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March 02, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-02

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, March 2, 1983

The Michigan Daily.

PARADE

oversimplifies class of '83

I

By Steve Masse
Sunday papers (Feb. 20) all over the country
were carrying the Parade magazine, which
ballyhooed the "Surprising Class of '83." Since
I usually read the Sunday paper, I did not
boycott this issue even though my teeth were
grinding at the thought of yet another
"analyst" rambling on and on about the so-
called changes of college life.
"Colleges and universities are no longer
'playgrounds of the elite," Hank Whittemore
writes. Give me a break. First of all, colleges
were never playgrounds. The only reason
students were tagged as elitist was that there
was a draft deferment for students in the six-
ties and early seventies, and non-students had
to bear the brunt of military conscription in the
wake of John Kennedy's Vietnam policies as
executed by Lyndon Johnson and Richard
Nixon.
THUS THE students, as always, were seen to
have the easy life. All they had to do was read
Freud and grow their hair long, and draw
flowers, and eat granola and protest-a picture
drawn by the media and by the political
machine, and a picture still propagated to this
day. No wonder "'people look back at campus
radicalism and joke about that behavior."'
Leave it to the media to continue its sim-
plistic encapsulation of events, by taking the
distortions and then writing sequels to the
distortions. "'Now you sit down at meetings
and decide what to do,"' Whittemore quotes
David Meyer, former editor-in-chief of the
Michigan Daily. David Meyer belongs with the
media, for his vision of the world is typical of
many news people: he sees things as through a
glass eye, darkly. Simple' common sense would
show that the only reason people can sit down

and have a meeting now is because the radicals
of yesteryear are in the offices of today, and
are allowing the open-minded discourse they
fought for to continue.
Whittemore also writes, "The class of '83 has
learned from the errors and benefitted from
the advances of those years." This is only half
right. The class of '83 has done what' was
necessary to become the class of '83, and that's
all. Just like the classes of '63 and '73. The class
of '83 has very narrow basis for learning from
"errors" of previous generations, because
"assassination, urban rioting, Vietnam, cam-
pus turmoil, and Watergate" are obscured
from sight with a vengeance, for they are no
longer chic, and when they are brought up, they
are always presented inaccurately. Maybe
Hank Whittemore has learned something from
the sixties, but it is implausible that past
"errors" have taught anything special to
people who neither lived through the turmoil as
adults, nor have occasion to relive that turmoil
now.
STUDENTS today don't need to rally or protest
for what was already fought for. Students don't
have to mobilize. There is no war, there is in-
stead a laissez-faire attitude toward the federal
government, apparent in the fact that there is
more protest over the cost of the next war than
there is over the inevitability of it, Herman
Wouk's war novels notwithstanding.
Today there are only random pockets of
protest over issues that in the late sixties would
have caused major protests, but to wish for
that atmosphere would be anachronistic.
Neither age is wiser.
To dub this generation as one of "Pragmatic
Idealism" is also offensive, for to do so
assumes that students ten years ago were not
pragmatic or idealistic. Contentions that
today's student has "a greater sense of
realism, knowing that things are complex and

hell-bent on trying to prove that violence
doesn't work, through peaceful mass protests.
Most violence then was initiated by non-
protesters, by people who resented other
people for fearing and hating war actively; and
other violence related to rioting was done not
by students, but by desperate and hungry
people. To intimate student violence was
prevalent then is a media distortion. Not to
mention that guns make more change than
people like to accept-a sad lesson that the
peace workers of the past tried so hard to
negate, and got Kent State for their efforts.
There was a lot of energy put into social
change in the sixties and early seventies. Kent
State won't be forgotten, because it dramatized
a time, impossible to reproduce today, when
the military was pitted against their civilian
peers by the propagation of lies by the media
and the acceptance of those lies by a good part
of the population. Maybe Kent State and other
obvious "errors" of the past may be avoided,
but the class of '83 will make its own mistakes.
The present state of college life is the direct
result of all the energy that students in the six-
ties and early seventies have invested as
veterans of a home-fought civil war, which
admirably was fought more with words than
with guns. Students today can ride the crest of
that change against racism change against
sexism, change against close-mindedness
which began years ago, though by no means
was completed.
BEFORE ANYBODY accepts too closely the
analysts who babble about the great changes in
college today, let it be known that without
vigilance from the public, the political machine
and the media will roll as they wish. Don't let
anybody lull you into thinking it's fine to
r relinquish political.vigilance, because when it
is important to mobilize to express public
outrage or unrest, where will the class of '83

be? Probably in the Army-because that seems
to be the only place one can be sure of a job
today. A very unfunny development.
A final word about Parade's inset by Abbie
Hoffman (speaking of anachronisms), ob-
viously placed to coincide with the nail-the
jello-to-the-wall view of college that has sullied'
the perceptions of Sunday paper readers
throughout America. There is nothing more of-
fensive than an ex-radical who tries to keep his
"image" while fouling the minds of college
students with such rubbish as: "The activists
today are smarter than they were in the '60s."
Does he speak for himself? Being smarter'
writing articles for the same papers which;
called him a criminal years ago?

