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January 31, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-01-31

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,4

OPINION

A
The Michigan Daily

lae 4 Sunday, January 31, 1982

4

Roosevelt's dreams will

live on

By Richard Demak
Yesterday was the one-hundredth anniver-
sary of the birth of Franklin Roosevelt. Birth-
days of great Americans, such as Washington
and Lincoln, rarely hold much significance for
the public, except perhaps the banks close and
the mail is undelivered; it is only during the
cam aign to establish an anniversary as a
legal holiday, such as the current debate to
honor Martin Luther King, Jr., that such great
men are remembered. Birthdays are a time of
celebration, ceremony, and, all to infrequently,
remembrance.
Thirty-seven years after his death, Franklin
Roosevelt is perhaps the most controversial
president in history; he is remembered as hero.
and villain, savior and socialist, peacelover
and warmonger. This centennial com-
memoration is a time, not for deification or
condemnation, but to- remember FDR as a
man: often compassionate, always political,
and occasionally tragically unjust.
-MANY OF FDR'S most compassionate
Depression-combatting, New Deal programs
were those accused of destroying economic
initiative. The Fair Labor Standard§ Act of 1938.
established a minimum wage and a maximum
work week. The second Agricultural Adjust-
ment Act (the first had been declared uncon-
atitutional by the Supreme Court in'1936) was
designed, as the president said, "to provide
.copsumers with abundant supplies of food and
fiber, to stop the waste of soil, and to reduce the
gap between huge surpluses and disasterous
shortages." These goals were to be accom-
plished through payments to farmers.for soil-
conservation and for keeping their crops off the
market. .The government also continued its

practice of purchasing commodities for people
on relief.
Roosevelt's critics were convinced of his
socialist tendencies when FDR revealed his
labor policies-policies that may have preven-
ted a revolution between classes during the
Depression, and are now integral parts of
everyday life. In 1934, Minneapolis, San Fran-
cisco, and Toledo exploded into violent strikes
and riots. Bricks and bottles were thrown, win-
dows broken, and shots fired. Several people
were killed, hundreds wounded.
THE PROXIMITY of civil war caused, in
1935, the establishment of the Wagner Act,
providing unions with collective bargaining
and other organization and negotiation rights,
and the Social Security Act, providing for
social security benefits and unemployment in-
surance. So engrained is social security in the
lives of Americans that, in 1981, after igniting
the fear that benefits would be cut, President
Reagan was forced to reassure the American
people: "I will not stand by and see those of you
who are dependent on Social Security deprived
of the benefits you've worked so hard to earn."
Roosevelt was not satisfied with an attempt
to return to pre-Depression days; he planned
for the future in order to prevent the horrors of
the past. The Tennessee Valley Authority and
the Rural Electrification Administration were
created to develop energy resources. The
Securities and Exchange Commission con-
tinues to police the stock exchanges today...
Roosevelt's concern for the environment and
thevictims of the Dust Bowl was evidenced by
the Civilian Conservation Corps' planting of 200
million trees in the desert-like Midwest. During
the Second World War, Roosevelt also helped to
define the principles of the United Nations.
Some people believe the Depressionwas en-

r
ded, not by the New Deal, but by World War II.
However, it was the programs of the New Deal
that allowed the United States and its.people to
function during the war and handle its
devastating effects. The government spending
of the 1930's prevented the massive spending of
the war years from shocking the economy.
And the prosperity achieved during the war
convinced many of FDR's critics that gover-
nment spending did have its advantages in
dealing with economic crises.
ROOSEVELT'S PREPARATION of Americans

