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October 04, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-04

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OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, October 4, 1984 The Michigan Daily

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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Vol. XCV, No. 25

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
A call to vote

FOR MOST students at the Univer-
sity, the Noyember 6 election will
be the first opportunity to vote in a
presidential contest. Unfortunately, a
large number will neglect that oppor-
tunity out of ignorance and indifferen-
ce. The Public Interest Research
Group in Michigan (PIRGIM) is at-
tempting to combat electoral apathy
on this campus in cooperation with a
nationwide push for voter registration.
Their efforts should be applauded and
supported through participation in the
democratic process.
At this point in the life of a student,
political views and understanding are
being formed and tested..The passive
accumulation of political ideas from
parents and older siblings ideally turns
to a more active examination and for-
mulation of ideas within the individual.
But the care and feeding of political
consciousness is a continuous and
time-consuming process.
It is very easy to fall back on the
same old ideas one was brought up on
or the ideas one's friends have spouted
day after day. Involvement in the
political process is essentially an in-
dividual act. Of course affiliations are
made and sentiments are shared but
the responsibility rests solely upon the
individual voter's conscience. There is
a responsibility to oneself to pursue
and support political ideas with a firm
basis of knowledge, and a respon-
sibility to one's society to participate in
the democratic process - thus

insuring the representative system
and its consequent freedoms.
The nationwide push for registration
has been aimed at making voters
eligible who have not been eligible
before, and perhaps more importantly,
impressing on those who are eligible
the importance of participation in the
political process. Blacks, Hispanics,
students, and heven Moral Majority
members have been registering in en-
couraging numbers. Registration does
not mean voting, but it is the important
first step.
On campus, PIRGIM has already
registered 2,600 voters and hopes to
add 1,500 to that figure by the time
they're finished. Those are impressive
numbers and the impact of the drive on
the student body in general has been
very impressive: voting is on people's
minds.
Last spring's city elections saw a
poor student turnout. This is largely
because of a lack of glamour and per-
ceived lack of importance surrounding
such a small, local election. But every
election is important, and any failure
to vote underscores the need for efforts
to increase awareness and eligibility.
Though PIRGIM has had a good
amount of success so far, they are in a
position to achieve far more. If you
haven't registered, do so before the Oc-
tober 9 deadline. If you have
registered, talk about it. The impor-
tance of voting is something that bears
repeating.

'
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'New Patriotism' isn't a new militarism

Shame on Congress

N THEIR HASTE to approve a cat-
chall spending measure desperately
needed to fund most government agen-
cies, the Senate has killed an impor-
tant civil rights proposal. A major
supporter of the proposed legislation,
Bob Packwood (R-Oregon) decided to
drop his own measure so that the
Senate could get on with its last minute
spending bill-budgeting which should
have been done long ago. The Senate's
decision to drop the civil rights
measure should not be taken with
levity. This move portends a gloomy
future for the Civil Rights Act of
1964-and civil rights under another
Reagan administration.,
Sen. Edward Kennedy' (D-
Mass.), another major supporter of the
civil rights bill, gave an appropriate
eulogy Tuesday:
"Shame on the Senate. Shame on the
Senate. We are being asked to sweep
under the rug a basic and fundamental
issue: whether federal taxpayers' fun-
ds should be used by programs that
discriminate against the handicapped,
minorities, and the aged."
And disgrace is exactly what the
Senate should feel. Packwood himself
declared that the measure had taken
"more of my time and my passion than
any bill of this Congress."
Why the Senate decided to drop the

bill, despite sponsors' claims of
majority support for it, is too plainly
obvious. President Reagan cannot
admit that his Justice Department
which opposes the bill is going against
the sentiments of Republicans and
Democrats alike by slowly chipping
away at the rights Martin Luther King
worked so hard to gain. Election year
partisan politics prevailed at the time.
Republicans didn't want to make the
president look bad.
Perhaps after the November elec-
tion, the individual consciences of
those senators will reappear. Then it
will become possible to restore the ban
on federally funded institutions that
discriminate, even in only one depar-
tment-to pull together a civil rights
policy that once held sway.
The death knell has sounded on this
legislation and another session of
Congress soon fades away into history.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, however,
is still on the books and should always
remain intact. It should not turn out to
be just a memory preserved on a piece
of paper.
Come February, when Congress
begins a new session, it will not be too
soon to resurrect the bill as the Civil
Rights Act of 1985. It is never too late to
remedy an injustice, though not
always quite soon enough.

