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April 12, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-04-12

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OPINION

Page 4 Friday, April 12, 1985 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

The changing liberal

voice

Vol. XCV, No. 153

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Trumped-up proposal

NEW YORK soon may be asserting
the idea that sports is a business,
this time at the hands of real estate
developer Donald Trump.
Trump, who also owns the U.S.F.L.'s
New Jersey Generals franchise, has
proposed a plan to build a domed spor-
ts stadium adjacent to Shea Stadium.
Seventy acres filled with seventy
junkyards and some light industry will
be cleared, under the stipulations of
the proposal, to make room for the new
structure. Unfortunately, it is also
estimated that the 1,200 people who
work on those 70 acres will be forced
out of their jobs by the development.
This is too high of a price to pay for
New Yorkers to have the luxury of
weatherproof football games.
The idea of a new stadium in New
York is also frightening because
under Trump's plan only a select num-
ber of spectators will have a glimpse at
the new stadium. Trump has proposed
building a stadium with a capacity of
at least 80,000 in which he would sell
most of the seats for condiminium
ownership. The cost of these contrac-
tual seats is estimated at $4,000 to
$5,000.
Although both Mayor Ed Koch and
Mario Cuomo have endorsed the con-
struction of a privately-financed
stadium, the process of putting
together a feasible proposal is far from
complete. Along with Trump's

proposal are similar proposals from
other New York developers, including
a recommendation by the New York
State Sportsplex Corporation for a
78,000 seat open-air stadium. Koch
struck down the open-air proposal
saying that such a structure would
merely be "a clone" of Shea Stadium.
By the Mayor's logic, however, there is
little justification for building any
stadium-with or without a dome.
Of course, such a stadium would
likely mean the return of the New York
Jets to the city as well as Trump's New
Jersey Generals. The Jets moved from
Shea Stadium to the more modern
Giants Stadium in the Hackensack
Meadowlands following their 1983
season, and the team's New York
audience would surely welcome back
the team.
But stadiums across the United
States continue to lose money, and
when the majority of the seats are
reserved for those willing to spend
$3,000, the proposal appears more like
one which will favor a few in the short
term. In the long term sense, the entire
city will likely suffer from the burden
of such a structure-starting with the
1,200 people who will Instantly be
unemployed by the initial stages of
construction.
Even if lucrative, in the country's
greatest population center, an elitist
proposal such as Trump's should not
even deserve serious consideration.

By Dave Kopel
To some people today "liberal" is an
epithet. The denigration people imply when
they say "liberal" reflects the despair and
confusion present in today's liberal com-
munity. When Ronald Reagan carps about the
"liberals" in Congress, nobody stands up and
says, "Yes, I'm a liberal, and I'm proud of
it." Liberalism is in serious trouble today. If
the Democrats cannot produce a coherent
liberal vision and a winning Presidential can-
didate to articulate that vision in 1988,
liberalism may find itself a permanent op-
position for a generation or more-like con-
servatism was from 1932 to the mid-1970's.
America's first liberal Democratic
President was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's
liberalism included a strong streak of liber-
tarianism, aimed at keeping the federal
government small and weak. While Alexan-
der Hamilton called the national debt "the
national blessing," Jeffersonians considered
it a scourge. Jefferson and other liberals
feared that the federal government, in the
hands of businessmen like Alexander
Hamilton would be used by eastern urban
commercial interest to gain unfair advantage
over Jefferson's yeoman farmers.
Andrew Jackson, the second great liberal
Democratic President, considered Jeffer-
son's vision of an idyllic rural republic ob-
solete, but agreed with Jefferson's overall
small government liberalism. A central
feature of Jackson's campaign was his
promise to abolish the Bank of the United
States-the federally chartered bank that
Jackson and his supporters believed to be a
tool of the Eastern moneyed interests. A
coalition of eastern workingmen and western
small farmers allied with Jackson against the
commercial elite. Fearing a strong federal
government, Jackson warned: "The destruc-
tion of our state governments or the an-
l'nihilation of their control over the local con-
cerns of the people would lead directly to
revolution and anarchy, and finally to
despotism and military domination."
A century later, Frankling Roosevelt
became the third great liberal Democratic
President, and seemingly turned the
definition of liberalism upside down. After
Roosevelt got through with the word,
"liberalism" meant support for a big federal;
government, instrusion on states' rights, and
contempt for struct laissez faire economics.
Roosevelt set the federal .government on a
spree of deficit spending not to be exceeded
until the 1980s.
When Roosevelt changed the popular
meaning of the word "liberalism" was he just
playing semantic games and preverting the
previous meaning of the concept? Many
believers in laissez faire certainly thought so.
But if we look closer, we see that Roosevelt
was not perverting the Jefferson-Jackson
vision of liberalism, but fulfilling it.To Jeffer-
son, a weak federal government was not a
goal, but a method. Jefferson's goal was to
nurture a society where small, independent
and virtuous free-holders would control
economic and political power. Because the
federal government in the early 19th century
Kopel is a third-year student in the Law
School.

