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January 22, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-01-22

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OPINION

Wednesday, January 22, 1986

The Michigan Daily

-

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Eitt mgbsunat ni t iig
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Ferraro 's untold story

Vol. XCVI, No. 79

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Put Goetz away

BERNARD GOETZ is a lunatic
vigilante, who should go to pr-
ison. Last week, a New York
Supreme Court dismissed eight at-
tempted murder and assault
charges against Goetz.
The judge said that the
prosecutor has neglected to explain
the self-defense law to the second
grand jury. Apparently, the judge
wanted the jury to decide if Goetz
had felt threatened. The jury's role
is not to evaluate Goetz's feelings,
but to reasonably determine if he
behaved appropriately, con-
sidering the circumstances that
faced him. Even if the jury em-
pathized with Goetz, the additional
shot he fired into one of the woun-
ded boys was clearly not aimed in
self defense. Such evidence is
crucial to the outcome of the case,
although it was not revealed until
after the initial uproar in the press
and largely positive public reaction
to Goetz's "get tough on crime" ac-
tion. It was belatedly reported that
Goetz said, "You don't look so bad;
here have another", as he shot one
of the boys who was already on the
ground.
In addition, the judge charged

that two of the boys who Goetz
allegedly attacked seemed to have
contradicted themselves. The
judge's source of information ap-
pears to be the Daily News.
Hence, procedural difficulties in
the trial have temporarily ob-
scured the fact that Goetz admitted
to having shot the black youths who
allegedly tried to rob him of $5
dollars on a New York City train.
The prosecutor wisely decided to
appeal the judge's decision the day
after it was announced. Also,
charges against Goetz for reckless
endangerment still stand. The
shots that did not hit the black
youths are evidence for relatively
minor charges against Goetz.
The prosecutor should not try to
violate procedural laws just to
lock-up Goetz, but it is a good thing
the prosecutor made his quick
public announcement that the case
would continue. Unfortunately, the
court system has had to give the
appearance of condoning vigilan-
tism and the excessive use of force
of a white man against black
youth. The prosecutor must work to
dispel this appearance as soon as
possible.

By Jackie Young
I have just finished Ferraro: My Story. It
took several weeks, almost a month, to get
through it. Part of the problem is that I, like
most readers, had expected something dif-
ferent from this book. I expected to learn
about Geraldine Ferraro's early years as a
young woman growing up in New York.
Instead, the former vice presidential can-
didate's autobiography is primarily about
her race for the second highest seat in the
U.S. government. Its usefulness seems less
to learn about the woman and more to
rehash the 1984 post-convention campaign
for those who hadn't followed it while it was
going on.
In short, the book is far from inspiring,
although it recounts an extremely inspiring
event. Ferraro is a politician, after all, and
not a writer. But with another writer helping
her out, co-author Linda Bird Francke, you
would think they could have produced
something a little more readable.
But the fact that this book is poorly
written and edited is no reason to quickly
pass it over in the library or bookstore for
more colorful reading. There is much of
value in the book, especially in the chapter
"Reflections," where Ferraro lets loose and
gives us some snippets of the fan mail she
says kept her going when she was "getting
hit from all sides in the worst moments of
the campaign."
From a 39-year-old single woman,
Ferraro received this letter: "The
psychological impact of your candidacy and
the manner in which you conducted your
campaign have meant more to women of my
generation and in my situation, have given
us more self-esteem and courage, than it is
possible for me to convey in words alone...
We have a voice now in the affairs of this
country greater than we have previously
had. I no longer fear that voice can be silen-
ced."
Ferraro concludes the chapter, affirming
the importance of her candidacy, with a
particularly emotional moment. Ferraro
tells how she overheard a college-age
woman, who she "didn't recognize," ask one
of her female campaign staff members how
she should go about preparing to run for
president in 1996.
"Give me your name and number and
we'll be in touch," the Ferraro campaign
staffer responded, taking out her notebook,
"I smiled," Ferraro writes. "That moment
said it all. My candidacy had been worth it.
Absolutely." Indeed, this is one of the things
that made reading her book worthwhile.
But little of the book is devoted to such
positive aspects of Ferraro's candidacy. As
much as I hate to admit it, most of the book
is a rather sad comment on Ferraro,
because she paints herself as a human being
- an appearance-conscious woman and
highly partisan politican - not some divine
goddess of wisdom.
Sidney Blumenthal, in a Jan. 6 & 13 edition
of The NewuRepublic magazine, is quick to
point out some of the silly incidents Ferraro
cites in her book that seem to fit right into
the stereotype of the mindless woman who
worries more about her hair and what dress
to wear than about pressing national issues.
Much of what he notes does seem
legitimately prissy. At one point, Ferraro
insists that she keep a hair appointment,

