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November 04, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-04

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4

Page 4 Tuesday, November 4, 1980 The Michigan Daily

Who ya gonna

vote for?I

I was thumbing through my tattered copy
of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations the other day,
looking for some pithy comments on voting.
(You know Bartlett's-the student's faithful
friend. It's that big blue book with the tissue-
thin pages and gobs of quotes that are just per-
fect for padding last-minute papers and
making you look well-read.)
JUST AS I had expected-Bartlett's, you
never let me down-there were about a dozen
vote quotes, almost all of, which (not sur-
prisingly) came from American statesmen.
"Vote early and vote often" was a popular
slogan in 1858, William Porcher Miles tells us

and Anderson-I've heard more than I care to
know from all of them. I have even learned
enough about Ed Clark and Barry Commoner
and Gus Hall to know not to vote for them. And
I know something about Pursell and
O'Reilly, Bullard and Barton, Proposal D and
Proposal B.
I'M TALKING ABOUT the really crucial
races, like the heated battles for Drain Com-
missioner and Register of Deeds. I'm going to
go into the voting booth today and pull levers to
elect people I've never heard of to jobs I've
never heard of at salaries I probably don't want
to hear of.
Take the Drain Commissioner, for instance.
What the hell does a Drain Commissioner do?
And why does he or she have to be elected to do
it?
Is the Drain Commissioner a major party
figure whose personal endorsement is courted
by all political hopefuls? I doubt it. When was

the last time you saw an ad for a Congressional
candidate that read: "Endorsed by President
Carter, Senator Riegle, and the Drain Com-
missioner"?
WOULD A DEMOCRATIC Drain Com-
missioner promise "A sewer in every
driveway, a sump pump in every basement"?
Would a Republican Drain Commissioner see
public sewers as welfare sewers? Would a
Citizens Party Drain Commissioner-opposed
to all types of pollution-outlaw all sewage?
I'll tell you one thing a Drain Commissioner
ought to do. A Drain Commissioner ought to
make sure the long slots in those damn sewer
gratings are placed perpendicular to the run of
a street. Have you ever caught a bicycle tire in
one of those grates?
The Drain Commissioner candidates (there
are two) talk in marvelous euphemisms,
elevating sludge and excrement to a more
noble "solid waste." "Solid waste

management" is a term you'll hear often. It
sounds so corporate.
"On-site sewage disposal" is another
favorite term. I think it refers to what you do
when you're on a camping trip in the woods
and there's no Porta-Potty in the area.
I WONDER IF there has been much mud-
slinging in the Drain Commissioner campaign.
As I have said, I don't know anything about
the Drain Commissioner candidates. But I do
know that I won't vote for Margaret Yorks, the
Republican contender. I read one of her ads in
the paper on Sunday and was convinced by a
quote that she was not the Drain Commissioner
for me. She said, "I have and will continue ac-
tive opposition to Proposal 'D."' Now I find it
laudable that she opposes Proposal D, but I
can't tolerate incomplete verbs. (Read the
quote without "and will," which is extraneous.)
Now you might argue that that is a pretty ar-
bitrary way to pick a candidate for Drain

Bitticisms
By Howard Witt

Ih

from the "b" column of Page 718. (He, I found
after a quick check in my Webster's
Biographieal Dictionary, was a Democratic
Representative to Congress from South
Carolina.) Jimmy Carter is probably hoping
that advice still holds in some parts of the coun-
try-especially in Democratic Chicago, where
the corpses boast the highest voter turnout rate
of any special interest group.
They had a lot of gumption in those older
days of raw democracy. William Marcy
Tweed, the Boss of New York's Tammany Hall,
snapped in November, 1871, "As long as I count
the votes, what are you going to do about it?"
Certainly that challenge is apt in these post-
Nixonian times.
0. Henry-the author (I think) of that great
little story about the wife who cuts her hair and
buys a Speidel watchband and the husband who
sells his watch and buys a bottle of V05-once
said, "A straw vote only shows which way the
hot air blows."
AND THEN THERE was Grover
Cleveland-one of those few presidents almost
always forgotten when you try to name all the
presidents. He said, "Your every voter, as
surely as your chief magistrate, exercises a
public trust."
That quote really makes me uncomfortable.
For if voting truly is the exercise of a public
trust, then when I enter that booth today, I will
be violating my responsibility in the worst
possible way: I have not studied all the can-
didates and will not make an informed
decision.
Oh, sure, I know about Carter and Reagan

'

n LWODIKO
VOE OR. .

