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February 08, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-08

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OPINION
Page 4 Friday, February 8, 1985 The Michigan Dily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Lansing's progressive voice

Vol. XCV, No. 107

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

A good compromise

SOMETIMES THE University ad-
ministration does budge.
Earlier this year, the Michigan
Union Board of Representatives sub-
mitted a proposal to Henry Johnson,
vice-president for student services,
requesting that he modify the selection
process for representatives to the
board. Johnson accepted the proposal
and did away with a system in which a
selection committee, formed of two
members each from Michigan Student
Assembly and MUBR, recommended
its findings to MSA for approval. MSA
was responsible for publicizing the
process as well.
Where the old process had in-
volved the combined responsibility of
MSA and MUBR, the new one was
almost entirely the responsibility of
MUBR. The inter-group screening
committee was abolished and MUBR
alone voted on the final proposal. MSA
lost its ability to affect an important
University institution and MUBR lost
some of its credibility as it become a
self-perpetuating body.
There were also problems with the
old process too. MURB complained
that MSA didn't put enough effort into
publicizing openings, and MSA admit-
ted that since the process came at a

time when their Personnel committee
was particularly busy, it was difficult
for it to treat the MUBR seats any dif-
ferently from any of the other positions
they fill.
MUBR sent its proposal to Johnson
without consulting MSA. Once MSA of-
ficials learned of the change they
protested the reduction of their
authority and began negotiations with
MUBR to formulate a new proposal.
At Tuesday's MSA meeting,
President Scott Page announced that
the two groups had reached an
agreement. He added that he an-
ticipates no difficulty from Johnson in
accepting it.
The new proposal calls for a shared
responsibility, with both groups doing
publicity for the selection process and
both approving or disapproving the
candidates. It is a compromise in the
best sense and it appears to solve the
problems of both groups.
The solution to the controversy
around the MUBR appointment
procedure is a good example of com-
munication and compromise. It is a
positive development and should make
the selection process for an important
University board fairer and more ac-
cessible.

By Chris Parks
Some members of both parties have taken
to describing Gov. James Blanchard's State
of the State message-with its emphasis on
schools, crime, economic development, tax
cuts and austerity-as "Reaganesque."
It is significant, perhaps, that the governor
himself does not take offense at this charac-
terization. In fact, he has called it something
of a compliment.
Where this all leaves legislative liberals is
an interesting question.
Two of the Legislature's staunchest
progressives, Lynn Jondahl of East Lansing
and Perry Bullard of Ann Arbor, insist Blan-
chard shares with the liberals a commitment
to core values of compassion for those in
need.
But they have varying levels of anxiety
over the specifics of the Blanchard program.
and the current political mood.
Jondahl, an ordained minister of the United
Church of Christ, and Bullard, an attorney,
are charter members of what used to be
called the "Kiddie Caucus." Both were first
elected to the House in 1972 when student ac-
tivism was peaking in the campus com-
munities they represent.
Jondahl now is chairman of the powerful
House Taxation Committee and Bullard
heads the important House Judiciary Com-
mittee. This makes them, in a sense, mem-
bers of the Legislature's establishment,
Parks, a former Daily editor, is the UPI
Lansing bureau chief. He wrote this ar-
ticle for UPI.

despite their stubbornly unestablishmentlike
views.
Jondahl is not sure that Blanchard's State
of the State was Reaganesque.
The speech reflects "an appreciation of the
benefit of the economic upturn that Reagan
has been celebrating," but not the Reagan
ideology, Jondahl said.
Instead, Jondahl said, Blanchard's
message outlined a "very pragmatic
program" consistent with the governor's non-
ideological orientation.
"I wouldn't say it's Reaganesque at all,"
Bullard agreed.
"It's clearly a recognition of the current
realities of the climate of ideas in America.
That's what democratic government is about,
What we've seen now is a victory essentially
for the idea of a return to the 1920s."
"There have always been conservative
Democrats," Bullard added. "The governor
now is reflecting a conservative side of the
Democratic Party in response to the political
climate of the times."
Jondahl said the challenge for liberals and
progressives, in the current political at-
mosphere, will be to continue pressing for ac-
tion to meet unmet human needs and to
quesion why institutions, such as the prison
system, are not working as they are supposed
to.
Jondahl said his constituents these days
seem to "appreciate the struggle to find an-
swers to the more difficult problems and not
just knee-jerk political responses fashioned to
play to whatever seems to be the momentary
mood."
In this atmosphere, he said, liberals must
work to build coalitions with other lawmakers
on an issue-by-issue basis.

Bullard sounds less optimistic. He said he is
"hoping we can prevent more damage to the
human victories of the last 20 years" but is
"not too" certain of success.
The two agree, however, that the ad1
ministration keeps an open door to the party's
liberals and listens to what they have to say.
"They cannot afford, with the slim margins
(in the Legislature), to ignore any part of the
caucus or any part of the Legislature," Jon-
dahl said.
Bullard said liberals can have an impact
with Blanchard "on questions that aren't
overwhelmingly high visibility where the an-
swers are essentially dictated by a concern
that is set at the national level... by thg
Reagan victory and Reagan agenda."
Liberals have their differences with the
governor on a range of specific issues, in-
cluding welfare and crime, Jondahl con-
ceded.
But Bullard said he has "absolutely no
doubt" that Blanchard has more in common
with Democratic liberals than with Reagan.
"The governor's in a position where he has
to respond to the realities of the Michigan
electorate as a whole, which supported, for
whatever reason, the Reagan election,
Bullard said.
But he said Michigan remains "a state that
cares about its citizens more, and I think
more effectively, than many other states."
Jondahl concurred that liberals and the
governor "share an overall set of values that
has a heavy commitment to compassion for
people in need."
"I don't have any anxiety about whether the
progressive's soul is there," Jondahl sai
"It's a question, and a terribly critic
question, about how we respond to the needs."