forcing a Mondale staffer who is in-
vestigating her finances to wait an ad-
ditional day to meet with her.
However, Blumenthal goes too far. He
chastises Ferraro for her mention of the
shortage of female Secret Service agents
and her frequently stated desire to go to the
ladies' room. "Ferraro's book might have
been appropriately titled To the Ladies'
Room. The taffeta touches must be seen as a
calculated appeal to Redbook readers, an
essential constituency if Ferraro is to make
back her one-million-dollar advance for her
publisher," he writes.
Blumenthal's demeaning remarks in The
New Republic article get less favorable as
the article proceeds. For example, he boldly
compares Ferraro's acceptance of Walter
Mondale's nomination with Molly Bloom's
thoughts at the conclusion of James Joyce's
classic work Ulysses.
"Ferraro's acceptance of Walter Mon-
dale's proposal apparently inspired her to
think like Molly Bloom: 'Yes, I decided.
Yes,' " Blumenthal mockingly writes.
Molly Bloom, of course, is a domineering
wife, thus this is a particularly offensive
comparison.
On several occasions, Ferraro questions
whether a man would have been treated the
same way she was during the campaign, a
legitimate question since she is the first
woman to run for this top position and few
would dispute that sex discrimination exists
in this country.
But Blumenthal calls her questioning a
matter of blaming her own failures on "an
accursed sexism," implying that she has no
right to suspect sexism.
Actually, I felt Ferraro intimated sexism
far less than she could have, probably
fearing that people would see it as an excuse
rather than the unfortunate handicap that it,
like racial prejudice for black candidates, is
for female candidates. Particularly in the
area where Ferraro has had the most
problems, finances, women have
traditionally faced greater obstacles than
their male colleagues. Having less access to
the Wall Street powerbrokers and the 'Boys
Clubs' that control the big buck, female
candidates have traditionally found it har-
der to raise money for their campaigns.
Blumenthal, however, not only makes
light of sex discrimination, he bad mouths
Ferraro's ethnic heritage. This is, I sup-
pose, his piece de resistance, which he saves
to conclude his article. He hints that
Ferraro's relatives, and especially her
husband,shave direct ties to the Mafia, going
so far as to compare her aspiration for
legitimate power to that of characters in
The Godfather.
Then he finishes her off, writing: "The die
for Ferraro was cast when she married her
husband. Though she projects herself as a
kind of Horatio Alger heroine, that story
never happened. Instead, she married well
within a certain circle, fulfilling her initial
ambition. But she could never reject her
past without rejecting her husband - and
most of her life."
That's just a bit harsh, to say the least.
Blumenthal's nasty innuendo regarding
Ferraro's background seemed shady to me.
It seems he wanted to prove that journalists
can dig up dirt on anyone, especially overly
idealized historic figures, to prove that
nobody is free of corruption.
Blumenthal makes me ashamed to be a
journalist. His work seems intended to
shame Ferraro without adequately proving
wrongdoing. I agree with Ferraro, as she

writes in her book, that "The past actions of
anyone's family should not have any
bearing on that person's capacities to serve
as the Vice President, the Vice President's
wife, or the Vice President's husband."
But enough of Blumenthal's opinion of
Ferraro's book and candidacy. The most
revealing tidbits to be gleaned from
Ferraro's book are the lessons that her can-
didacy has for future generations of female
candidates. And there are many.
Among these lessons is the problem of
claiming that a victory for one woman can-
didate is a victory for all women. Ferraro
explains that this is a dilemma in the
politics of race and gender which she has yet
to resolve for herself. She admits to cam-
paigning for male candidates whom she
supported on the issues over female can-
didates she did not agree with on issues.
Although Ferraro admits that Mondale
probably chose her because he thought
more women would vote for him, the ticket
failed precisely because this did not happen
"It demeans women to think that they would
vote in a mindless bloc just because of their
gender - or a candidate's gender," Ferraro
writes. But this is exactly what the Mondale
Ferraro campaign was hoping for. In the
future, perhaps candidates should avoid
focusing on gender so much and prove why
everyone would be worse off under their
opponent.
Another lesson is that even when you lose,
you win. - Post-election polls in five
congressional districts in Utah, Kansas,
Missouri, New Hampshire, and Florida
revealed that 27 percent of the respondents
said they would be more likely to vote for a
woman than before the 1984 election; 7 per-*
cent said they would be less likely; while by
far the largest percentage, 64 percent, said
it would make no difference.
In addition, as Ferraro writes: "Some of
the negative stereotyping that had plagued
female candidates in the past had been
erased. (She might think differently after
reading Blumenthal's article). Women can-
didates were in fact ranked more positively
than men with regard to the characteristics
of being effective in office, caring, having
strong opinions and new ideas, fighting for
their beliefs, understanding voters' needs,
and speaking to the point."
Despite the positive lessons, the negative
outcome of Ferraro's candidacy - that
some may claim the defeat of one woman as
a judgment on all women candidates -
should only convince more women of the
need to run for political office.
As Ferraro advises in the closing pages if
her book: "It is now more important than
ever for more and more young women to en-
ter politics and make politics a career."
"For all that we make up fifty-two percent
of the population, women are sorely un-
derrepresented in the policy-making bodies
of this country. There are still only twenty-
three congresswomen out of 435 members of
the House, two senators out of one hundred,
two governors of fifty states.
"An important voice - springing from the
knowledge of women, their bond to living
things - is not being heard."
More women should take Ferraro's ad-
vice. Unfortunately, many women may not 0
want to wade through her book and relive
her problematic and traumatic candidacy,
~thus they won't get the message. They may
just read The New Republic's scornful
review of her book and neglect to read it for
themselves. That would be a tragedy.
But rarely do men and women learn the
lessons that history teaches.

