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March 02, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-02

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I

4

OPINION
Monday, March 2, 1987

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

Two

By Buzz Alexander
& Alan Wald
The recent "Contra-gate" revelations
about the Reagan administration's abuse
of power came as no surprise to many
University of Michigan faculty. Those of
us who have been following U.S. foreign
policy over the last decades are well aware
that U.S. intervention in Central America
is dictated by the political and social
needs of a ruling group in the United
States that has violated and will continue
to violate the laws of the United States,
as well as the will of the majority of the
population, to pursue its own narrow
economic interests.
Moreover, the lessons of U.S. inter-
vention against the people of Vietnam
weigh heavily on those of us who came
of political age in the 1960s. At that
Buzz Alexander and Alan Wald are
professors in the Department of English
and members of Faculty for Human
Rights in Central America. They visited
Nicaragua in the fall of 1986.

rofs call
time, as in Central America at the present
moment, an illegal and immoral war was
waged for the sole purpose of preserving
and extending U.S. hegemony. The
authentic facts about U.S. activities were
cynically falsified by the government,
and the genuine aims of U.S. foreign
policy were deceitfully masked under the
familiar rhetoric of preserving
"democracy" and fighting "communism."
However, unlike the University of
Michigan faculty in the 1960s, we have
failed to keep sufficiently active and
vigilant during the past several years.
Many of us have sat passively by while
students and community members have
acted upon the ideals that we profess in
our classrooms and in our scholarship.
Somehow we have allowed a "new
professionalism" to set in that disparages
social activism, demonstrations, and
rubbing shoulders with students and
working people in committees and on
picket lines. Yet the reality is that our
scholarship and pedagogy will become
eviscerated, diminished and dehumanized
to the extent that we divorce ourselves
from practical activity in the cause of

social emancipation for all people, of all
colors and all nations.
While we fail to express and act upon
our political and moral concerns, our
government is once again, in Nicaragua,
engaged in an illegal and immoral
intervention that threatens to involve us
in a devastating war. It is imperative that
we awaken and attempt to halt the U.S.
support of the Contras now, before it is
too late.
One form of action that University of
Michigan faculty might take is direct
humanitarian aid to the Nicaraguan
people. The city of Ann Arbor has
adopted a Sister City, Juigalpa, and is
currently engaged in developing a
program of medical and educational assis -
tance. The Central America Task Force
of Ann Arbor needs the contributions of
anyone who can offer technical skills as
well as financial aid to the many insti -
tutions of Juigalpa that so desperately
need our help - especially the schools,
hospitals, museums, and social service
departments.

Here at the University of
faculty also have the poss
adopting sister universities
academic departments in N
educational institutions. Wha
first of all are the most e
supplies: paper, pencils, b
laboratory equipment. But Ur
Michigan faculty may also
programs to train Nicaraguan st
faculty; for example, by brin
to Ann Arbor for special cour
traveling ourselves to Nicarag
classes and programs.
In addition, University of
faculty have many opportuniti
actively to halt the United Sta
Contra invasion of Nicaragu
present time many University
signing a major advertiseme
New York Times to den
Congress end Contra aid. Ever
afternoon there are demonstra
Federal Building, or else at th
Guard Armory or Naval recruit
to protest United States interve
March 29 there will be

for faculty

activism
Michigan, demonstration in Detroit to demand a halt
sibility of to the war, and on April 25th there will
and sister be a large mobilization of all anti-
4icaraguan intervention activists to descend on
t is needed Washington, D.C. to demand the
lementary complete cessation of hostilities against
ooks, and our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters.
niversity of
engage in Today there are many critical causes
udents and demanding a re-engagement of our hearts:
Iging them and minds. Among the pre-eminent
ses, and by issues are the anti-apartheid struggle in
:ua to offer South Africa, the dispossession of the
Palestinian people in the Middle East, the
nuclear arms race, the continuation of
f Michigan virulent racism inside our own country,
es to work and the U.S. effort to crush movements
rtes-backed for social amelioration in Central
a. At the America. The Faculty Committee for
faculty are Human Rights in Central America
-nt for the (FACHRES-CA), which will meet at 12
nand that noon on Wednesday, March 11 at Guild
y Thursday House (802 Monroe Street), is one of
tions at the several vehicles on the campus by which
he National we can return to our role as authentiq
ing offices, teacher/scholars - ones whose intellect
ention. On are devoted to resolving the primary:
a mass social issues of our time.

Ii4 M1i)4an iaig
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVII, No. 102 420 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.

