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January 29, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-01-29

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OPINION
Wednesday, January 29, 1986

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCVI, No. 84

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

6
I
6

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

Constructive dissent

A NN ARBOR residents have
shown their support for the
Peace in Central America Ballot
Initiative. The 6,000 signatures
collected last year have made it
possible for voters this April to
voice their opinion on a referendum
to curb U.S. involvement in Central
America.
The referendum would establish
a task force to examine the uses of
United States aid to Central
American countries and explore.
alternative spending plans for
social services and financial aid
areas, the Initiative group rightly
points out, which have been
slighted in lieu of military spen-
ding. In addition, the task force
would work to set up cross cultural
exchanges by adopting a Central
American sister city to establish
better understanding among coun-
tries.
Often, when programs like the
Ballot Initiative are in early
stages, they are unfairly criticized
by skeptics who question the im-
pact of referendums. That skep-
ticism is just one more obstacle to
the democratic process which is

based on grass roots participation
in government. Working together
toward gradual change means in-
creasing community awareness,
which the Ballot Initiative has cer-
tainly accomplished.
Once the community is aware of
the problem voting on a referen-
dum is an excellent way of voicing
opinion, enabling elected officials
to responsibly represent their con-
stituency in the House and Senate.
The overwhelming support of the
Ballot Initiative so far has not had
a visible effect on Representative
Carl Pursell's voting for military
aid to Central America. However,
if the referendum passes, he will be
compelled to acknowledge the
disapproval of his constituency and
vote accordingly.
The Peace in Central America
Ballot Initiative is an example of
democracy in action. It is impor-
tant to remember that the U.S.
government acts as a represen-
tative of the people; when its
policies are discordant with
peoples' values, those policies
should be changed through con-
structive dissent.

LETTERS:

Action Against AIDS misunderstood

To the Daily:
I was disturbed to find both
myself and Action Against AIDS
Ann Arbor (A5) so poorly under-
stood in the article, "Regents
asked to act on AIDS" (1/17/86). I
felt it imperative that I take the
time to clarify our group's goals.
First, A5 does not suggest
"separate housing for AIDS
patients." We do wish to make
members of the University com-
munity aware that there is a need
for housing for persons with AIDS
(PWA's) who do not require
hospital care. PWA's often find
that housing opportunities open
to most of us are closed to them
because people misunderstand
them and their disease. We think
that an excellent way for the
University to address this need is
by providing funding for a
hospice-type housing project
available to PWA's who desire
this type of housing. This is far
different from a situation where
PWA's would be required to live
in separate housing. This quaran-
tine measure which is suggested
by the wording of the article is
something we oppose.
A5 is fighting to resolve
problems like this through public
education to reduce fear and
hysteria due to misinformation.
We also are fighting by remin-
ding Regents and other Univer-
sity authorities that they are ac-
countable to other community

members. We feel no confusion
over who is "fighting the battle."
We are fighting the battle and we
hope to be joined by the AIDS
task force and other responsible
members of our community.
Finally in regard to Vice
Provost Zuidema's and Vice
President Kennedy's criticism of
our naivete, what we have been
asking from the outset is to be in-
formed about exactly what is oc-
curring with respect to AIDS
treatment, research, and
education. We believe we have
reason to be concerned about the
University's committment to
fighting AIDS. The passage of the
Gramm-Rudman Act is going to
have an impact on funding at the
federal level. This is of concern to
many researchers who are ac-
tively investigating AIDS. Also
some remarks reportedly made
by John Forsyth, University
Hospitals' Chief Operating Of-
ficer, are of concern. At the semi-
annual employees' meeting on
November 4, 1985 (see letters to
the Daily 12/14/85) he explained
that University Hospital was not
planning to become active in
regard to AIDS because of
limited parking for family and
visitors and a lack of cost effec-
tiveness,
At this time AIDS is most often
a fatal disease. Does this make
treatment of PWA's and
adequate education for staff

members an inappropriate
choice? I think that our com-
munity deserves a better ex-
planation and more compelling
reasoning than this. We in Action
Against AIDS Ann Arbor are
committed to fighting AIDS
through education and increased
funding. We hope that others,,

particularly the Regents and the
AIDS Task Force, are committed
as well. Copies of our resolution
are available to interested people
by sending a request to A5 c/o
Gay Liberation 4117 Michigan.
-Jeanette M. Scheid
Action Against Aids,.Ann Arbor
January 24