Addressing the aged

THE REAGAN administration's
lack of concern for the plight
of the elderly in this country is
clearly demonstrated in its inten-
tions to eliminate an exemplary
housing construction program for
senior citizens.
Despite the administration's
limited protection of Social
Security and Medicare benefits,
this cut outlined in a White House
draft of the 1987 budget appears to
be one of many bureaucratic "back
doors."
Bipartisan supporters of the
housing program in Congress do
say that the program's popularity
may insure its existence. Never-
theless, it has undergone several
severe cutbacks that have
significantly diminished the
quality and quantity of the low-cost
housing projects. There is also sub-
stantial evidence that the
distribution of federal loans by the
Department of Housing and Urban
development is in part motivated
by political favoritism.
Similarly, the spending cuts
outlined in the new budget laws in-
dicate the administration's failure
to make the needs of the elderly an
unconditional priority. The threat
of adverse political consequences
forced the authors of the new
budget to make Social Security
benefits exempt from spending
cuts and limit cuts for Medicare to

1 percent. However, these
exemptions don't extend to the ad-
ministrative budgets of these
programs. As a result, doctors will
receive less for treating elderly
Medicare patients - a consequen-
ce that many senior citizens can ill
afford.
The problems of the elderly have
been ignored and understated. But
a new and particularly disturbing
attitude is developing within the
government as well as the general
public. Claims are now being made
that the elderly are actually the
wealthy of this country, and take
unfair advantage of Social Security
and Medicare benefits. Such
statements may have validity in
isolated cases but clearly the
financial insecurity of many senior
citizens is an undeniable reality
that cannot be whitewashed.
It is difficult to reconcile cuts in
low-cost housing projects, Social
Security and Medicare when one
looks at what Reagan has deemed as
a priority over these concerns. His
Strategic Defense Initiative
program is excluded from virtually
all spending cuts - a fact that re-
defines the word "necessity." For
poor senior citizens, the anxiety
over affordable housing and ef-
ficient medical services is far
greater than anxiety for the coun-
try's nuclear arsenal.

Wasserman

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LETTERS:

Zionists oppose extremism

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To the Daily:
A battle has been waged on the
editorial page of The Daily, a bat-
tle of attack and counter-attack
to sway public opinion on the
Arab-Israeli conflict. We believe
there is a more constructive
alternative to the vicious
rhetoric.
We are a group of Zionists op-
posed to extremism on both sides
of the conflict. Zionism, in part,
grew in reaction to Anti-
Semitism, a form of racism. It is

racism.
Moreover, we are pained by the
racist and oppressive tendencies
within the Zionist community.
These streams, both within and
outside of Israel, maintain the
repression in the Occupied
Territories and the denial of the
national and human rights of the
Palestinian people. We cannot
accept Schreier and Coleman's
optimistic and inaccurate por-
trayal of the modern Israeli
reality. We do not agree that all

Jewish-Arab settlement within
Israel, sponsors a school for
peace. Thousands of Israeli
Arabs and Jews have par-
ticipated in seminars there to
promote understanding and to
eliminate stereotypes. Shalom
Achshav (Peace Now), an active
Israeli movement, works for a
peaceful solution to the Middle
East conflict. Yesh Gvul (There's
a Limit), a group of Israeli
soldiers, refused to serve in the
Lebanese War, feeling that the

political, social and economic
challenges facing Israel today.
We work within the Jewish com
munity to raise an awareness of
these issues, hoping to combat
extremism and promote respon-
sible Zionism. In these ways we
are actively implementing
change. We urge the campus and
the community to continue the
debate, but in a constructive
manner.
-The Progressive Zionist

- j U

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