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January 07, 1981 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4

OPINION
Wednesday, January 7, 1980

The Michigan Daily

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mess

The following remarks are excerpted
from a speech given by Detroit Mayor
Coleman Young at Winter Commen-
cement on December 21, 1980.
Commencement is a beginni1, You are
about to join what a lot of you jokingly call the
"real" world. I've been a part of that world
for a long time. I wish I could tell you it's
going to be a bed of roses. It's not, and I think
you know that.
This country is in trouble. We face an
economic and social crisis as severe in some
aspects as the Great Depression. This
severity is not generally recognized because
it does not impact with uniformity across the
nation.
ECONOMIC STORM warnings are up
throughout the country's industrial hear-
tland-the frostbelt areas of the east and
midwest. That's part of the problem, since all
of us are not aware that a problem exists, or
feel that since it affects somewhere alse, it is
of only academic concern.
The economic concerns we face today in the
cities and in the north immediately threaten
the overall national economy and there is no
easy way out. There are no painless solutions.
As Felix Rohatyn has said in seeking a
solution, "our national choice might well be
between extreme pain and agony." We can,
and I believe we will, survive and prosper,
and build a better tomorrow.
America's industrial complex is in trouble.
Take automobiles: We used to make more
cars than all the rest of the world put
together. Now, we barely hold our own again-
st the Japanese. This unprecendented foreign
challenge to the country's auto industry
means fear at best and misery at worst for the
one in five Americans who depend on autos
for their daily bread.
THE SAME IS true for just about every
basic industry in this country. Autos, steel,
glass, and chemicals are all teetering on the
razor's edge. The country will have a national
tragedy on its hands if these basic industries

go under. Hundreds of thousands of families
will be caught up in a disastrous depression
that will teach every one of you what your
folks meant when they talked about the
terrible times of the 1930s.
Today America is a land divided. Recent
gains by minorities toward equality and im-
proved racial relations are now threatened by
the resurgence of the political right and the
self-styled moral majority.
But our divisions in America run deeper
than that-we see frostbelt vs. sunbelt, city
vs. suburb, the emergence of a new under-
class of permanently unemployed (the
"structurally unemployed" as they are
known in Washington bureaucracies.) Our
central cities have increasingly become the
exclusive domain of the poor, the black, the
brown, and the aged. As the life span grows,
many older Americans on static and
inadequate incomes face this winter with a
choice of buying enough food or fuel. There is
not enough money for both, a literal choice of
starving or freezing to death. We are headed.
full tilt for deep trouble.
WE MUST TURN things around fast. We
have to change the way America does
business. It is too late to turn back the clock.
The price for recovery cannot be bought with
the misery of those at the bottom of the lad-
der. Such an effort would provoke the dam-
nedest social and economic explosions wit-
nessed in recent history.
I am talking about change unmatched since
the Great Depression and the New Deal. We
need a national effort if we are to cope with
that change. The federal government has to
be involved. We cannot fold our hands while
the rule of the market place wrecks the lives
of millions of people. Despair is not our style.
We can't afford it now. We'll need fresh new
ideas if we're to handle the challenge of rein-
dustrialization. People like you will have to
help provide these new ideas. Government at
all levels will have to play a major role if we
are to succeed.
In addition, cities, local governments, and
som e states-like M ichigan- face an un-A
T o Y O A P c o oA A ib F
of Tie 1AMA keGit~e
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age for
precedented fiscal crisis. I know that's strong
language. After all, during the 30s, when a
quarter of the country was out of work, com-
munities everywhere couldn't meet a payroll,
and hundreds defaulted or went bankrupt.
Still, I think today's problems are every bit as
severe, with even greater potential risks for
the country as a whole in relation to the rest of
the world.
TODAY'S CRISIS is centered on the great
cities of the industrial heartland. In Detroit,
for example, unemployment is "officially" 18
percent. For blacks, it is at least double that.
Cities all across the frostbelt areas are in the
same boat. And they need federal help. The
bootstraps have been pulled as far as they can
go. In Detroit, during the past 18 months we
have cut City Hall employment from 24,560 to
20,000, the lowest level in decades. Yet we
face a $100 million shortfall on a budget of $1.5
billion for the coming fiscal year. Other
major cities face similar fiscal crises.
The fiscal collapse of Detroit or other major
cities is not just a problem for the people of
those cities. The effects of such collapses
would sweep across the land. Collapse could
cripple efforts to revive basic industry.
Collapse could turn once proud metropolises
into sink holes of violence and despair. This is
a national problem requiring a national
solution.
FINALLY, LET'S LOOK at the issue of
equal rights. Black or white, rich or poor, we
want certain things. We all want equal oppor-
tunity, safe streets, a good education for our
children, and respect. The drive for equal
rights for blacks and others is part of that
dream. Our country has been moving in the
right direction. But we shouldn't kid our-
selves. We still have a long way to go. Too
many blacks, too many Spanish-speaking
Americans, and too many women are stuck at
the bottom of the totem pole.
Many people don't understand why Miami
exploded in flames this year. I say "ex-
plosion" as opposed to riot because the word
"riot" in American too often connotes conflict
of race against race. Such riots have not oc-