rnno
Commissioner, and I will agree 100 percent.
But what choice do I have? Our political
system demands that we vote for a Drain
Commissioner, and it is our civic duty to pick
one. Never mind that we have neither the time
nor the interest to research the relative
abilities of the the Drain Commissioner can-
didates. We've got to vote for one, and by gum,
we will.
IT'S NOT TOO difficult to understand how.
Robert Tisch, author of the notorious Tisch tax
cut plan (Proposal D), got elected Shiawassee
County Drain Commissioner.
Can you imagine campaigning to become
Registerof Deeds? Now there's a job that's a
real mystery: You can make a pretty good
guess about what a Drain Commissioner does,
but a Register of Deeds? Maybe if you help an.4
old woman across the street you can report it to
the Register of Deeds.
The incumbent Register of Deeds has said it
will be difficult to find areas in which Register
of Deeds spending can be cut because much of
the office work is routine. Now there's an un-
derstatement.
I DON'T KNOW anything about the two can-
didates for Register of Deeds. I'll probably
employ a sure-fire method of choosing one
when I get into the booth: Eeeny, Meeny,
Miney, Mo.
Washtenaw County Commissioners? Oh,
sure. Even the candidates themselves don't
seem to know what a Washtenaw County
Commissioner is supposed to do. One of them,
when asked about the major issues facing the
county commissioner, said, "I'll have to cop
a plea on that one."
Maybe I'll try an old summer camp trick to
choose my county commissioners: Hor
sengoggling."
STATE SUPREME COURT? State Court of
Appeals? Circuit Court? District Court? I hope,
qualified candidates are running for seats on
those august benches, because I sure don't
know anything about them. I'll probably vote
for the nicest sounding names.
With all these mystery races on the ballot,
it's not too surprising that fewer and fewer
people go to the polls on Election Day each
year.
Voting for the minor offices is like playing
Russian Roulette with a few bullets. You click
the lever and hope for the best.
And voting for president is like playing with a
fully loaded gun. You click the lever and you
lose.
Howard Witt is the co-editor of the
Daily's Opinion Page. His column appears
every Tuesday.

I 'l . \1 \ , , . I

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

ed t ant Mihigan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCI, No.53

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Carl Pt
To the Daily:
We are writing to urge your
readers to carefully consider the
choices facing us as voters in the
1980 Congressional election.
As members of the academic
community, we find the future of
higher education in the fields of
health and social sciences
threatened by unprecedented
financial challenges, not only at
the state level but at the federal
level as well. As never before, it
is imperative that our interests
be represented in Washington by
an individual with great sen-
sitivity to our immediate and, of-
ten, very specific community
needs.

trsell supportive
Carl Pursell, current two-term budget rescissions so
Representative from the 2nd Administration and f
Congressional District of sure the continuat
Michigan, has, over the past four biomedical research,
years, demonstrated such sen- grants of the Nation
sitivity and responsiveness. As a of Health. He spoke
member of the influential House House Floor in sup
Appropriations Subcommittee Higher Education Am
responsible for health and 1980 which con
education funding, and in line to authorization for stc
be the third Ranking Minority cial assistance, inclu
Member of that subcommittee in loan and college
the nextg Congress, he is in a programs.
position particularly suited to the He also pressed
needs of our area. Government Operatic
From his seat on that commit- tee, when it drafte(
tee, Congressman Pursell has for a new Depa
defended nursing and other Education, to prc
health service programs against academic freedom a

So today's the election

of
ought by the
fought to in-
ion of new
and training
al Institutes
out on the
port of the
nendments of
tain vital
udent finan-
ding student
work-study
the House
ons Commit-
d legislation
artment of
otect local
nd creative
prospect of
ntervention.
s have been
i other areas
to the State
pleased, too,
r reasonable
al spending
ent of clear
se constrain-

IT'S NOVEMBER 4 at last. Thousands
of candidates for public office have
for months looked forward to today as
the start of political careers that could
last a lifetime. Thousands of others
have long dreaded today as the
possible end of lengthy political
careers that shaped the fortunes and
destinies of thousands or millions of
constituents.
The single most striking feature of
this election is the small percentage of
the electorate that will participate in
it.. Fewer and fewer voters have
registered during each of the last,
several election years; fewer of the
registered voters have actually gone to
the polls. Unsurprisingly,ran especially
low percentage of poor Americans
exercise their right to vote.
The disturbing fact is that the poor
simply don't feel represented by any of
the candidates with a shot at the

presidency. We can only hope that
future elections will change that.
We are faced with yet another
disturbing possibility in today's
premier contest; that Ronald Reagan
will fail to win a majority of the
popular vote, and yet will come up with
a victory through the Electoral College
system. -
It has not happened since 1888 that a
candidate took office without a
plurality of the electorate behind him;
perhaps we have begun to think of the
College as a mere formality. It is
nothing of the kind, and we only hope
that the unfortunate paradox the
current system makes possible does
not show its head today.
It had to happen sometime that the
Electoral College controversy would
come to the fore again; perhaps the
spectre of Ronald Reagan will frighten
the nation's legislators into
reassessing the College's worth.