By John Ross
SAN FRANCISCO-"The New
Patriptism," Ronald Reagan calls it, and
Walter Mondale agrees. "Patriotism Is
Back," trumpets the Wall Street Journal.
One-time anti-war hero Jerry Rubin is "much
more pro-American than I've ever been in my
life," he tells Time Magazine. And Selective,
Service Chief Thomas Turnage came here
recently to announce that the wave of
patriotism has caused draft registration to
soar around the country.
But there are signs that American youth
has not exactly been swept off its feet into the
military by patriotic feeling.
RECRUITMENT in the Army's Delayed
Entry Program is way down, Selective Ser-
vice registration may be as low as 60 percent
in some cities-and one think tank is
suggesting reintroducing the draft.
* Red Dawn, a big summer movie, shows a
band of Colorado teen-agers tackling in-
vading Communist troops. This would seem a
natural spur to enlistment, but "there was no
surge of recruits," says Col. Steve Christian
of that state's Army Recruitment Battalion.
.During the Summer Olympics, the Army
launched a $2.5 million campaign, and Los
Angeles recruiters added a special local
media drive aimed at the 30,000 young people
with Olympic summer jobs. The effort at-
tracted 92 in Los Angeles-one over the quota,
and "we always achieve our quotas," says
advertising director Barbara Davidson.
-Last fall-with the shooting down of the
Korean airliner, the attack on a U.S. base in
Beirut and U.S. action in Grenada-recruit-
ment did not notably increase for any branch
of the service except the Marines, according
to several recruiters.
Draft registration did leap during this
period, from 35,000 to 55,000 a week. But, as
anti-registration groups point out, this also
was the period when 2.1 million warning let-
ters were sent to unregistered youth, and
college students were denied education-loans
unless they were in compliance with Selective
Service.
Compliance requires those 18-24 to inform
the government of their current address. One
General Accounting Office study found that

"most registrants" have failed to do this, and
organizations working against registration
claim that as many as 65 percent of the
nation's youth may not be in compliance, in-
cluding those who never register.
A RECENT survey-conducted for the Ar-
my by the Rumson Corp. of McClean, Va.,
and reported in Army Times-found that
retirement benefits and steady pay rank as
the two top reasons to enlist among high
school graduates. "Service to your country"
placed seventh out of 15.
Interestingly, the "New Patriotism" is
failing to move young Americans most
notably in cities with large military
populations. At least three-San Diego,
Honolulu, and San Antonio-have been
targeted by Selective Service because of
registration shortfalls.
San Diego, with an active military
population of 10,000 and at least twice that
many dependents and retirees, leads the
country in non-compliance with a suspected
6,824 18-year-olds and 4,218 19-24-year-olds
unregistered, according to Will Ebel, public
affairs officer for Selective Service. In sur-
prising contrast, notoriously anti-war San
Francisco has less than a thousand non-
complying citizens. And some areas, like
Alaska, Ebel says, are "101 percent" in com-
pliance.
THE AGENCY will not say what percen-
tage the San Diego figures represent, but
Turnage has stated that only 62 percent are in
compliance in California as a whole.
He denies the statistics indicate political
disaffection. "You have these politically
motivated anti-Vietnam syndrome types who
claim there's dissent-you and I know dif-
ferently," he told San Diego college students
last spring.
Rick Jahnkow, a San Diego anti-
registration organizer, agrees. Instead, he
thinks the very presence of the military may
be the moving force behind low compliance.
"I go into high schools to make my case for
non-registration," he says. "In every
classroom, there's always a few kids whose
folks are in the military and who say they're
never going to register.
"THESE KIDS have a very realistic picture
of military life. I've come to the conclusion
that growing up around a military base
discourages registration," Jahnkow says.