was so often a tool of the Hamiltonian com-
merical elite, Jefferson wanted to keep the
federal government small. The ultimate ob-
jective of Jefferson and Jackson was to
oppose the eastern commercial elite's control
of economic and political life.
Roosevelt's goal was exactly the same.
Like Jackson, he aroused the hatred and fear
of the well-born and the well-to-do in the East,
and won elections by uniting Eastern labor
with Southern and Western small farming:
Observed Roosevelt during the battle over the
New Deal, "The country is going through a
repitition of Jackson's flight with the Bank.of
the United States-only on a far bigger and
broader basis."~
The country had changed since Jefferson's
time. In an industrialized and urbanized
society, corporate and commericial power
had grown tremendously in power and size.
The only way to return political and economic
power to the common man would be for the
federal government to actively transfer
economic power. As historian Arthur
Schlesinger explained, to accomplish Jeffer-
sonian ends Roosevelt needed to adopt
Hamiltonian means.
Today, Democratic liberals have custody of
the bodies of Jefferson, Jackson, and
Roosevelt, but have lost their spirit.
After fifty years of experience with the
most complex government in history,
liberals' approach to regulation remains
caught in the 1930s: If you question regulation
you must be a conservative. Too many of
today's liberals forget that regulation, like
federal power itself, is only a means, not an
end.
Roosevelt himself made it clear that each of
his programs were experiments, not dogma.
"We do our best that we know at the moment,
and if it doesn't turn out, we modify it.
"The country needs and, unless'I mistake
its temper, the country demands bold, per-
sistent experimentation," he proclaimed. "It
is common sense to take a method and try it.
If it fails, admit it frankly and try another.
But above all, try something."
Unfortunately, the 1984 Democratic
presidential nominee did not, challenge the
American people with a New Deal, or a New
Frontier, but promised only a restoration of
the recent past. The reactionary liberalism of
Walter Mondale ignores John Kennedy's ob-
servation: "Change is the law bf life. Those
who live only for the past or the present are
certain to miss the future."
To be true to the innovative spirits of Jef-
ferson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy, Democratic
liberals must examine federal programs in
action, and, like Roosevelt did, discard ex-
periments that don't work and the propose
better ones. Some government agencies, such
as the National Labor Relations Board, have
done an outstanding job of helping the forgot-
ten man claim his fair share of America's
wealth. Liberals should not only defend suc-
cessful agencies and their regulations against
the Reagan attacks, but should fight to extend
their protection to the left-out.
Robert Kennedy was one of the first to
foreseethe next direction for liberalism. He,
not Ronald Reagan, first suggested
revitalizing ghettos by cutting taxes for
businesses that located there. His 1968
Presidential campaign stressed the impor-

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tance of acheiving justice from the bottom
up-through grassroots democracy, not
through more and more federal agencies.
Liberalism for the 1990s can regain its stan-
ding with the American people by renewing
its commitment to empowering them.6
Promoting home solar energywunits, suppor-
ting employee stock ownership plans, and set-
ting up Individual Training accounts are only
a few of the ways that government can
simultaneously help the people deal with the
changing world economy and gain more
power over their own lives.
While the meals of liberalism can evolve,
liberalism must remain true to its historical
motives. Liberals must remain the advocates
of the dispossessed and the disenfranchised.
Democratic liberals should stand up for farm
workers, for sexual minorities, for the unem-
ployed, for children, and for all the people in
the third word who hunger for justice. If elec-
tions cannot be won with those goals, it is bet-
ter to lose an election over decency than win
one about self-interest.
Liberals have always been ready to
pragmatically adopt whatever methods were
most appropriate for the circumstances. An-
drew Jackson moved beyond Jefferson's
agrarian paradigm. Woodrow Wilson under-
stood that the small-firm economy of
Jackson's era no longer existed. Franklin
Roosevelt realized that Wilsonian
progressivism did not contain the answers to
the Great Depression. Adlai Stevenson and
John Kennedy knew that faith in the New
Deal was not enough to mange the new in-
dustrual state.
In today's rapidly changing world, liberals
can only be true to their heritage by searching
for new ideas to cope with the realities of the
next decade and the next century.

