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April 11, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-04-11

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, April 11, 1986

The Michigan Daily

01 e MtiCbt'gzan BatIly
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVI, No.:131 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Us, Steinem, and equality

4

Piercing rhetoric

C ONGRESSMAN Jack Kemp
displayed tremendous
oratorical skills and leadership
potential when he captivated
several hundred University studen-
ts with a speech last Saturday.
Hidden beneath the charm and
football stories, however, was
Kemp's right wing appeal, which
threatens to exploit the in-
creasingly Republican sentiment
of today's youth.
The former N.F.L. quarterback,
now a presidential contender,
clung to President Reagan's
popular image, but injected a fier-
ce vitality unseen in the 75-year-old
president. Capitalizing on the same
patriotic appeal and rhetoric that
propelled Reagan to the White
House, Kemp roused his audience
to four long standing ovations.
The loudest applause came
during his passionate defense of
Reagan's plan to send $100 million
to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua
- money that should be spent on
Ann Arbor roads, or financial aid
for University students. Even
stronger support greeted his
strident plea for America to
resist "Soviet colonialism" by sup-
plying arms to "freedom fighters"
around the globe.
Perhaps most popular with his
young admirers was Kemp's ap-
peal to their economic self-interest.
Preaching Reaganomics and
economic growth, he vowed to con-
tinue cutting social programs and
managed to turn a question about
deficits accumulated under the
administration into "no issue."
"The answer to poverty is more
investment and economic growth,"
he asserted, failing to explain how
lower-class Americans crippled by
Reagan's economic policies that
favor the rich can participate in

"The American Dream."
Kemp's dream remains an ex-
clusive one, available only to those
with enough money to invest. While
his call for national optimism
should be needed, citizens locally
and nationwide should not allow his
martial fervor to overcome the
pressing social needs of those un-
touched by the "Reagan
Revolution."
Kemp's potential appeal to young
voters here and at other veiled
campaign stops is frightening.
Recent Gallup polls show that the
Republicans have emerged as the
majority party among young
American voters. Experts at the
University Institute of Social
Research confirm this trend,
pointing out that Democratic Party
affiliation among 18 to 25 year-olds
enjoyed a two to one supremacy
only a decade ago.
Much of this dramatic shift can
be attributed to Reagan's personal
popularity. A new Republican
leader with similar magnetism like
Kemp, can thus consolidate the
Republican gains and perhaps even
solidify the GOP as America 's
majority party.
Although University students
were Kemp's primary targets last
weekend, all Ann Arbor voters
have a stake in preventing him and
other right wing candidates from
reaching the White House. A
national government that supports
military adventurism means less
federal support for the city. And
University students who value
their financial aid clearly would
not benefit from a Kemp presiden-
cy.
It's early in the campaign, but
Ann Arbor voters must start pier-
cing through the Kemp facade to
probe for substance.