for the war, was not only economic, but
emotional. Although he came from an
aristocratic background, FDR possesses
communication skills which were indispen-
sable during those trying times. Cross-country
trips on the presidential train and the "fireside
chats" provided the people with a special con-
tact with FDR. John Woods, an historian,
relates, "When Roosevelt died, a young soldier
remarked that he felt that the commander-in-
chief had known him personally, and added that
he also felt that Roosevelt had liked him." This
feeling of comaraderie between president and
public is what made Roosevelt a great leader.
While his greatness as a leader is in-
disputable, FDR, like any man placed in a
position that requires overwhelming respon-
sibility, must be held accountable for some
shameful and tragic decisions. Although he did
more for black Americans and the civil rights
movement than most of his predecessors, he
failed to desegregate the military (a process>
finally completed by President Truman). After
Pearl Harbor, thousands of Japanese-
Americans were placed in detention camps
without any evidence of compliance with Japan
and without trials. Regarding the concen-
tration camps of Europe, not only did
Roosevelt remain passive, but in June 1939, the
German ship Saint Louis, carrying nine hun-
dred people from Europe attempting to escape
their own inevitable murders, was denied
deboarding privileges at all U.S. ports and was
forced to return to Europe. Some of the
passengers were killed in concentration cam-
ps. This unjustifiable act is sometimes defen-
ded by claims that the United States desired to
remain neutral. However, by 1939, Roosevelt
foresaw American involvement in the war and
the country had begun preparing, economically

and militarily for it.
FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT won't be remem-
bered for his tragic decisions, or for his
economic programs, or for his foreign policy.
Rather, FDR's greatest contribution to
America was that he redeemed and renewed
our spirit; he brought essence and humanity in-
to the lives of disaster.
From 1934 on, FDR's birthday has been
celebrated in hundreds of parties annually
throughout the country, the proceeds of which
have gone to help finance the treatment of
crippled children. The Works Progress Ad-
ministration provided work for jobless actors,
writers, and entertainers, including Orson
Welles, Saul Bellow, and John Cheever. The
WPA made performances of Shakespeare ac-
cessible to everyone.
In President Reagan's State of the Union ad-
dress last Tuesday evening, he stated that the
federal government should be "working on
arms reduction rather than fixing potholes."
While arms negotiations are of paramount im-
portance, the repair of potholes must not be
overlooked. For most Americans, potholes
must be negotiated with everyday. It is
potholes, not arms control, which affect.
everyone's daily routine. FDR recognized the
importance of fixing potholes.
It is a popular conception today that
President Reagan's policies will destroy what
Roosevelt and his policies built. Supply-side
economics and deficit-spending, Franklin
Roosevelt's legacy cannot be diminished. He
provided hope for the hopeless, spirit for the
discouraged, and dignity for the impoverished.
His dreams shall never die.
Demak is a second-year Inteflex student.

~1!*

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Feiffer

Vol. XCII, No. 100

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor. MI 48109

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

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Speaking English in LSA

F INALLY, LSA officials have begun
to take a serious look at the
ever-frustrating problem- of teaching
assistants who have difficulty com-
Municating tin English. Students in
lower level courses-particularly in
math and the sciences-often are faced
with problems that go beyond dealing
with derivatives or determining the
molarity of a solution. Very simply,
they can't understand what their TAs
are saying.
The problem is certainly not new to
LSA-or to the University-but it is not
until recently that the college has come
up. with substantive solutions for
dealing with the problem. The LSA
curriculum committee is considering a
proposal that would require foreign-
born TAs who earned their high school
diplomas outside the United States to
pass an oral English examination. If
the students fail the exam, they will be
required to take a special English
course. If they fail the exam after
taking the course, they could be fired.
The plan seems fair. It would not
only ensure that students could under-
stand their TAs, it would also provide
an opportunity for foreign students to
develop their English skills.
Several curriculum committee
members, however, have voiced un-
founded opposition to the plan. They
are concerned, for instance, that the
requirement would embarrass or

scare away foreign TAs who are well-
versed in their fields, but lack the
necessary English communication
skills to teach effectively. Such op-
position is ludicrous. If an individual
lacks either the knowledge of a par-
ticular subject or the skills to impart
the knowledge, he or she should not be
teaching.
Unfortunately, the reasoning behind
the opposition mirrors much of the one-
sidedness of the University mentality,
where all emphasis is placed on the
well-being of the graduate students
and the undergraduate is ignored. Un-
dergraduates, whether in Math 116 or
English 471, deserve quality teaching.
It is the responsibility of the university
to provide it. TAs who can't speak
English, however, do not fulfill this
responsibility.
This is not to say that foreign studen-
ts should be dissuaded from coming to;
the University. Indeed, the opposite
should be true. The University should
be available for all students, but if
students cannot communicate in
English, they should not be teaching
others.
Clearly, the LSA curriculum com-
mittee has come up with a sound plan.
Indeed, many other schools and
colleges in the University, such as the
College of Engineering, would be wise
to follow suit. LSA should accept.the
plan to help ensure that all students in
the college receive quality teaching.