1981

, ,

curred in the United States for some time.
The more recent explosions, as in Watts,
Newark, Detroit '67, etc., have been marked
by mortal conflict between members of the
black community and largely white police
forces. These explosions have represented
blacks striking out in anger and agony at
social oppression, and almost always were
triggered by police abuse. Some thought all'
this was a thing of the past-that's because
the picture is a lie. It is not commonly
recognized that most of these conditions still
exist, sometimes in exacerbated form.
PEOPLE RIOT WHEN circumstances
leave them no other choice. Too many blacks
and minorities find themselves trapped in an
unending cycle of poverty and despair. Disin-
tegrating tax bases, poor services, and inferior
education seem to deny hope of escape. If
these circumstances continue, people will,
take to the streets the way the people of Liber-
ty City in Miami did. We face a national
calamity unless we act now.
Americans voted the way they did this year
because they were angry, frustrated, and a'
little bit scared. When Mr. Reagan asked
whether or not they felt better off today than':
four years before, they said no. They turned,
Jimmy Carter and some liberal Democratic *6
senators out of office because they decided to
give Reagan and the Republicans a chance to
show they could do better.
To me, the election does not mean the end
or the rejection of the "hard-won" liberal
principles and values like compassion;
decency, caring, and equity contained in the
fair housing, civil rights, and equal rights'
initiatives of the past. What it does suggest is
that the public wants us to look at how we can'
improve upon the delivery of these services to
the American people.
There issues can't be dealt with by preten-
ding the great crash never happened, civil'
rights laws were a mistake, that Vietnam was
a "noble cause," or that the New Deal is not a
reality. It is our challenge, yours as well as
mine, to build upon our nation's tradition of
the past fifty years to accomplish this goal.

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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Vol. XCTINo. 83'

420AnaynaordSt,
Ann Arbor, Ml 48109

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

NOT

Reagan and registration

O NCE AGAIN, the Selective Service
has kicked off a week of
registration of young men for a
possible draft. A new set of young men
must now wrestle with their conscien-
ces and decide whether they will com-
ply with the registration requirement,
thus helping to make the misguided ef-
fort a success, or will defy the order and
risk both fine and imprisonment. It is
not an easy decision, but it is one that
every 18-year-old American man must
grapple with.
The dilemma might be rendered
academic if President-elect Ronald
Reagan were more vocal during this
transition period about any plans to
discontinue the program. It is a bit un-
settling that Reagan has remained as
passive as he has on the issue since his
election. His steadfast opposition to
registration in campaign speeches has
faded since his November victory. In-
stead of offering a specific outline for a
plan to disband the registration
program, Reagan has offered no
elaboration on his plans, leaving his
true intentions shrouded in vagueness.
Alarmingly, it is not entirely far-
fetched to imagine Reagan announcing
a change of heart about registration
following his inauguration. It is unfor-
tunately conceivable that Reagan
might allow the program to continue

operating, or, worse yet, in keeping
with his vow to achieve military
superiority over the Soviet Union, he
might push for escalation of the
registration into a peacetime military -
draft.
If Reagan is truly committed to ef-
fecting an end to draft registration, he
would do well to vocally oppose the
program now while it is in full swing.
By remaining silent on the issue, he
passively condones the government's
efforts to gear up for some future
military adventure abroad.
Also, if Reagan intends to end
registration once he takes office, the
millions of dollars the Selective Ser-
vice spends in these next few weeks
registering all American 18-year-old
men will be for naught. With Reagan's
repeatedly avowed contempt for
government waste, it would seem that
he might wish to help prevent the
useless spending on registration. But,
Reagan has made no effort to convince
the present administration of the
futility of continuing the registration
program.
We only hope that Reagan reaffirms
his opposition to registration after he
settles into the Oval Office, since it is
apparent the issue has been placed on
the back burner for the transition
period.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Let's help out those poor regents

To the Daily:
$77,000 for the regents to go to
the Rose Bowl! How paltry! How
miserly! These are, after all, the
leading officers of a university
with a proud tradition. What kind
of example do you think was set
when the proud officials of our
university were allotted a measly
$77,000? Don't you know regents
have to eat, too! How tight can
you get! The football team and
the marching band ought to be
ashamed of themselves! If they
had paid their own way and had
paid their own bills, there would
have been much more money for
the impoverished officials of the
University-those small-"r''
regents.
You can't help but wonder what
state higher education is in when
athletic funds must be taken
away from allotments that would
maintain the dignity and gran-
deur of the regency, and
used-can you imagine this-to

How can I explain to these
detractors of the .Univer-
sity-these Ohioans eager for
gossip about the Maize and
Blue-how we could afford
$77,000 for the regents of our
university? How?
You'll be happy to know,
though, that the alumni here have
started a fund to help the regents

out next year. I should be able to
forward the Daily some funds
soon. My fundraising efforts have
been hampered somewhat-in-
flation is still raging, you know,
and the closing of the steel mills
has hit this town hard-but we set
the standard contribution low
enough so that almost everyone
could contribute.

And yes-more than eighty per-
cent of the alumni have already
sent in their two-cent con-
tribution.
-Jack Reisman
Chief Fundraiser,
Regents Emergency
Relief Fund
Youngstown, Ohio
January 1

A

Winning without sacrificing integrity

To the Daily:
An open letter to Don Canham:
I have noted with dismay the
scandals in athletic departments
here on the west coast, par-
ticularly in the Pacific 10 con-
ference. Cheating is not new in
college athletics, but the latest
scandals are different in both
kind and degree. -At USC,
probably the most "high profile"
among the offending schools, at
least 330 academically deficient

The University of Michigan is
one of the great universities of
the world. Michigan's traditions
of excellence in academics and
athletics need no elaboration. As
the architect of Michigan's
athletic excellence over the past
two decades, you deserve the
respect and admiration of all
who love Michigan. I sincerely
hope that, in the pursuit of fur-
ther victories, you do not allow
Michigan's hard-won reputation

compromised.
I have personally witnessed
three painful defeats in the Rose,
Bowl. As a west coast resident, .I-
am constantly reminded of these
defeats. I want Michigan to win
as much as anyone, but not by
sacrificing the integrity of a
great university. Such victory
would be Pyrrhic indeed.
-Glenn A. Myers
Class of 1974
Berkeley. CA

jr 4K

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