By Rebecca Chung
On Sunday, March 9, I was on the Mall in
Washington, D.C., clutching my orange
press pass and feeling very excited as I
began to cover my first national event -
the March for Womens' Lives.
The purpose of the three-mile walk to the
Capitol steps, organized by the National
Organization for Women, was twofold: to
demonstrate that most Americans favor
choice, and to support lobby efforts for the
removal of the anti-abortion rider attached
to the Civil Rights Restoration Act - which
prohibits discrimination by sex, race,
physical disability, and age in federally
funded programs. At present, if Congress
renews this legislation, abortion becomes
illegal. If it doesn't, the government can
gives funds to institutions that discriminate
against minorities, women, disabled per-
sons, and senior citizens. (Statistically
speaking, a 1985 Harris poll found that less
than 10 percent of all Americans were in
favor of a Constitutional ban on abortion.)
Between 80,000 and 125,000 people ap-
parently felt that the cause was worthwhile
enough to offset transportation and lodging
problems. As for me, I wall always remember
that day as the time I blew one of the
greatest opportunities I could have hoped
for as a college reporter.
I was standing in the press tent before the
march, not knowing quite what to do. I
joined with a fellow Dailyite to interview
Bill Baird, who was jailed in 1965 for giving
contraceptive foam to and discussing abor-
tion with an unmarried female. (Because of
that case - Baird vs. Velloti - birth control
became legal for unmarried minors.) Baird
told us many stories about his involvement
in the pro-choice battle. For instance, when
his abortion clinic in New York was
firebombed in 1973, the arsonist later
claimed that God had sent him "by Morse
code to cleanse by fire Baird's clinic."
Found guilty,shebreceived 7 months in a
mental clinic for his crime.
After that, I spoke with several other
VIPs. My notebook beginning to fill up, I
milled around a little longer, then turned
and watched as television cameras and
throngs of reporters gathered around the
tall, very thin woman in glasses im-
media tely to my left.
I looked. Looked again. No, couldn't
be...I nudged the Washington Times repor-
ter and asked "Excuse me, but who is
that?"
She smiled and whispered "Gloria
Steinem.>
Rookie high set in. My big story! We're
going to scoop the nation! Columbia Award,
here I come! Why didn't I have a tape
recorder?
I must have stood there for a full five
minutes, scrawling away before I could find
the courage or intelligence to ask anything.
Why didn't I read up on the Schneider bill
mandating parental leave that she was so
steadfastly arguing? Why couldn't I bring
up specific examples of Reagan's human
Chung, an Honors English/RC Creative
Writing Major, is Book Review Editor
of the Daily.

rights abuses or comment on the current
political climate? What did I know about
comparable worth, except that it would
probably increase my paycheck someday?
Thankfully, someone was asking her
about abortion. At least I could break into the con-
versation. She was in the midst of respon-
ding. "Abortion was a major cause of injury
and death. One out of three women have
had abortions...if this administration has its
way, this country will see something it has
never seen - the prosecution of abortion as
murder. A woman and her physician can be
prosecuted at the whim of some official."
Simple enough. I introduced myself and
asked Ms. Steinem about the diffuculty of
making something a nationwide issue.
She replied, "Each issue takes its own
path. First you give it a name, then en-
courage people to speak out. It's atnatural
process." When asked if she was getting
discouraged in the fight for pro-choice, she
answered "I would be discouraged if the
majority of Americans didn't support
choice. They do support choice. 70 percent
of Americans support abortion rights." She
continued, "We have a president that stands
way outside the mainstream. That makes
me angry."~
The tactics of anti-abortion activists came
up. I described the commonplace sight of
fetus pictures in the Fishbowl. One could
hear anger in Ms. Steinem's voice as she
responded with with "We (Ms. Magazine)
published a coroner's photograph of a dead
woman in a motel room. The media has
been very unfair, publishing pictures of
dead fetuses but not of women who have
died from abortions," although she did not
concede that "media coverage has im-
proved in the last ten years." (That
photograph can be found in Our Bodies,
Ourselves, which has just been revised and
is widely available.)
So far, so good. The liberals would love it;
the conservative Catholics and fundamen-
talists hate it; Brother Jed would have more
sinners to denounce, and the abortion fight
that had taken over the Opinion Page at the
beginning of the term would begin all over
again.
But there had to be more I could bring
back to Ann Arbor than that. I began to
search my mind for questions. What
bothered me? What bothered my friends?
All that hit me was something I constantly
debated with my friends in the apartment
downstairsas wellas with my boyfriend.
What can we, as young women and college
students, really do to help maintain and ex-
tend the equality that people before us
fought for? How do we cope with the choices
we have? What now?
One of the as-of-yet unrecognized
achievements of the women's movement is
its reiteration of the fact that people need
each other. The idea that one can only make
worthwhile contributions in monetary or in-
tellectual terms becomes mythical as men
and women begin to share spheres and,
consequently, enrich their lives in ways they
never thought possible. It isn't just women
wanting it all; it's men too, who are starting
to see that there is much more to life than
work and wages.
Although society is slowly but surely ac-
cepting the personhood of women, society's
machine for perpetuating itself is changing
much more slowly. Many women too