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W EDNESDAY WAS a double
holiday for Ronald Reagan. Not
only was it the President's 74th birth-
day, it also gave the Republican
president yet another chance to
publicize his relentless rhetoric-in
this case, that rhetoric was in the form
of his State of the Union address.
Although this State of the Union
speech was not what Americans have
come to expect from the annual
presidential summary, it was perhaps
what many of them wanted to hear.
According to Reagan, the country is in
great shape as a result of his leader-
ship. But as comforting as it is to hear
a positive report from the Oval office,
Reagan's optimistic address com-
pletely ignored the many problematic
national issues a State of the Union
speech is supposed to address.
"There are no constraints on the
human mind, no walls around the
human spirit, no barriers to our
progress except those that we our-
selves erect," Reagan said. At the risk
of spoiling the presidential pep rally,
there are a few barriers Coach Reagan
failed to address in preparing his
speech. There are constraints on the
human mind imposed by recent cuts in
federal education funding. There are
walls around the human spirit con-
structed by the Reagan Administration
with its recent proposal to decrease
funding to the National Endowment for
the Arts, the chief funding source for
many non-profit art and music
organizations. There are barriers to
the progress of a nation set in. place by
the burdens of an overinflated deficit

and defense budget.
Reagan looked on the United States
as being involved in "...a revolution
that carries beyond our shores the
golden promise of human freedom in a
world at peace," while the revolutions
the United States is most heavily in-
volved exist in Central America.
There, the golden promise of human
freedom is subverted by the human
rights violations of the Central In-
telligence Agency. In South Africa,
where overt oppresion and blatant
racism are at best, ignored-and at
worst, accepted--by the Reagan Ad-
ministration, that promise of human
freedom rings hollow to the over-
whelming majority of blacks
dominated by the country's 10 percent
white population.
Reagan's ever-present commitment
to defense expenditures and military
research is also inconsistent with his
stated goal of ''a world at peace."~
Peace, when enforced by the threat of
computer-guided nuclear missiles and
technologically-advanced surveilance
systems in space, is not peace at all.
Reagan's State of the Union address
was a fountain of optimism, aimed at
an audience in need of reassurance
that there is method behind the mad-
ness of its government. If the president
truly wants a revolution in peace and
human freedom, that goal will require
more than a televised package of em-
pty hope. It will require the ad-
ministration to take an honest and ef-
fective approach to the problems
facing this nation, instead of working
to create an optimistic facade.

________________________________________________________ p. __________________________

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Letters
Pro-choice advocates not objective

To the Daily:
It is interesting that Jackie
Young's Weekend piece on abor-
tion ("Abortion: A local dilem-
ma," Weekend, February 1) has
come under attack by Lisa Oram
and company. Young made an at-
tempt to present the views of both
sides on the issue of abortion. She
included statements from women
who have chosen abortion, people
who work at clinics, and people
who try to uphold or overturn
current abortion laws.
All this was done in an Ann Ar-
bor context, since the abortion
issue certainly does have local
ramifications. Oram spends a
whole letter complaining that the
article was "anti-choice." (My
own view was that it was
somewhat "pro-choice," but we
all often view neutral articles as
being biased against our own
viewpoint).
Oram claims that "men
spearhead thecanti-abortion
movement." Of course there are
men involved with the

notice the feminist anti-abortion
groups such as Feminists for Life
and Women Exploited by Abor-
tion. Oram might also look back
to the history of the pro-choice
movement - the National Abor-
tion Rights Action League was
founded by men. But Oram would
rather deal in vicious rhetoric
than confront the issue or the
people involved.
Oram's real objection seems to
be aimed toward Young's
willingness to concede the sin-
cerity of abortion opponents. In
the past it has been fashionable to
paint pro-life/anti-choice (I use
both terms to neutralize the silly
semantics of the issue) as male
chauvinist monsters out to
destroy women. Now that the
media is fairer, Oram is upset.
It's much easier to deal with an
issue when you can call your op-
ponent names (be it "murderer
or "oppressor"). Sorry, Oram,
BLOOM COUNTY

we aren't monsters. We go to
work, we drink beer, we laugh,
we cry, we're flesh and blood.
You might even live next door to
a pro-lifer and not even know it.
Perhaps one of them did a favor
for you last week. And you
thought all along that we were
scheming pigs; hateful men
asking "What can we do to op-
press women today?" The real
world is a little more complex.
If we can't gain the support of

people like Oram we at least wai
her to respect our sincerity. It
much easier to be "pro-choice
when one dehumanizes the fetu
It's much easier to be "pr
choice" when one dehumanij
abortion opponents thro
hateful rhetoric such as Oram
Should we really be surpris
that one such dehumanizing a
titude leads people like Oram
the other?
- Steve Angelot
February

Letters to the Daily should be typed, triple-
spaced, and signed by the individual authors.
Names will be withheld only in unusual circum-
stances. Letters may be edited for clarity, gram-
mar, and spelling.

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