Low pay, uprooting, and isolation often put
heavy stresses on military family life, says'
Mac Legerton, a religious counselor serving
the Camp Lejuene, N.C., area. He and others
around the country report that spousal abuse
is high among military families.
San Antonio, another Selective Service
"target city," has four major military in-
stallations with hundreds of thousands of ac-
tive. personnel and dependents. Registration
is low, says Dr. Roberto Jimenez, a family.
psychiatrist who teaches at the University of
Texas and is a Marine Corps veteran (Viet-,
nam, 1967-68), because patriotism is waning
among Mexican-Americans-75 percent of'
the country's population.
"CHICANOS used to die like flies for their,
country, but a generation gap is developing.
Older people wanted nothing more than a flag
from their son's coffins, but these kids all have.
a brother or uncle who died in Vietnam and
now they hear that Central America is the
new Vietnam. The idea of Hispanics killing
Hispanics doesn't appeal to them much."
His assessment appears to be borne out by
official figures-only 3.6 percent of the armed
forces are Hispanic, compared to 6.4 percent
of the population as a whole. Of all states and
territories, Puerto Rico has the lowest com-
pliance rate.
Jimenez also points out that "there are
manyother opportunities beside the military
these days."
INDEED, improvements in the economy.,.
seem to have dampened patriotic fervor
everywhere. The Army's Delayed Entry
Program for high school seniors is off by half
next year, it is thought, because of an upturn
in the civilian job market.
With a big " dip in the numbers of
registration-age men- coming in five or six
years, some are dubious about the prospects
of an all-volunteer armed force in the 1990s.
A recent study by the prestigious Brookings
Institution gingerly suggests a new draft-but
concludes with the warning that "the United
States could end up fielding military forces in.
the .1990s whose effectiveness would depend
on a military draft, only to find a citizenry,,
unwilling to support it."
Ross wrote this article for the Pacific
News Service where he is an associate
prh tar

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Reagan is all glitter and no substance

To the Daily:
On November 6, we Americans
will hold out to the world an
example of how modern
democracy works. If the polls
are right, and Reagan is reelec-
ted, America will show the world
a democracy by form and myth
rather than by substance and
reason.
Among modern presidents, in-
cluding Eisenhower, Nixon, and
Ford, Reagan has shown an in-
comparable lack of concern for
attention to detail and accuracy.
He compares inadequate security
measures in Lebanon to
remodeling a kitchen, and jokes
about nuclear war. He seems to
see no difference between the

ministration, "hand-wringing
pessimists." Reagan is isolated
from the press. Aides say he
doesn't need to answer tough
policy questions, that we can look
to his record. But the record only
shows how he created the
problems, not how he intends to
deal with them.
It is anybody's guess why
Americans support the make-
believe president, the man who
bases his campaign on a "return
to fundamentalist values" while
he himself signed pro-abortion
legislation as governor of
BLOOM COUNTY

California and is our first divor-
ced president; who fought for-
cefully against a Martin Luther
King holiday, and then invited
civil rights leaders to the White
House and signed the bill on T.V.;
who called the Soviets an "evil
empire" for his entire term and
then, six weeks before the elec-
tion, says he wants a warm and
lasting friendship with them.
In short, Reagan is an expert
prevaricator with 40 years' ex-
perience in front of a camera. I
suppose that if he is reelected,
the world will learn that in a

democratic society you can fool'
most of the people most of the'
time. Those who are smart will'
realize that getting fooled in,
presidential elections is serious
business, and will save them=;
selves by teaching their people
the story of the Emperor's New
Clothes, and the difference bet-
ween reality and what we see on
T.V. .
-Louis Johnson
October2--
Johnson is a mgmber of
University Law Students and
Faculty for Responsible
Government.

I\

li Berke Breathed

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