A

Movie 's message

Over-due education

O NE YEAR since 30 concerned
people sat-in for a full day in
Vice President for Student Ser-
vices Henry Johnson's office to
protest his apparent disinterest in
the campus rape problem, the
naisant University center for rape
awareness and prevention
prepares to open its doors. The
newly-appointed head of the cen-
ter, alumna Julie Steiner, will
begin co-ordinating various anti-
rape efforts of students on
February 3.
Outstanding among these effor-
ts, which include the proposed
organization of a campus-wide
escort service, and expansion
of Nite Owl routes, is the rape
education programs currently
enlightening students all over
campus.
The program, which sends two
peer educators to dorms, frater-
nities, sororities, or any campus
group to facilitate discussion of
student attitudes and concerns, is
receiving an increasing number of
requests.
The program focuses on date and
acquaintance rape, the most com-
mon forms of sexual assault.
Videos made by students at Swar-
thmore College illustrate common

atmospheres for sexual assault -
the dormitory and the party. After
each video, students discuss their
own feelings about the situations
presented, discovering the con-
tributing factors of sexual assault.
Facilitators urge students to
separate themselves from
"macho-aggressive' and
"feminine-complacent" stereotyp-
es, emphasizing the need for asser-
tive communication between men
and women.
These workshops, so necessary
and long over-due, give students
the rare opportunity to discuss and
develop informed views about
sexuality. In such a supportive,
sensitive environment, common
misconceptions can be unlearned
and subsequent behavior will
perhaps be affected.
The rape awareness workshops,
run by dedicated individuals from
the Michigan Student Assembly's
Womens' Issues Committee, staf-
fed by student volunteers, and fun-
ded through the University's new
center, should be congratulated for
a job well done.
Students should take advantage
of this opportunity to re-examine
their own relationships and re-
evaluate old ideas about sex.

To the Daily:
One might concede that "The
Color Purple" was an intensely
dramatic movie, however, when
discussing such an important
topic as an individual's right to
live happily amongst over-
whelming prejudices, the subject
must be presented bombastically
in order to ensure from the
audience even a meager amount
of awareness toward the in-
justice.
The response of the reviewer to
this movie is obviously one
desensitized to the entire
meaning of the presentation. Just
the fact that the reviewer states
that he likes Celie despite her
ugliness, places the reviewer into
the film's world, which judges
Celie for her lack of the super-
ficial attributes which society
demands.
As to the characters and
moments in the movie which
were "overdone," they were done
so in an attempt to illustrate the
simple but easily overlooked idea
of this entire film.
Each woman had her own
livelihood, this livelihood being
the only reason for life. For Celie
it was her sister's love, for her
sister it was the work she accom-
plished in a church in Africa, for
Sofia it was to be a fighter, which
for her entailed being loud and
overbearing. Even Shug, "the
beautiful" character, was depen-
dent upon the "bottle" and the af-
fections of numerous men.
In light of this presentation of
the characters, the movie

becomes more than just the
world seen through Celle's eyes,
it is instead, transformed into a
detailed observation of the
relations between men and
women, and most importantly,
the ability granted to men by the
women themselves, which
enables the men to dominate and
to steal the women's lives from
them.
Each situation is presented
dramatically so that by the end of
the film,; the viewer realizes it is
not simply a presentation of a
man vs. a woman, nor one which
could be rectified by any
revelation as to the good of a
man. The film's sole issue of im-
portance is that all four women
repossess their livelihood
through the realization that only
they themselves could allow it to
be stolen. By the unconditional
love shown to each other through
various beautiful gestures,
(which could be interpreted as
homosexual to those who feel
threatened by' open ex-
pressions of love) each woman
comes to the realization that it is
love of self which is the only
guarantee to a fulfilling life. This,
once possessed, can never be
seized.
This is the importance of the
film. Done passively it would
have meant nothing, for even
when done bombastically, the
reviewer failed to recognize such
a simple idea.
-James Micheal Cooper
January 17

