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November 07, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-07

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4

OPINION

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Patge 4

Friday, November 7, 1980

The Michigan Daily

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
4, Vl. XI, N. 56420 Maynard St.
Vo I No.56Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

The tar-and-feather brigades
prepare for the autocracy

-- _ _

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stude
Yet
CIA s

Let. the CIA interview
WAS QUITE a show in front of interviews on campus.
ie Law Quad yesterday. More The University thrives because it is
100 protesters, gathered to oppose an open forum for ideas. The very
resence of a Central Intelligence nature of this community, then,
cy recruiter on campus, battled demands that any individual or group
is of "The Star Spangled Banner" be permitted to have its say, stage its
ng from a nearby fraternity. demonstration, or try to recruit mem-
protesters were disgusted that bers to its side.
ame agency that has overthrown .
rnments in Iran, Chile, and We have a fundamental trust n the
emala and trained secret police abilities of members of the University
id the world in torture techniques community to think for themselves and
on campus trying to attract choose those organizations to which
rsity law students to its ranks. they will listen.
'tainly the protesters had a That magic gift of discretion is what
-the CIA, with hundreds of in- 'keeps the Ku Klux Klan or the neo-
etions and atrocities to its credit, Nazis from establishing any- con-
not appear to represent the type stituency in our community. And it is
*eer for which University students what provided the CIA recruiter with
d be striving. Indeed, we recall only - a dozen prospective employees
apleasant time less than a decade yesterday.
when the CIA apparently used We have reached a sorry state in-
ersity professors to encourage deed when we no longer trust ourselves
nts to join the Agency. to discern right from wrong and must
, for all its heinous activities, the restrict certain organizations from in-
3hould be allowed to conduct job terviewing on campus.
Maybe we can cause
conseTvatus interruptus

It would probably be akin-if I were
religious-to having my religion declared
illegal.
I am a liberal. All my friends are liberals,
either strident or moderate. How very easy it
is to feel smug and righteous when everyone
around you thinks the same way you do. It
took the incredible dimensions of Ronald
Reagan's election sweep to hammer home the
blunt, brutal fact that to live in Ann Arbor is
to live in a dream world;W're not
America-we're not the kingdom of Oz,nof
Pepperland, of Tralfamadore.
WE BASK GRATUITOUSLY in our

4

Coming
Apart
By Christopher Potter

-41

O NLY THREE DAYS after Ronald
Reagan was elected 40th,
president of the United States, the rift
in the American people's thinking
could not be more evident. Despite his
10-to-1 victory margin in Electoral
College votes, Reagan's popular vote
total amounted to less than 51 per-
cent-not precisely a ringing mandate.
Already, the media are awash both,
wit) conservative commentators rub-
bing their hands with glee over the
return of Nixon's "Silent Majority" (or
is it Moral Majority?) and with liberals
glumly shaking their heads over the
collapse of the Democratic coalition.
Ronald Reagan probably doesn't
mind all the bickering going on in the
press over the meaning and prospects
of his election; there are 10 weeks yet
before he assumes office, and he might
tightly assume that much of the debate
will have petered out by the time Jim-
Tiay Carter has packed his bags.
SIn fact, there is a tradition among
the Washington press that a new
resident gets a "honeymoon"
period-a few months to settle in and
get used to the routine elements of the
lob and the duties and responsibilities
that are unique to the American
Aresidency. After that, the tradition
goes, the press can legitimately begin
t criticize and analyze the president's
performance.

While the necessity for and fairness
of that "honeymoon" period may be
obvious in the case of political jour-
nalists, no such practice exists among
the citizenry. January 20 would be a
fine day for the rest of the nation to
begin scrutinizing the Reagan
presidency and to begin .making itself
heard as each new aspect of the
Republican niaster plan emerges from
the conservative closet.
Students at the University of.
California at Berkeley seem to have
begun the Reagan watch already.
Beginning on the night of November
4, the U-C campus has seen almost con-
tinuous demonstrations spurred by the
prospect of the state's former governor
in the White House.
Berkeley students have a right to be
concerned: It was in response to
protests spawned at that university
that then-Governor Reagan uttered his
famous threat: "If it takes a blood-
bath, let's get it over with ... No more
appeasement."
The University of Michigan, itself no
slouch in past years of political ac-
tivism, ought to join its cousin to the
west in spearheading criticism as
Reagan and his Republican Senate
begin to take their giant leaps back-
ward. It might even be nice to have a
flag about which to rally once again.