I

PARADE: A distorted look at college life
that issues aren't so black and white," show a
gross lack of perception about social changes
that occurred in the past twenty years. Moral
and social issues were never as cloudy as they
were during the turbulent times. And if there
was ever such a thing as "free sex," the notion
opened up the way for coeducational college
living. Issues are more black and white today;
especially with regard to the dollar quest.
HOWARD Shapiro, a senior at Yale and former
editor at Yale Daily News who should know
better, makes a particularly insulting and
misinformed comment: "Instead of having a
sit-down strike, students will meet with the
administration and try to compromise. Why?
Because violence doesn't work." Double
barreled bunk. People in the sixties seemed

If students "are convinced that fundamental
changes in the balance of power, in the way
decisions are made from the grassroots to the
highest levels, are not just a democratic dream
but a reality about to occur," then those
students may not be so much the "Surprising
Class of '83," as the "Surprised Class of '83."
Because if they don't "operate under the im-
patience of Apocalypse," they may not be
"here for the long haul," but rather "hung up as
we (?) were on internal conflict." Do they
really "have the confidence to make it hap-,
pen? Did you ever see so many blithering,..
shopworn platitudes and rhetorical idiocies
gathered on the same nice-nelly page? And see
the perpetrator of it get paid?

Masse is a novelist and a graduate of the
University of Massachusetts.

.11

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Sinclair

4

Vol. XCIII, No. 117

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

R=
'
Y
'
I

AS THE RESULT of recent guerrilla
successes in El Salvador, Presi-
dent Reagan has called for a review of
U.S. policy in Central America. But in-
stead of coming up with fresh workable
proposals for ending hostilities in the
war-torn nation, the administration
has asked Congress for the same failed
policies of the past years - more ar-
ms.
In tones reminiscent of his eloquent
predecessor Alexander Haig,
Secretary of State George Shultz told
Congress $60 million in military aid is
essential to the survival of the current
regime. Shultz said administration
also plans to expand the number and
the role of U.S. military adivsors in El
Salvador.
Shultz has fallen for Haig's glib, but
misguided "falling dominoes" theory.
El Salvador shares a border -with
Mexico, and Mexico shares a border
with the United States. If you look
closely, Shultz seems to be saying, you
can almost see the blocks leaning this
way.
But as (some)Americans learned in
Vietnam, guns do not prop up
dominoes very well. The dominoe is in
trouble not because it is weak in the

face of a guerrilla onslaught, but
because it has failed its people by
abandoning land reform and respect
for human rights.
Despite the Salvadoran gover-
nment's failure and oft-noted bar-
barity, few Americans want the Cen-
tral American nation to fall into the
hands of Marxist dictators. But
neither do they want to see American
aid and possible American lives
squandered in a futile military
stalemate. Already one American
soldier has been wounded there.
What many U.S. church groups and
concerned citizens recognize is that the
opposition is neither monolithic nor
totally Leninist. Democrats abound on
both sides and are seeking a meaninful
role in a legitimate government.
With an additional $60 million in ar-
ms, the Salvadoran government may
wage a stronger battle, but it won't win
a war rooted in more than 50 years
political repression. By calling for
moreaid, the Reagan administration
rewards the Salvadoran government
for its intransigence and offers the
Salvadoran people caught in the
crossfire, more of a stalemate and less
of a solution.

1

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Social Security: Victim Of, militarism

.

To the Daily:
The real problem facing Social
Security is the distorted priorities
of the capitalist system.
Newsweek, for example,
remarked, "The commission
estimates that if old-age benefits
remain at currently mandated
levels, the Social Security Ad-
ministration will have to find an
unimaginable $1.5 trillion over
the next 75 years just to keep the
old folks comfortable at home."
That sum, however large, is
hardly "unimaginable." It's
about what U.S. militarism is
currently spending for
militarism over a five-year

period. Yet, the same ruling class
claims that it can't afford to pay
retired workers an already
meager level of social security.
Clearly the problem is not
inadequate economic resources.
The problem is, according to the
Socialist Labor Party, that
capitalism operates to provide
profits for a minority class of
capitalists who own and control
the economy. Workers collec-
tively produce enough social
wealth to provide all workers,
retired and employed alike, with
a comfortable-even a boun-
tiful-standard of living. Clearly
what is needed is a Socialist In-

dustrial Republic of Labor under
which goods would be produced
for use instead of for profit and
the means of wealth production
would be socially owned. Under

such a system war and
militarism would have no
economic basis for existence.
-Archie Sim
February 12-

A tenuous connection

ri
a
'
4
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Y
y
t +
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t ¢v
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y

To the Daily:
I was disgusted and dismayed
to read your story concerning
Karen Young's dismissal from
the University. With no direct
evidence linking her dismissal to
the recent audit of the Office of
Major Events your reporter im-
plied a connection which will no
doubt harm Young personally a
great deal.
Not only was there no direct
evidence, but there seemed no
evidence at all to support Frank's

assertions. That is known as
libel. Guilt by association and
guilt by innuendo should never be
employed in lieu of concrete
evidence in the pursuit of a'
story. Frank should be im-
mediately dismissed and his
editors should be severly
reprimanded. I hope Young and
her lawyers have more com-
passion than do you.

Ignore the Nazis

To the Daily:
Once again it is springtime in
Ann Arbor and all of the crazies
come crawling out of the bushes,
including the Neo-Nazis.
And once again the Daily is

stated and the demonstrators
beat each other up. Was this the
rally's original purpose?
The only ones who accom-
plished what they set out to do
were the Nazis. A few men

-Robert L. Rosenberg
February 10
)flhfhifl

" - }

End hnr

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