to
have little real understanding of city
politics and offers few serious
proposals that would effectively ad-
dress major city issues.
Leslie Morris deserves re-election,
but she must redirect some of her vast
energies toward developing solutions
to the long-range city problems
5th Ward choice
would Jesus Christ have done it?' I
would like to be a councilman with that
thought in mind."
Although during this year's cam-
paign he has downplayed his strong
religious affiliations, it is still
worrisome that he might allow his
religious beliefs to influence his
political decisions.
Yet, Velker's opponent, A.J. Lalon-
de, has no platform to endorse. Lalon-
de has been unable to propose any sub-
stantive course of action and has been
reluctant even to name the campaign
issues.
We endorse Velker in the primary
only because he is the most reasonable
of two dismal alternatives.

THSSBA I4NWA(NA
FO M I Oi ?CA i
GONN BEA CNCH
(99<' 4

HI 5 MUST BE
714E ROOM WHERE-[
TREY( KEEP ALL 7IE~
TEST ANIMALS.
/

- c - &-4CRlTU S

by Robert Lence
I WOLDNT BE P-WI

0
0

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

.

Primary candidates and gay rights

'

To the Daily:
Tomorrow, voters in Ann Arbor
will have the opportunity,
through a primary election, to
choose candidates for the April
City Council race. The
Lesbian/Gay Political Caucus of
Washtenaw County believes that
everyone wanting equality for
gay people should be well-
informed about the positions of
these primary candidates. To
work toward this goal, the
Caucus recently sent each can-
didate a questionnaire, along
with an invitation to participate
in both a recent Sunday Gay
Discussion Group meeting and an
in-depth interview with caucus
members.
Through this reseach, the
caucus has determined the stan-
ces of those candidates who
responded, on issues concerning
gay and lesbian rights.
In Ward 1, the primary contest
is between Democrats Lowell
Peterson and Clinton Smith.
Candidate Smith did not respond
to our questionaire. Further, af-
ter agreeing to attend Sunday's
Discussion Group meeting, he did
not show up. Candidate Peterson
on the other hand, was ex-
tremely cooperative with the
caucus: responding to us in writ-
ten form, answering questions for
Sunday's Discussion Group, and
meeting with the caucus for fur-
ther dialogue.
Peterson's position is strongly
pro-human rights for all people,
with particular support for labor

and disenfranchised minorities.
He promised the caucus that, if
elected, he would attempt to
make Ann Arbor's human rights
ordinance work more effectively
than is presently the case.
In Ward 2, the race is between
Democratic incumbent Leslie
Morris and Robert Ewing. In this
case, both candidates cooperated
with the caucus. Candidate
Ewing, through taking part in
Synday's Discussion Group,
voiced opposition to
discrimination against gay men
and lesbians. He also expressed
pro-environmental views, and
stated a desire to continue Ann
Arbor's development as an
economic community. The major
focus of Ewing's campaign
seems to be the proposed Broad-
way Avenue halfway house and
his fight against it.
Similarly, candidate Morris is
also hesitant to support this
correctional facility. In respon-
ding to questions at the Sunday
group, she promisedto continue
advocating for student, low-
income, and tenant populations.
In more in-depth conversation
with the political caucus, she
promised to investigate the
alleged weakness of Ann Arbor's
human rights ordinance (as it
relates to lesbian and gay people)
and voiced willingness to in-
troduce legislation to strengthen
its enforcement. Incumbent
Morris' greatest assets seem to
be her commitment to City
Council as a fulltime respon-

sibility, and her knowledge of
Ann Arbor's political system
(and an ability to get things done
within the structure).
The third primary election
takes place in Ward 5. Neither
Republican candidate, A. J.
LaLonde or Louis Velker,
cooperated with the Caucus.
Candidate LaLonde returned our
questionaire unanswered, with
the comment, "I am not a sup=
porter of homosexuality." He
stated, however, that he felt gays
are entitled to basic Con-
stitutional rights.
Candidate Velker wrote back to
the Caucus, saying that he
refused to represent any "special
interest group." Accordingly, he

declined to respond to our
questions, or to meet with the
caucus in any setting.
In closing, we hope the voters
find the above information useful
in their selection of candidates.
We urge all lesbians, gay men,
and supporters of human rights
to vote in this primary: because
voter turnout in primary elec-
tions is not generally strong, the
gay and lesbian vote can
definitely have an impact. Let's
not waste our chance!

-Jody Wludyka,
Lesbian/Gay Political
Caucus of Wash-
tenaw County
February 13

al

Socialism the answer

.

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To the Daily:
President Reagan's inaugural
theme was "America-a New
Beginning." But there is not
much new about the beginning of
1981 for working people, who still
face double-digit inflation, a new
round of energy hikes and, ac-
cording to an Agricultural
forecast, at least a 12 percent in-
crease in food prices in the
coming year.
Already mired deep in record-
high consumer debt, workers
face the prospect of having to
borrow more money at interest
rates near 20 percent - just to
make ends meet. With millions of
workers already out of work,
capitalist spokesmen are predic-
ting yet another economic down-

turn. According to Business
Week, "the year 1981 will begin in -
recession."
To Socialist Labor Party
spokesmen, the only supportable
program of action which merits
serious consideration in these
nightmarish times is one which
calls for production for use and
social ownership of the industries
by the working-class majority.
Genuine Socialism in the form
of socialist industrial unionism is
the only hope of the world despite
Soviet Russia's phony claims to
it. The Polish workers have ex-
posed the myth that Soviet
Russia represents socialism or a
workers' government.
-Archie Sim
February 12

Garden cuts disastrous

To the Daily:
I wish to comment on your
article that appeared on the Mat-

There is more to growing plan-
ts than just sunshine and water,
and these people are trained hor-

7 _

1 - -

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