haughty political self-enlightenment while the
rest of the country laughs at us. We are not
loved or even respected; we are tolerated at
best, passionately despised at worst. Our day
has come and gone-the tar-and-feather
brigades may even now be organizing for late
January.
The scope of the Republican blitz is in-
calculable. Its reverberations will change the
course of domestic and world events to a
degee unimagined by the wisest pre-election
prophet. It is a victory not of party or of in-
dividual, but unmistakably of ideology. Our
darkest fears about Moral Majority and
The Conservative Caucus, about the unlikely
evolution of specific dogma into a vibrant
national movement, have proved terrifyingly
apt: Americans are mad as hell, and, while
the wine-and-cheese crowd stood by
helplessly, the disenchanted went out and
changed the face of history. The bloodied,
cringing remnants of congressional
liberalism bear out the reality of the hyper-
sonic massacre of the political philosophy
that dominated America for half a century.
THE MIND REELS at the scope of
devastation: McGovern gone. Bayh gone.
Church gone. The guts of progressivism rip-
ped out. The handful of survivors so shell-
shocked that they will likely surrender to
Ronald Reagan's encircling army in January
without firing a shot.
In ages to come, there may never be
another political moment somshattering as
was NBC's multiple-state projection at 7:40
Tuesday evening: With one instantaneous
revelation that cleaved a swath halfway
across the United States, New Jersey, Pen-
nsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and Texas fell
simultaneously into the Reagan slot. In the
time it took to go get a glass of water, the elec-
tion was over and the destinies of every one of
us sealed for years to come. The winged era of
multimedia technology had brought us in-
stant prognostic death.
The debacle of Jimmy Carter was also the
tragedy of scores of current and would-be of-
fice holders more capable and enlightened
than he. Never has a sitting president been so
savagely repudiated; never have so many
worthy allies fallen with him. Elizabeth Holt-
zman's loss in New York's Senate race was an
incomprehensible obscenity, a baleful affir-
mation of the fact that political, intellectual,
and moral superiority to one's opponent
aren't even a remote guarantee of victory.
NO LESS AGONIZING was Sen. John
Culver's loss in Iowa: While scads of his
ideological colleagues turned tail and
mouthed me-too conservative parrotings to
save their jobs, Culver had the courage to
lash back vocally at the forces of the
Evangelical Right that had targeted him'
specifically for destruction. Campaigning in a
political season befouled by expediency, this
decent, principled man never gave an inch;
he also lost decisively. Virtue is not always its
own reward-nor, evidently, is candor.
Honesty is hardly enough if one is caught in
the middle of a revolution on the wrong side.
In all of this city and in the equally fantastic

t a

4

} '

*.

AP Photo
A WAX RONALD REAGAN displaces Jimmy Carter in Madame Tussaud's wax museum
in London Wednesday. Will the real Reagan be as malleable as the waxen image?

4

atmosphere of Madison, Wisconsin (where I
spent the summer) I encountered precisely'
three Ronald Reagan boosters, and only one
of them was willing to brag about it. Yet they
were out there, spread across America-un-
told millions, waiting to strike. And they've
won. Fifty-one percent may be less than a
consuming landslide, yet in electoral and
congressional terms Ronald Reagan has his
mandate. He is beholden to no one; he can
soon do just about whatever he wants.
WHAT WILL HE DO? We wait quietly and
wonder, trembling. It's been suggested that a
Reagan administration might prove much like
the Eisenhower regime: placid, passive
stewardship characterized by serene
platitudes and muddle-along programs. Some
say Reagan lacks a killer instinct-that he's
too amiable to follow through with the
venomous policies forged by the ultra-right
visionaries who will surround him.
WHAT WISHFUL THINKING it all is. The
president-elect's very congeniality will make
him a sucker target for his cold, ideologue
compatriots: We will see an onslaught of ob-
durate gouges in social programs performed
in the name of the Holy Balanced Budget-an
abstract, theoretical doctrine which bears
about as much relevance to human needs as
does debating the number of angels on the
head of a pin.
We will see a relentless, premeditated
assault on civil rights and civil liberties,
promoted not only by a reactionary Supreme

Court but likely by Congress as well (rail
though it might against big government, the.
American Right positively slavers at,
authoritarian obtrusion in non-economic
areas).
In foreign affairs we will witness a radical.
swell of xenophobic saber-rattling foisted
upon a world desperately in need of just the
opposite. We will enter the age of America the
bully swaggering through a neighborhood of
rival kids longing to beat the crap out of him.
Might will make right, moderation will be
spurned as sissy; the nuclear trigger will be
gripped tight by sweaty, macho hands.
And what of liberalism? Has the heritage
of FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and the early LBJ
been rendered irrelevant, obsolete? Children
still go to bed hungry in the world; adults are
still persecuted and even murdered simply
for daring to be themselves. Human suffering
isn't altered by theflick of a ballot lever.
It took conservatives 50 years to recon-
struct a working majority following the
Hoover apocalypse.-American liberals don't
have that long-an unstable World won't per-
mit it. Either they begin to organize, now, or
we had best draw the covered wagons into a
circle. Under a Reagan autocracy, Ann Arbor
would be one of the first to go.

I

4

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Christopher Potter is a Daily staff
writer. His column appears every Friday.

4

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Editorial on Church blind, shallow

To the Daily:
I am appalled at the blind
ignorance you expressed in your
criticism of the Catholic Church
and its teachings. I refer to your
editorial of October 25 entitled
"Formula for a baby boom."
Your shallow attempt at
discrediting the Church's ban on
birth control reveals not only
your total lack of understanding
of Catholicism, but also a narrow-
minded view of the world's so-
called "birth rate problem."

into reaffirming his basic support
for the ban."
I fail to see why the Daily
defends a bishop, American or
not, who requests the Church to
support a view that the bishop
himself believes is wrong. And I
am further at a loss to under-
stand how the Church's op-
position to the continued destruc-
tion of human life can be
described by the Daily as
"sinister news." This cheap at-
tempt at journalism serves only

world problems. The Church's at-
titudes are very significant to
Catholics and non-Catholics
alike. Were they not, this
tasteless editorial would never
have been written. And had the
author done any research on the
"problems of poverty on the
South American continent," he
would have discovered that the
starvation and poverty exist
there not as a result of over-
population, but as a result of the
selfish multi-national cor-

Yes, indeed the "heavenly
kingdom does come first for the
Catholic Church." However, it is
not the Church that, on its path to
paradise, causes the earth to rot.
The Church offers the poor
salvation from greedy multi-
nationals and other ignorant insti-
tutions such as The Michigan
Daily.
Thank you very much for your
time, and God bless you.
I am sincerely disgusted by
your ignorance.

I

7"i r1<

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