education
Michigan in Lansing nurtured the
development of legislative skills
and statesmanship so important
in maximizing effectiveness with
fellow federal legislators. He has
found, to our satisfaction, a fair
balance in representing the
national and local interest in
education and health with the
inevitable benefits that can ac-
crue to our own academic com-
munity. He has listened to our
views and counsel and, in turn;
sought our professional expertise
in the drafting of legislation. In
fostering such two-way ex-
changes, he offers opportunity
for personal input in federal
decision-making and has en-
couraged in return responsible
advocacy on our part. Despite his
busy Congressional committee
schedule, he has found time to
personally follow through on sup
port for our University programs
in competing for federal grants.
Carl Pursell has earned our
confidence and we respectfully
urge our fellow citizens to join us
in supporting him November 4.
-Beatrice Kalisch, Ph.D., RN
William Kelley, MD

We all must sacrifice

To the Daily:
Like every other student at the
University, I have been constan-
tly reminded that Proposal D
would result in higher tuition,
discontinuation of financial aid,
and the elimination of a number
of University programs and ser-
vices. Accordingly, I had decided
to vote against Proposal D on
November 4.
However, a recent letter from
Marc Breakstone of the Michigan
Student Assembly has had a

profound effect on my opinion. In
his message he states that
passage of proposal D may tax
fraternities and sororities out of
existence. Even though Proposal
D will cause hardships, I think
that we all have to make
sacrifices for the good of society.
Who knows? Perhaps every dark
cloud does have a silver lining.
-John Kennedy
Clyde McQueen
October 30

genius against the
escalating federal i
His bipartisan effort
recognized in several
of equal importance
of Michigan. We arep
with his concern for
restraints on feder
and the establishme
priorities within thos

ts.
His service to the State of

Pursell not a leader

PTP review inflammatory

The Daily's choices:

President:
Congress:
(D)

Jimmy Carter (D)
Kathleen O'Reilly

Prosecuting A ttorney: Eliza-
beth Schwartz (D)
Sheriff: Tom Minick (R)
County Commissioners
9th District: Meri Lou Murray
(D)

To the Dail*S:
The breakdown of the Power
Center sound system marred the
opening night of Mr. R. and Mr.
H. to an embarrassing degree.
Nobody could be more sorry
about this than the Professional
Theatre Program staff,
especially when subsequent per-
formances-and the audience
response-clearly demonstrated
that the show itself was perhaps
not as hopeless as it was made to

terests and tastes reflecting a
broad spectrum of audiences in
both the University and the
community.
2) Best of Broadway is only
one of PTP's many functions.
3) The Best of Broadway series
has been maintained over the
years because it consistently
yields a profit which contributes
significantly to such programs as
Guest Artists, Special Attrac-
tions, fellowships, and, last but

To the Daily:
I can't believe what I'm seeing
in your Sunday (October 26)
paper! A huge advertisement for
Rep. Carl Pursell, where he
boasts about displaying "real
leadership", on women's rights!
It's almost pitiful. Pursell says
that real leadership constitutes
his vote for the Equal Rights
Amendment extension. There was
leadership in the Republican par-
ty for the ERA, but it sure didn't
come from Rep. Pursell. He
NEVER testified before the
Republican platform committee
on the ERA, unlike many of his
colleagues.
And then he has the nerve to

The most shocking thing is that
Carl Pursell has yet to sign the
House Fair Employment Prac-
tices Agreement. The most
recent issue of Common Cause
Magazine describes thisrvolun-
tary agreement, which protects
Capitol Hill employees from
discrimination based on sex, age, 4
race, religion, marital status,
etc., because they are not protec-
ted by the 1964 Civil Rights Act or
other basic legislation: If Carl
Pursell is such a leader on
women's rights, why won't he
sign a voluntary agreement
giving equal rights to his em-
ployees?
Carl Pursel clearl need

State Representative:
Bullard (D)

Perry

i

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