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October 16, 1986 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-16

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I

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, October 16, 1986 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCVII, No. 31

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.

Welfare r
PUTTING WELFARE into the hands
of the federal government will
abolish state determination of
payment amounts and criteria, thus
reducing disparity among states
and creating a fairer system.
A federal base welfare
payment would adjust benefits for
cost of living in each state and
would provide uniform
requirements. For example, a
mother of two children receives a
maximum of $164 a month in
Arkansas, the second poorest state
in the nation, while she could
receive $579 a month if she lived in
,Suffolk County, N.Y. Twenty-six
states refuse payment to families
when the father lives at home. This
situation encourages migration to
higher benefit states, such as
Michigan, where the average Aid to
Families with Dependent Children
(AFDC) payment topped $419 last
summer, considerably higher than
Illinois and other surrounding
areas.
Federal standards would correct
Wiesel
APPROPRIATELY, Elie Wiesel, a
survivor of the Nazi death camps,
has been awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize. In his books and lectures,
Wiesel has sought to recount his
personal experiences and losses
during the holocaust, in an effort to
maintain an awareness of Hitler's
atrocities and deepen an
understanding of human suffering.
It is important, however, to
recognize Elie Wiesel's
commitment to oppressed peoples
everywhere, as well as to the
memory of the Holocaust victims.
He has made it his responsiblity to
address existing injustices in the
world, encouraging universal
tolerance and peace. Wiesel has
appealed to the Soviet government
for 21 years to allow the emigration
of Jewish and non-Jewish
dissidents from the Soviet Union.

e spons1 1
such inequities. High benefit states
such as Michigan and New York
will be less attractive to those
running away from unemployment
and insubstantial welfare in lower-
paying states.
People who feel they are
paying for other states' poor,
pressure local politicians into
cuttting welfare. It is politically
expedient to cut payments since
welfare recipients are not a
powerful voting bloc. But
decreasing high-welfare states'
payments hurts the poor in that area
rather than addressing the national
problem..
Making the federal
government responsible for
meeting the needs of the people
will broaden the welfare base and
force the issue to the top of the
national agenda. A potentially
united welfare constituency could
be a strong lobbying power with a
central - target, the federal
government.
S prize
He also had attempted last year to
prevent President Reagan's wreath-
laying ceremony at the Bitburg
cemetery in West.Germany, where
former members of Hitler's SS are
buried. He has tried to draw
attention to the suffering in
Cambodia and South Africa, as
well.
Wiesel is a professor of the
humanities at Boston University,
and spends time lecturing at other
universities. During his visit to
University of Michigan last year,
Wiesel made few comments about
the Holocaust directly, and spoke
of current events and attitudes. He
sought to inspire his listeners to
have faith in the good that exists in
human nature, and not to despair in
the face of intolerance and
persecution. It is a message to take
to heart.

Hunger
By Nancy Johnston
Maybe an Ann Arbor streetperson isn't
as pity-inspiring as a wide-eyed African
child, but they are both malnourished and
hungry. And maybe it's more heart-
rending to think that an entire town or
region, or even country is starving than
to think about the people on line at the
local soup kitchens. This isn't to
downplay the problem of world hunger,
but to point out how much we desensitize
ourselves to the hunger that we live next
to. In 1985, the same year that USA for
Africa raised millions of dollars to
combat world hunger, the Physicians
Task Force found that 20 million people
in the U.S. "may go hungry at least some
period of the time every month." This
hits every section of society, every race,
ethnicity, and region of the country. It
could be a starving family of ten, it could
be an elderly widow living alone. It
could be someone who is unemployed and
unable to move to places where there are
jobs, or it could be someone who is
working full time trying to support
themselves and their dependents (two
million people classify as full-time
"working poor"). It could be the people
sleeping at Briarwood mall, who found
themsleves being stepped over by scores
of people boarding buses last May 26 to
go to HANDS ACROSS AMERICA in
Bowling Green, Ohio.
The only factor they may have in
common is that they are all hungry,
below the poverty line ("the cost of a
minimally adequate diet when funds are
extrememly low") and that they are not in
a position physically, emotionally, or
socially to do the fighting needed to
change their situation. Even though the
number of people below the poverty line
has risen steadily since 1979, social
programs for the hungry have been faced
Johnston is member of PIRGIM'S
Domestic Hunger Task Force.

with funding cuts since 1981. The
burden falls to private organizations
whose limited resources are being
overloaded.
Hunger doesn't only affect the hungry,
either. Hunger has been linked to mental
retardation and to crime. Anyone who
pays taxes is then funding the
consequences through law enforcement
and jails and state homes for both the
mentally retarded and crime prone. It
would certainly make more sense, and be
far more humanitarian to fund programs
to eliminate hunger and poverty in the
first place.
Programs for the needy do exist, but
are downplayed in the media and in
legislative sessions. Instead of looking at
the impact of the programs (food stamps
were depended on by 21 million people in
1984) and the successes they have
accomplished in providing aid to the
poor, the abuses in the system are talked
up and people are led to believe that these
programs are unnecessary and expensive
to the taxpayers. Problems do exist, of
course, but the answer isn't to annihilate
these programs! WE need to straighten
them out, or find alternatives, but we
must not just let our fellow citizens
starve.
Everybody can help find solutions to
fight hunger, and to support what
measures are already in place and
working. Besides the obvious of helping
at soup kitchens, donating to
organizations and fund-raisers, or
participating in events such as CROP
Walk or food drives, there are many long-
range things to be done. Two local.
groups -PIRGIM's (Public Interest
Research Group in Michigan) Domestic
Hunger Task Force and WHE-AC (World
Hunger Education and Action Commitee)
--are workling together on HUNGER
WATCH, a project to document hunger
in Michigan. The Hunger Task Force
will also be doing educational outreaches
on Oct. 15 and 16 in honor of World
Hunger Day (as proclaimed by the United

exists

at

Nations), including several classroom
presentations and distributing fact sheets.
On these two days also, the Task Force
will be running a postcard drive. This
will make a show of support for
legislation in the Congress called the
Hunger Relief Act of 1986. It will allot
$1 billion to food assistance program
improvement.

home

.