A

Issue of abortion

t

To the Daily:
On January 24, 1986, an article
entitled "A Woman's Choice"
appeared on the editorial page of
The Daily. The main thrust of
this article was that the issue of
abortion involves a philosophical
question which cannot be an-
swered absolutely through scien-
ce or any other means.
Therefore, the authors of "A
Woman's Choice" conclude that
we must consider the practical
arguments for abortion rights. I
agree that the question of per-
sonhood is one of a philosophical
and moral nature, and yet for this
very reason I think it is clear that
we must, as a society, answer
this question.
Medical science can tell us
unequivocally that a fetus is a
living human being. What scien-
ce cannot tell us - and is
therefore the issue at stake - is
whether or not the fetus is at a
developmental stage which
would necessitate our conferring
all the rights of personhood upon
the fetus. The editors of The
Daily have chosen to avoid this
question entirely by stating that
the question cannot be answered.
If this is true, then surely the
pro-life movement is imposing its
moral view on the rest of society.
I contend, however, that as a
society we impose and legislate
our morals constantly, and fur-
ther, that we must do this in order
to function as a society. We, as a
society have determined that
post-natal infants and children
deserve all the rights of per-
sonhood. Therefore, any in-
dividual who wantonly kills a

ts do not believe that their
children have attained per-
sonhood, then who are we to deny
them their right to kill their
children? Surely this should be
an individual choice. If a person
does not believe that blacks
should be given all the rights of
personhood, than what right do
we have to legislate their
morality and deny them their
right to own a black slave?
Clearly in these situations, we
have decided these moral
questions for a whole society, and
impose our moral view through
legislation. Likewise, we must
resolve the moral question
surrounding the abortion issue.
Further, I contend that the bur-
den of proof lies with the ad-
vocates of pro-choice. Our legal
system is based upon the assum-
ption of innocence unless proven
guilty. It seems only logical then,
that in a question such as this -
where the life of the fetus is ter-
minated - that we should allow
the fetus the assumption of per-
sonhood unless proven otherwise.
The editors of The Daily
discussed several very difficult
practical problems with unwan-
ted pregnancies. These problems
should not be forgotten and
sidelined, but must be dealth with
as well. However, the question
which must be answered about
the abortion issue is whether or
not the fetus deserves all the
rights of personhood. We cannot
avoid this question as you have
proposed, but must take the
responsibility to carefully and
conscientiously settle this issue.
To use the words of Abraham

Editorial's 'cheap shot'

To the Daily:
Way to go! Once again your
Editorial Board has ruined a
beautiful opportunity for a
meaningful editorial with it's
ultra-liberalistic views. I am
making reference to your
January 20, 1986 "Opinion" page
column entitled "King for a day."
Instead of simply showing
respect and admiration for a
great man in our recent history
(on the first observance of the
national holiday in his honor),
you chose to turn your editorial
into an opportunity to take a
political "cheap shot" at the

Reagan administration and its
civil nights record. This "cheap
shot" and the liberalistic attitude
you convey only served to ruin
what had started out to be a fine
tribute to Dr. King and those that
have taken over his ideas and
dreams.
If, in the future, should you be
unable to hold your ultra-
liberalistic views and "cheap
shots" in check, I would suggest
you let them fly on your own bir-
thday (and/or holiday), and not
on one so special as this!
-James Berry
January 214

As the Daily celebrates its ninety
seventh year of editorialfreedom,
the Opinion page is looking for
enthusiastic, politically diverse
writers to join the staff. In-
terested individuals should come

'Vandalism' by fraternity

To the Daily:
I am curious what the Delta
Kappa Epsilon fraternity hopes
to gain from vandalizing the
University campus at the begin-
ning of every semester. Before

new people by showing they have
no respect for public property?
Are they responsible enough to
pay the University maintenance
department for the man hours
used to remove non-removable

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