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It 7

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Teaching crucial to undergraduates

To the Daily:
I am furious that several
curriculum committee members
are concerned that the English
proficiency requirement would
embarrass foreign teaching

assistants who may be brilliant in
their fields, but are unable to
communicate well enough to
teach effectively.
If a TA cannot teach effec-
tively, why is he teaching? Why

Who are the terrorists?

To the Daily:
In your issue of Jan. 29 you refer
to Italy's Red Brigades as a
"terrorist gang." This term
might be appropriate if used con-
sistently to refer to all -such
groups.
But the Daily does not refer to
El Salvador's military junta as a
"terrorist gang", even though it
practices terror on a much gran-
der and more pervasive scale
than the Red Brigades can even
attain. Nor would you refer to the
Italian police as a "terrorist
gang", and yet they have killed
several opposition figures in
recent years, and jailed scores of
others on the flimsiest of
charges. Nor do you refer to the
U.S. or Soviet governments by
such a pejorative, even though
their nuclear aresenals and

military machines terrorize
millions around the world, and
have murdered thousands in
their quests to maintain power.
In short, you abuse language
in the same way that Reagan and
Haig do. Youdescribe violence
by. those out of power as
"terrorism", while violence
by those in control is labeled "law
and order" or "restoring order."
Such distortions and abuse of
language only serve to per-
petuate the existing domination.
I do not agree with the Red
Brigades politics or their tactics.
But they are no more a "terrorist
gang" than are the Joint Chiefs of
Staff. In fact, they're a lot less
dangerous.
-Jon Bekken
January 30

should ,I pay tuition that sub-
sidizes teaching known to be inef-.
fective? I am not questioning the
brilliance of these TAs, rather, I
question their proper place at this
university-does their place lie in
teaching ineffectively in a
classroom, or in doing construc-
tive research in their field of
known brilliance?
Let me address thg statement,
that appeared in a Daily article,
Jan. 29. One department chair-
man said, "A foreign student
might choose to attend another
university if his teaching appoin-
tment hinged on his or her
English." I might choose to at-
tend another university if my
learning experience hinged on.
my being proficient in Far
Eastern languages.

As for the statement, "some of
these students [undergraduates]
have difficulty understanding a
foreign accent," let me respond
with an experience of mine. I'
walked into an organic chemistry,
lab to (perhaps) secure a placei
the class. There was an English-
Chinese! Chinese-English dic-
tionary cradled in the TA's are:
He introduced himself by telling
us his name, and then he asked'i1u
all to speak slowly because his
English was poor. This introduc-
tion took twenty minutes.
I am outraged that my ung
dergraduate experience means
so little to committee chairmen
that they would knowingly
jeopardize my education.
-Michelle Gittler
January 29
X

5
---1 -

Ed's the man

all

To the Daily:
The upcoming Michigan
gubernatorial race is an excellent
opportunity for, the students of
the University to get involved and
voice their opinions regarding
candidates and issues. William
Milliken has been Michigan's
governor for the last thirteen
years. But he is retiring, creating
a field of candidates vying for the
position. Voting residents of the
stte shnzid rav1 -is* thatthe.

students. In the early 1960's,
Pierce was a civil rights and
peace movement leader, effec-
tively expressing student concer-
ns to public officials. In 1968,
Pierce established the Summit
Medical Center designed to serve
the needs of low-income residents.
Area residents continue to utilize,
the Center's excellent service
today.
Senator Pierce has shown that
he is willing to heln students as he

Eynon's report is good

To the Daily:

on campus and, importantly, that

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