LETTERS:

Meese's policies hurt Constitution

Welcome back

A S STUDENTS RETURN TO
CLASSES today from "spring
break," which ended about three
weeks before spring begins,
thoughts turn to remaining
midterms and another eight weeks.
The, break provided an
opportunity for needed rest. For
many it also provided a change of
scenery from the dreary and gray
-surroundings which permeate Ann
Arbor this time of year. Perhaps
having the break in winter has its
advantages.
Though there isn't much that can
be said for this time of year,
weatherwise, soon Ann Arbor's
greenery will return. With it will
come frisbee on the diag, the
beginning of baseball season, and,
perhaps too soon, the end of
classes.
While the campus may lack the
visual beauty of a beach or the
mountains, it makes up for it with
intellectual ferment in the coming
month.
On March 23-24 the entire
campus votes on a new MSA

leadership which will face crucial
questions about the role of the
assembly. The students will also be
faced with two ballot proposals
dealing with PIRGIM funding.
Unfortunately, students also will
be denied the opportunity to vote
on the jurisdictop of the assembly.
Prior to break the assembly meekly
passed a resolution limiting the
assembly to "student concerns;"
what a student concern is was not
defined in the ressolution.
The University commuity will
also face the growing problem of
racism on campus in the coming
weeks; the most recent example of
which is the racist broadcast on
campus radio station WJJX. On
February 18, students occupied the
station to prtest the broadcast. This
issue requires renewed attention to
defuse racism on campus.
Students should not allow
themselves to become too burned
out from coursework or apathetic
to concern themselves with issues
of importance.

To the Daily:
In life there is a certain
discontinuity between the ideal
and the actual. Recently this
gap became increasingly more
pronounced in certain areas.
While our attention is
constantly focused on the
global situation, the world
view as it were, there are
serious issues here at home
that require our attention. They
may not be as glamorous as
world hunger or Apartheid,sbut
they are no less significant.
One such issue is the steady,
sickening trend of increased
repressiy, censorious activi -
ties. To illustrate let's consider
Attorney General Edwin
Meese. He deserves special
attention not only due to his
exalted position, his behavior
in which crime is enough, but
due to his particularly fanatical
behavior.
Why is it that this
God-fearing, patriotic, well
meaning, family man should
inspire such fear and loathing?
Let me count the ways; his
blatant disregard for Cons -
titutional rights, his unnatural
views on civil rights and
government censorship, and
last, but not least, the fact that
he ista vicious, narrow minded
bigot. If you think I'm getting
carried away, let's see anyone
but a WASP try to buy his
summer home in New
England. Oh, where to start.
How about with the thing
closest to Meese's tiny heart,
his baby, the President's Com -
mission on Pornography. This
year-long Odyssey into the
heartland of moral squalor and
depravity cost the American
taxpayer thousands of dollars.
What did it discover -
nothing, just like all the
previous examinations of the
"problem." What it did do is
sprout some of the most
heinous lies and contortions of
truth since the McCarthy era. It
was a politically charged agen-
da and personal vendetta from
the start. Objectivity was the
point and scientific method had
no relevance - the
conclusions were already made,
all that remained was to create
some supporting evidence. It
was the Fundamentalist Right
at its best, half boied theories,
hand picked "witnesses," self
righteous bullshit, and fear
tactics. (Again, if you think
I'm kidding, just ask
7-Eleven.). They set out to
prove their own limited point
of v"ew; they succeeded in
exposing to us all their own
brutal and depraved moral and
ethical shortcomings. It was an

vicious silliness that Ed has
been at the bottom of, the
discussion going on concerning
the attempt to repeal the
Miranda decision - I ain't
talking about Carmen. It seems
Ed feels that this piece of law
protecting our rights gets in
the way of truly effective law
enforcement, especially inter -
rogation of suspects (Ed is into
"interrogating" rather than
"questioning"). He's probably
right, the Spanish Inquisition
had a much higher confession
and conviction rate than our
pathetic modern-day legal
'systeniAl knew Vfeel the -biie
rising in my throat when an
obviously guilty demented
thug goes free on some stupid,
bleeding-heart technicality. I
want to see that dirty punk
dragged kicking and screaming
by his hair into the dark
bowels of our justice system,
beaten senseless, given a fair
trial, and thrown in jail for the
rest of his unnatural life. But, I
guess unless Ed can get this
whole Miranda thing straight -
ened out, we'll just have to
turn to places like Turkey for
real justice. I don't think I
want the police force in this
country running around with
the unmitigated power to drag
me in, rough me up, lock me
away, then later at their leisure
get around to bothering with
those technicalities like my
rights. "Sorry mister. We
thought you were someone else
who was given usbsome
trouble." Thanks, but no
thanks. A system run by
human beings in a world of
infinite shades of grey should
probably err on the non-
punitive side.
The founders of this country
came here to escape arbitrary
government intrusions on their
personal freedom and dignity.
They suffered and died to create
a place where tolerance, rather
than intolerance, was the norm,
the standard, the ideal. Now a
small bank of rabid self-
righteous mutants are quietly
and steadily rolling back the
rug of social progress and
eroding such cornerstones to
personal freedoms as the
Constitution, the First Amend -
ment, and the Bill of Rights as
we all stand by giggling and
slapping our thighs at how
ridiculous and demented they
are. They couldn't possibly be
serious, could they?
Who's afraid of Edwin
Meese? I am. Very. He and his
ilk represent all that is wrong,
bigoted, narrow minded, and
intolerant in this world. That is
more then oninh fnr meW