Li

Right now, this legislation needs co-
sponsors, and the post cards which will
be sent to the representatives should help
to show the popular support for this bill,
and encourage legislators to support it
through votes and co-sponsorships. It
only would take a moment for people to t
sign a postcard, but would mean a lot to
helping passage of the legislation.
Everyone should at least take the time for
that, and pick up a fact sheet and educate
themselves on the extent of hunger in our
country. For those interested in getting
further involved, PIRGIM'S Hunger Task
Force meets every Monday night at 8
p.m., in room 4107 Michigan Union,
phone 662-6597 (Wendy Siedon, project
coordinator). WHE-AC Meets every
Mon. night also, at 6:30 p.m., room
4202 Michigan Union, phone 663-3560
(Jean), or one can get involved in
HUNGER WATCH by calling Cindy
Phillips at 662-9765.
Ten years ago, the U.S. Congress
passed the Right to Food Resolution,
stating that every man, woman and child
has the right to a nutritionally adequate
diet, and pledging U.S. support (monetary
and otherwise) to achieve this. It's time
to make this happen, not with words, but
with actions. It is a shame that so
wealthy a country can't seems to help
solve this societal crises, making
ourselves aware of the problem is the first
step in discovering ways to alleviate it,
and the intense suffering that goes with
it, and hopefully people will take at least
a moment on World Hunger Day to take
that first step.

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-

Coloring perspectives

OCTOBER IS a full-fledged
fall month - there's no denying it.
September is usually classified as
the beginning of autumn, but it
never really lives up to its
reputation. It is in the month of
October that fall is truly realized:
the tops of trees are brushed with
gold, red, brown; the air is crisp;
students are serious.
This cooler weather brings with
it a certain clarity. As leaves drop
to the ground, bare branches are
defined against the greying sky,
eliminating the ambiguity of
summer foliage. Similarly,
students become more focused,
seeing their obligations and
commitments sharply outlined.
Mid-terms approach and time
becomes short. Students must put
more thought into how they
structure each day.
As academic pressures mount,
attitudes among students naturally

feels freer to move -and freer to
experience new things. The
summer sun encourages relaxation.
All too soon, those warm
breezes give way to harsher
autumn winds, and students retreat
to the indoors, into smaller,
confined spaces. In the process,
perspectives narrow as well.
Academic responsibilities,
deadlines, and job pressures are
absorbing , taking an unjustified
portion of time and thought energy.
One can lose sight of those things
that are truly important -time with
friends, correspondence with
family - in the constant shuttle
between classes, dorm rooms, and
the library. On campus, students
walk with their heads down,
fighting the wind -and fighting
the pace that college life dictates.
The student, however, does
have a choice in all of this. One
can allow the weather and schedule

f -

JI

r

Letters:
Rambo
To the Daily:
Last Saturday night, after
the U. of M.- M.S.U.
combat, a friend and I were
walking down State Street, just
north of N. University.
Coming our direction were a
well-dressed couple of student
age, the male half of which
was clearly intoxicated. The
woman was in tears and
cowered in a doorway while he
shoved her and abused her
verbally.
I stopped to ask if
everything were okay, knowing
full well that everything
certainly was not okay, but I
have found that a third-party
intervention will sometimes

mentality
Come on then!" I refused the
offer and the women with us
kept him at a sufficient
distance to prevent any further
incident. I wonder what
happened when he took his date
home.
The point of this story is
the fellow I encountered is not
(simply) a goon or a jerk; he
is, judging from his attire, a
contemporary American
gentleman, probably successful
and quite normal, given our
current definitions of those
terms. I suspect his concept of
masculinity derives mostly
from a combination of
Rambo and Dirty Harry
movies, which seem to be

encourages rape'.c

change in national policy, but I
do want to suggest that sexual
assualt between people who
know each other is much more
prevalent than we often realize.
The rapes reported by the media
are usually stranger rapes, but
these account for less than one
quarter of all sexual assaults.
Nearly one in four women on
college campuses are sexually
assualted by an acquaintance,
and because of our reigning
norm for masculinity, many of
theseassailants do not even
realize that they are rapists.
The effects of this macho
mentality are obvious. Less
evident, perhaps, are the effects
on men. We are as

stultifying gender roles, and
substantial (albeit not yet
sufficient) progress has been
made in breaking those chains.
But no comparable force has
had significant impact on the
constraints binding men.
Perhaps the solution lies in
greater publicity of the
prevalence of date rape. The
more women - and men -
who say that abusive
aggressivity is not acceptable,
the greater the chances that
individual men will examine
their own behavior and realize
that there are alternatives
superior to machismo. Men's
groups and gender workshops
can help, but too often they

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