eagerly sought to fill the emptiness they or
their mothers felt as "only housewives" by
plunging into full-time employment and
motherhood. Now they often find them-
selves trapped in jobs still geared to in-
dividuals who cannot be concerned with
details (!) like maintaing a household or
raising children. People who want relation-
ships and/or families will be scrambling in
order to fulfill the equally pressing needs of
economic security, personal achievement,
and intimacy and support from a caring in-
dividual.
As a nation, this dilemma has not been
resolved. Moreover, even as this country
searches for ways to deal. with this never-
before-seen situation, there is a vocal
minority who has convinced itself that the
only solution is to turn the clock back.
Never mind that 56tpercent of all women
work because they must (Newsweek,
3/31/86), or that, according to 1980 U.S. cen-
sus figures, only 11 percent of all families fit
the "traditional" father-who-works,
mother-who-doesn't mold.
This minority is also composed of people
(really), who feel the same tugs, have
the same fears. But they don't under-
stand that their solutionwill not work for
everybody, or even almost everybody. But
because they are more organized than the
more diverse majority, they have the means
to impose their ideas upon everyone.
These people have attacked abortion,
ERA, gay parenting, and even rock music in
the name of saving the family. They don't
see that, if they do things their way, they
will pay the too-high price of sacrificing the
individuals who make up families. This is
self-defeating: after all, aren't families
where people go when they need to be accep-
ted as themselves? Isn't finding ways to
simultaneously develop the concept of the
family and share the responsiblity to care
for each other as complete individuals
worth fighting for?
This was what I was looking for from
Gloria Steinem that sunny Sunday morning
in Washington. I found it after reading coun-
tless articles and books after the march, in-
dluding Betty Friedan's The Second Stage,
Simone De Beauvoir's The Second Sex,and
Carl N. Degler's At, Odds. It couldn't have
been properly addressed during an outdoor
interview held between TV crews. I was
demanding sweeping generalizations and
easy solutions. I got what I deserved.
* Rookie Reporter: What would you ask of
young women?
" Gloria Steinem: I would ask of them only
that they dream the biggest dreams...
" RR: And what about the role of college
campuses?
m GS: The campus is a microcosm of the
world, so there's much we can do. We can
make Afro-American and women's studies a
part of the curriculum so that we study all of
our culture, not just part of.it. We can make
the campuses safe for men and women by
providing lighting and security.
" RR: And college men? What about them?
" GS: I would ask them to think about the
ways in which it helps them - they are also
denied some humanity - and think about
what it would be like to be exactly the same
person, but born female: how they would
react to a dirty joke, discrimination in the
workplace..."
Nice, inspirational stuff, huh?
Oh well...

No comment

O N MARCH 17th, this column
published "Wire Service
Politics." The editorial criticized
an Associated Press (AP) article,
which was both inaccurate and
misleading. (Daily, "6,500 political
prisoners languish in Nicaragua,"
2/21/86).
At the time of the editorial, the
Associated Press could not respond
to the Daily's queries. Having
received a copy of the Daily
editorial, the AP Foreign Desk in
New York promised to call the
Daily with a response on March
31st. AP did not respond. On April
7th, Nate Polowetsky said that the
AP had not had time to question its
sources in Nicaragua. Still,
Polowetsky said there would be a
response in two or three days. On
April 10th, Polowetzky still had no
response except "What's the
rush?"
While AP did not publish any
Sandinista comments on the con-
ditions and existence of political

prisoners in Nicaragua, the Daily
spoke to Maria Hooker, a press of-
ficer at the Nicaraguan Embassy
in Washington, DC. Hooker said
that the Red Cross is allowed to
visit prisons and Americas Watch
has visited the pre-trial detention
center described in the AP article.
She denied the existence of severe
conditions such as rape and forced
drug administration in Nicaraguan
prisons and pre-trial detention cen-
ters. In contrast, AP quotes its
source, saying that, under Somoza,
"it was possible to visit the prisons,
but now that is imposssible by or-
der of Borge."
The AP article does not quote
anyone from the Sandinistas, the
Red Cross or Americas Watch. In-
formation from these sources
flatly contradicts the AP article.
Worse, the April 15th vote on Con-
tra aid will come and go without
AP readers' knowing there is a
dispute over the facts they read in
February concerning Nicaraguan
political prisoners.

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