A better bullet

THE ARROGANCE of the South
African government in dealing
with its oppressed black majority is
never difficult to prove. But evidence
which has recently surfaced about a
clash last month between police and
blacks perhaps best illustrates the at-
titudes of those who control 'the coun-
try.
According to police accounts, the
skirmish involved 4,000 blacks mar-
ching in a funeral procession and 15
police officers patroling a roadblock
nearby. When the blacks ignored or-
ders to stop and began throwing stones
at armored police trucks, the officers
opened fire-killing 19 of the mour-
ners.
Blacks involved in the incident claim
that as many as 45 people were killer'
by police bullets and that the officers
began shooting when the procession
was still some 20 yards from the road-
block.
As inhumane as this incident proved
to be, the fact that the police chose to
fire at the procession is only the tip of
the iceberg. In this particular case of
South African unrest, the specific
weapons used by the police illustrate
their arrogance.
This week, Maj. Daniel Blignaut,
head of the riot control unit, told a
commission of inquiry into the killings
that conventional riot control weapons

like rubber bullets, tear gas, and bir-
dshot has proven to be useless in recent
interactions. Blignaut said that this
was becuase black rioters had become
more "aggressive." Therefore, the 19
or more people were killed by more ef=
fective heavy-gauge shotgun car-
tridges and automatic rifles.
The police were able to use the more
destructive weapons and ammunition
because of instructions recently han-
ded down from their national
headquarters. The instructions
authorized police officers to use the
heavier equipment. if the situation
warranted it.
"It's hard to disperse crowds,"
Blignaut was quoted. "It's at the
discretion of the commanding officer."
The Major has a point; crowds of
angry blacks opposed to oppressive
rule are difficult to suppress.
But instead of looking for ways to
more effectively' keep down social
unrest, the government .should start
seeing the causes of that unrest. In a
country where racism is the law, those
discriminated against will always fight
their oppressors.
More powerful guns and stronger
ammunition are not the answer to
South Africa's problem. Com-
bating increased violence and unrest
with increased firepower and sup-
pression will only serve to perpetuate a
vicious and unnecessary cycle.

Letters .
Critic leaves, something to be desired

To the Daily:
A couple of points, if you
please, concerning your review
(April 6) of the Gilbert and
Sullivan production of H.M.S.
Pinafore.
We believe that the main pur-
pose of a theater review is
primarily to prepare potential
spectators for the qualities of the
production in question. Pete
Williams paid but scant attention
to the production, yet he postured
at length and vehemently against
the shallowness of the plot and its
similarity to Love Boat plots. His
essay isn't a review so much as a
personal unloading of his par-
ticular complaints. I see in the
Daily masthead that you have art
critics on staff, including even a
theater critic, one Chris Lauer.
Please, send us Chris next time,
who doubltless has background
enough to review legitimate
theater, and discernment enough
to differentiate the sight and
sounds of the stage from the ven-
ting of his own spleen.
But to take Peter seriously for
a' moment, I don't agree with his
thesis that Pinafore is merely a
Love conquers All rehash, The,
story concerns the rigidity of
social structure by the upper-
crust, and though Love attempts
to cross over, in fact it fails to do
so. Two pairs of lovers are even-
tually brought together, but only
by Gilbert's jerking them into ad-

se, in the tragic works, the lovers
get squished by Fate Perhaps
that is more to Pete's liking. In
any case, if you sent Pete to the
theater again, he is liable to
write the same review. Spare
him. Spare us.
He says, "...under most cir-
cumstances, the comparison of

this complete production to the
Love Boat would be enough to
make even the most casual
Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiast
turn red with anger...". We didn't
and no hard feelings. We put your
essay on the wall with the nice
reviews, and had a chuckle over
it. But wait-what the heck is a

"casual enthusiast?"
-?avid Goldberg
April 10
Goldberg is President of the
Friends of the University of
Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan
Society.

Daily editorial sets double standard

To the Daily:
Your editorial on "The Silent
Scream" sets up an interesting
double standard. You condemn
Reagan, Falwell, and former
abortionist Bernard Nathanson
because they support "a film that
is based on emotional
argument." Anti-nuclear activist
Dr. Helen Caldicott spoke here a
few weeks ago and gave a rather
emotional speech about nuclear
war. The Daily praised her
presentation. Make up your
mind. If it's acceptable for
Caldicott to make an emotional
argument on an issue"(and she
also happens to get a few of her
facts wrong) then it must be ac-
ceptable to support an emotional
argument against abortion.
Your condemnation of anti-
abortion "propaganda" was also
BLOOM COUNTY

interesting. When one of
Caldicott's films was labeled
"propaganda" by the State ;
Department, so-called free
thinkers were up in arms: How'
could one doctor's description of
and opinions on nuclear war be1
propaganda? Well, I ask you:
How then can one obstetrician's
opinion on abortion be propagan-
da?
As for the obstetricians who ob-
jected to the film, Nathanson has
challenged them to make their
own abortion videotape: "If they
think that they're going to see the

fetus happily sliding down the
suction tube... waving and
smiling as it goes by, they're in
for a truly paralyzing shock."
The real objection to "The Silent
Scream" seems to be that it por-G
trays a suction abortion for what
it really is: The violent tearing
apart of human flesh. Some
people are not capable of facing
up to that fact. However, not all
of us can be "good Germans."
-Steve Angelotti
April4

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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.
by Berke Breathed

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