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January 28, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-01-28

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Wednesday, January 28, 1987

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

. . ............. - - -- - - -------- --- --- I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Marching for civil rights

By Mike Fisch

Vol. XCVII, No. 84

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.
Abortion is demCocratic

LAST TUESDAY, five thousand
people marched on the White
House in an attempt to make
abortion illegal. President Reagan
committed himself to helping this
special interest group simply
because their opinions coincided
with his own. He addressed them
over a telephone loudspeaker
system. "Thank you for your
commitment to the Right to Life,"
he said. He promised to help
them, "end this national tragedy."
Nearly a decade ago, one
hundred thousand women marched
on the White House in support of
the Equal Rights Amendment
(ERA). Reagan's only response to
majority opinion on the ERA was
to challenge the amendment in
Congress and then to challenge its
legality in the Supreme Court. It
did not pass.
Three months ago, ten thousand
people. marched on the White
House in the Great Peace March.
The president did not even
acknowledge their presence.
Over the years of conflict.
between the pro-life and Pro-
Choice movements, Reagan has
made his position clear. He
supports the minority opinion:
abortion should be made illegal in
the United States. He has
continually worked towards
eliminating funding for abortions
on the state and national levels as
well as Medicaid-funded abortions
for the underprivileged.
During this same period, the
people of the United States have
also made their position clear. The
Supreme Court has ruled that
abortions are legal. In Congress,
state legislatures and in state ballot
referendums, the majority of the
voters ,- ipport the right for people
to have abortions, legally. Not
only an active majority, but an
absolute majority, of the American
people support legalized abortion.
Their representatives at both the
state and Congressional levels
acknowledge and represent the
opinion of the people. These

representatives support abortion
funding. Ronald Reagan does not.
Clearly, Reagan does not represent
the American people, at least not in
this instance.
Instead, President Reagan
continues to work from a personal
agenda of changes he would like to
make in the United States. He won
his current office based on a
specific platform constructed and
presented during a time of
indecision (over national abortion
legislation). Since that time, the
American people have made their
decision. They support legalized
abortion and do not favor that
portion of the Reagan platform.
Reagan, however, has stood
firm on his original postion. One
must ask her or himself just what is
the role of the president if not to be
sensitive to the will of the people.
He has ignored the voice of the
people when they ask for more
comprehensive Medicaid programs
or when they ask for a program
for retraining unemployed factory
workers. Finally, when he does
listen, he listens to the minority
pro-life movement merely because
its views coincide with his own.
The United States must ask if
Reagan's election was a mandate
by the people for him to shape the
United States into his personally
ideal country. .In his campaign,
Reagan never mentioned that he
wanted to overrule the Supreme
Court, and now he has pledged
himself to overturn the Roe vs.
Wade decision. If Reagan can
change his minc, wny can't tne
American people?
Obviously, in a truly democratic
system, Reagan would work for
the people and for legalized
abortion. Instead, he is blocking
the voice of the majority. If he
cannot act in good conscience on
this issue, he should step aside, not
compromise the democratic ideal
inherent in the of the office of the
president. Holding an office
entails enacting public policy, not
dictating it.

When Kurt Vonnegut Jr. spoke at Hill
Auditorium last term he suggested that
racism was dead in America. The nearly
all-student crowd filled the auditorium
with applause. The statement made us
feel good. This was the United States of
America. Land. of the free. With liberty
and justice for all. How we clapped.
In Ann Arbor, we are familiar with
bumperstickers which say "I Love White
Castle." Many of the 1500 counter-
demonstrators in January 24's civil rights
march in Forsyth County, Georgia cut off
the word "Castle" and placed the new sign
on their coats, vests, or pantlegs.
"I Love White." Such sentiment
spurred on Forsyth's Ku Klux Klan
members and supporters on January 17,
when they threw stones and bottles at a
small group of multi-racial marchers who
were commemorating Martin Luther King
Jr.'s birthday.
Before I decided to join the Forsyth
march of January 24 (which took place
in response to the KKK violence of the
previous week) I wondered whether it
would be worth it to spend 30 hours in a
car for a five hour march.
"The march through the all white town
was scarred by violence."
"Blacks were forced out of Forsyth in
"I have a dream..."
All the words were abstractions to me
as I drove with my friends toward Forsyth
The parking lot in Forsyth county was
full of cars and pick-up trucks with
Fisch is a Daily staff writer.