fueled by Mark Twain, Kurt
Vonnegut, William Shake -
speare, James Joyce, and other
scum-sucking pornographers
and subversives as he merrily
Participation
To The Daily:
As Americans we tend to
pride ourselves as privileged
people. We believe that we
have the capability of guiding
our lives to any aim we
choose, believing also, that we
have the same power to direct
our government. The right to'
participate in government is
one of the founding principles
of this country's political.
ideology. Ironically though,
because of the established
fundamental nature of this
right, we seem to overlook it.
This right is overlooked to
such an extent that more than
one half of the eligible voting
population did not vote in the
last presidential election. This
political apathy is neither
healthy nor feasible for a
strong democratic state. In the
last twenty or so years,
Americans have been losing
control over their government
and it seems that now this
realization has hit square in the
face.
In the sixties and early
seventies, the Vietnam War
became a national crisis. The
vehement protests answered by
police retaliation marked such a
schism that the "government of
the people" became the
"government and the people."
Former President Richard
Nixon went as far as to say
that the greatest single weapon
working against the American
forces were the American
people who did not support the
cause.
Later, this same president
was charged with illegally
obtaining audio tapes of
members of the Democratic
party. However, he never went
to trial. He resigned as was
pardoned by his successor. The
President had put himself
above the very law that he was
entrusted to execute. As law
abiding people ourselves, we
were not allowed to see justice

hums "Deutschland
Alles."

Ober 4

-Christopher K. Duff
February 12
overlooked
done. His presidency left a
bitter aftertaste.
In order to forget Nixon, we 4
needed a new face in
government. We chose Jimmy
Carter but he also put himself
abovethe law and ordered a
rescue mission for the
American hostages in Iran.
This hastily worked mission
was a disaster, resulting in the
deaths of eight American
soldiers. Carter did not inform
the Congress. He made his 4
decision in the late, late night
while Americans were sleeping
unaware of what was
happening.
Again we chose to forgei
the past and opted for a new
face. We chose a great
communicator. He lifted the
spirit of the country. But we
did not look any deeper into
this administration, and now
we find an elderly man who
doesn't seem to remember if he
approved an illegal arms deal or
not. President Reagan whd
seemed to have believed in all
those great "American values'
has been caught right in th
middle of his own lien
conspiracies and
manipulations. 4
However, no matter how
deceitful, wrong, or stupid
these men have been, it is up
to us the people to beq
responsible for government. It
is true that Nixon deceived and
lied to us. But we probably did
not pay close enough attention
to what his administration was
doing. The same is true for
Ronald Reagan's adminis-
tration. We are too willing to
let other people run thing.
We as a people need to demand
the truth and expect our
government to answer to us.
The only way we will be able
to direct our government is tf
we ourselves are informed dl
the issues and are willing to
participate and get involved in
our government.
-Suzannah Whorl
February 5

Contra publicity scam

Y ET ANOTHER DISTURBING
breach of legality and ethics in
foreign policy has come to light.
The State Department secretly
awarded a contract to a public
relations company to lobby for the
Contras according to recent press
reports. The firm reportedly
worked with Lieutenant Colonel
Oliver North in planning a $1
million television advertising
campaign.
Its purpose was to bolster con -
gressional support for military aid
to the Nicaraguan rebels. Sources
also say that the public relations
company funded visits by Contra
leaders to lobby Congress for
additional backing.
Whether or not profits from the
Iran arms sale went towards the
public relations contracts is still
undetermined.
Scandalous revelations have ema-
nated from Washington in rapid
succession for the last few months.

responsible. Regan, McFarlane,
Poindexter and North were
eliminated, with great fanfare, from
"further corrupting the core of the
executive branch." As proceedings
continue, however, investigators
find more widespread attempts to
sway the minds of the public and
the votes of Congress.
The object of the television ads
was two-fold: to link the
Nicaraguan government to Col.
Muammar Khaddafy of Libya and
terrorism and to attack
congressmen who opposed military
aid to the Contras while calling for
support of Reagan's plan to send
the rebels $100 million. The
proponents of the public relations
campaign strove to artificially
induce a public and legislative
sentiment for interventionism.
This secret contract may or may
not breach a law which prohibits
Federal spending of funds "directly
or indirectly" to influence votes by
Congress. In any case it is
outraigeous that the executive

MY DI ON'T
"T-ST sm ;?

SORRY It
CANT EA YU

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