Confederate flags hanging from their
windows. For the white supremacists,
the flags recalled a wonderful time in
American history when a black knew his
place, and called the whiteman "Boss."
A Confederate flag was painted on the
rear window of one car along with the
words "Niggers Go Home!" I stared at
the message. There was no commercial
break; I couldn't turn off the message and
say "What a terrible time in our history-
we sure have come a long way." There
was the rear window. And the confederate
flags. Now. In 1987.
We joined up with about ten marchers
who were heading toward the starting
point of the demonstration. As we
walked, KKK supporters screamed at the
blacks "Go home niggers. We ain't going
to live with no niggs." The counter-
demonstrators weren't just middle-aged
men- the stereotypical white
supremacist-but men, women, and
children of all ages. Families who ate
together hated together.
When they realized that my friends and
I were with the marchers they screamed
"You're white trash. Nigger-lovers.
You're worse than the niggs." The
screams came from all sides. "You ought
to be ashamed of yourself." "White
Trash." A child's voice- "Go home
Niggers" I was scared. All the screaming
and the flags, "I Love White," one man
wearing a t-shirt bearing the message
"I'm a Forsyth County redneck, and damn
proud of it," another, holding his
daughters hand, telling a reporter "I've
been trying to keep niggers and Yankees
out of three counties."
We waited for two hours in the cold
before the busses finally arrived from
Atlanta. My feet were freezing and I had
to go to the bathroom. "They're here,"
people shouted. "The busses are here."
Thousands of people got off the busses

and then we were so big. It felt so good
to be big. We could laugh at them now.
At their ignorance. Sometimes you laugh
but its almost exactly the same as crying,
just a different sound. A little girl, with
big blue eyes, hated me. Hated us. How
could she? She didn't really hate me, did
As we walked we sang "We Shall
overcome." I walked with three black
women from Atlanta and we sang
together loudly, and thought of verses to
keep the music going. They asked me
where I was from and I said Ann Arbor,
Michigan, and they all smiled.
"Michigan?" one of them asked, "You
drove here from Michigan?" and I said
yes. They looked at each other for a
moment and then one of them said,
"There are white folks here from all over
the place. How long did it take you to get
here?" "15 hours," I answered. They
looked at each other, and smiled warmly,
and I stopped thinking about how cold
my feet were, and how bad I had to go to
the bathroom. We were so big as we
walked. Brotherhood is no longer an
At the end of the march, Hosea
Williams, one of the organizers quoted
Martin Luther King Jr. as saying: "No
man is free unless all men are free." How
we clapped.
Sometimes in Ann Arbor we feel that
there is no one to march against. No
KKK. No group screaming "Go home
niggers." We get comfortable in our
insulated world, where words like racial
violence can remain abstractions. Next
week, when some of the marchers return
to Forsyth to continue in their civil
rights struggle, I will be in Ann Arbor,
at a white upper-middle class university,
where racism is subtle. Just who do we
protest against here? Perhaps ourselves.




- -





_ .,


t ;/





Aid front-line countries

group on Jan. 25 to support the
front line countries surrounding
South Africa should be
commended. Nations such as
Zimbabwe and Zambia have
endured sever economic and
agronomic hardships since their
decision to break off all trading
relationships with Pretoria.
The group comprised of India,
Zambia, Zimbabwe, Algeria,
Argentina, Congo, Nigeria, Peru,
and Yugoslavia is indicative of the
sort of alliances which must be
formed to help the African people
rid themselves of white colonial
repression. The $65 million dollar
fund will be used for famine and
economic relief and to repair the

railroad network of the front line
countries which has been damaged
by South African military raids.
This infastructure is essential to the
nations which have no coast line
for trade.
'Though no military assistance is
being provided, the United States
declined to participate in the
assistance program. In this, the
Reagan administration has taken
another step to abet the causes of
apartheid by refusing to support the
nations most directly affected by
South African militarism.
It is essential that aid be
provided to these countries to
guarantee their self-determination,
the abolition of apartheid and
colonial rule.



Hold parents responsible for pregnancies

To the Daily:
I am writing to express my
views on the recent editorial
"Choose Choice" (Daily,
There is a very real
difference between forcing a
woman to conceive and bear a
child, and requiring her to carry
the child to birth once she has
conceived it of her own free
will. Your statement that
Right-to-Lifers are trying to
make women "simply the
instruments of reproduction" is
ludicrous. Adult women are
free to control their fertility
through preventative measures,
just as men are. Adult men
and women should be expected

Fetuses are human. When
it comes right down to it, we
are all just "clumps of cells",
as you put it. On the other
hand, if personality, character
and reasonable thought are the
required criteria for being
human, there are a lot of fully-
grown people out there in deep

trouble as well. Abortion
should, perhaps, be performed
only when the fetus is a
product of rape (where the
mother is forced to conceive),
or when the mother's life is in
immediate danger due to the
pregnancy (where it is a clear
choice of one life over
another's and both cannot

It is time for people of both
sexes to take some
responsibility for their actions,
including sex. Responsibility,
after all, is one thing that
distinguishes adults from
children, and humankind from
animals. -Michael Binder
January 22

Necessary defense key to protesters trial
To the Daily:
At a pre-trial hearing on situation in a criminal case the including their human
Wednesday, January 28 the 118 necessity defense it almost abuses and atrocities;
people arrested at the office of never allowed. If Judge inability of the Cont
U. S. Representative Carl Alexander agrees with the fight without U. S. aid a
Pursell last March will present defense motion and allows the corresponding increa
an unusual motion. Counsel defense at the trial it will be Contra activities when

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