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October 10, 1990 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-10

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Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 10, 1990
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

N r .' ""
G

NOAH FINKEL
Editor in Chief

DAVID SCHWARTZ
Opinion Editor

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.
......From the Daily
Awareness
Support the basic rights of lesbians and gay men
WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY WHERE will be forced to think, just as every
people are slowly becoming more open gay, bisexual and lesbian man and
and accepting of sexuality. Some woman is forced to think before they
schools are teaching sex education, are open about their sexual orientation
condoms are distributed freely in a with everyone in their lives.
few, albeit select, places, and it is no The symbolism attached to blue
longer shocking for people to hold jeans and the decision it forces people
hands in public. to make may seem like a nuisance to
This acceptance, still very limited in some, but hopefully people will realize
scope, unfortunately does not extend to that this nuisance is only a small repre-
lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. It is sentation of the decisions lesbians, bi-
pot shocking for a man and a woman to sexuals, and gay men are forced to
hold hands in public, but when two make daily.
wyomen or two men do so the reactionUnotaeliauivrtys
becomes very different. They are often Unfortunately, in a university as
verbally attacked, and even physically large as ours, not all people will be
assaulted. aware of blue jeans day, and those who
, It is because they are ostracized and unwittingly do not wear them should
persecuted that many bisexuals, les- not be condemned as homophobic. But
bians and gay men choose to hide their for those who are aware, the choice to
identity from others. The shame they not wear blue jeans is the choice to
internalize daily from the portrayal of support the oppression of lesbians, bi-
aiything other than heterosexuality as sexuals and gay men.
disgusting leads many to hide their In addition to raising awareness, the
sexual orientation from themselves. source of the fear that forces this deci-
Those who are'able to overcome this sion on people needs to be fought. That
socialized shame must then decide source is our society - it's laws, it's
when and with whom they can be institutions, and it's customs. We live
themselves. It is not safe; emotionally in a society in which gay and lesbian
or physically, to be gay, lesbian or bi- marriage is illegal, the University will
sexual in our society. It is fear that not include sexual orientation in its by-
forces people to choose whether they laws, and people are harassed and as-
have to hide their sexual orientation ev- saulted for holding hands with their
ery day of their lives. lovers.
Tomorrow, everyone on this cam- People have been fighting these
pus is going to be asked to make a practices for years and it has become
similar choice. In honor of Pride, Ac- clear that nothing short of a mass
tion, Commitment week - a week- movement is going to elicit change.
long celebration in support of lesbians This movement needs the voices of all
and gay men - people are being asked who support and accept the individual-
to wear blue jeans tomorrow to show ity of people.
support for lesbian and gay rights. To join your voice with others who
Because blue jeans are an integral are working for social change, wear
part of most wardrobes, this request blue jeans on Thursday and attend the
will force many people to think before lesbian/gay pride rally Thursday night
they dress tomorrow morning. They on the steps of Rackham at 7 pm.
Locked away
Inhumane prison conditions must be ended
IMAGINE A PRISON WHERE THE IN- ening. According to studies done by
mates are locked in individual cells for Amnesty International, numerous
22.5 hours a day. The same prisoners political prisoners are housed at
are often chained to concrete bunks for Marion, as well as prisoners who have
hours or even days at a time, and are been incorrigible only by continually
subjected to extreme temperatures appealing their convictions or by filing
which are artificially maintained. They suit against the prison system.
are denied educational programs of any In reality Marion is simply an
type, and contact with the outside institution that serves to monitor and
world is virtually non-existent, control the thoughts of prisoners of
Furthermore, the inmates are forced conscience or those who exercise their
to drink water which is drawn from a legal rights by questioning the system.
source proven to be contaminated with A former warden once said of the
PCB, lead, arsenic, and more than prison, "The purpose of Marion is to
1000 times the established safe limit for control revolutionary attitudes in the
chloroform. Most Americans would prison system and in society at large."
think it would be necessary to travelY
thousands of miles to a remote third Yet Marion seeks not to educate or
world country in order to find such a rehabiitate those ho quescon tros
barbarous institution, but in fact, one "evolutionary attitudes" by denying
need look no further than rural it's inmates the most basic human
Southern Illinois. rights, and hence imposes upon them
On Oct. 27,1983, the Marion incredible physical and psychological
Federal Prison in Southern Illinois was tortures
locked down. Since that time Marion t r

has imposed intolerably inhumane The existence of an institution such
conditions upon it's inmates, and has as Marion within a nation which
practiced cruel and archaic means of purportedly defends the right to free
punishment. U.S. District Judge James speech and the right to peacefully
Foreman, referred to Marion as "...a question authority is appalling. Marion
place where modern methods of illustrates that this country is willing to
penology make the rock and the go to any lengths to silence it's critics,
thumbscrew obsolete." Yet despite even on domestic soil, and with the
this admission of human rights proliferation of a "get-tough" policy
violations within Marion, the prison toward crime, the expansion of in-
remains locked down and the courts humane prisons such as Marion seems
have upheld the legality of its methods inevitable. In fact over 20 states are
as "necessary under the circum- considering opening a prison based on
stances." the Marion lockdown.
Obviously this provokes one to ask Currently this nation incarcerates
what "circumstances" could validate more people than any other nation in
such horrific conditions. According to the world, and that number is in-
prison authorities, only incorrigible creasing by 2000 prisoners per week.
prisoners who have failed to obey Now is the time to invest in
regulations in other penitentiaries are preventing crime, not to invest in
confined in Marion. However the prisons such as Marion which through
statistics tell a different story. their hateful methods can only foster
A congressional audit found that 80 resentment towards the system. In the
percent of all prisoners in Marion words of Daniel Bifield, a former
qualify for placement in less restrictive nrisnner at Marinn. "Reing nished

Viepoin
OR1 LE u
L O\ERENT~ Ft &PERIAWT rTS/ .

TI-

Guns Don't Kill People, People

By Jonathon Chait
Ever since the 1988 election, when the
American people resoundingly rejected
Michael Dukakis and his ultra-liberal plan
to raise taxes to support federally busing
Willie Horton into white middle-class
neighborhoods, a new issue has dominated
the political scene: Crime.
Now, any candidate running for office
must let the voters know exactly how he
feels about crime. As far as I can tell,
most politicians are against it.
This isn't the first time that crime has
been a major issue. In 1968 Richard
Nixon won the presidency running under
the slogan "Law and Order." Four years
later he switched his theme to the more re-
alistic "Sometimes You Gotta Break the
Rules," a slogan which was later adopted
by Burger King. This is very disturbing.
Exactly what rules are they breaking,
specifically with regards to federal stan-
dards for sanitation in food preparation?
Customer: Excuse me, my whopper
has a dirty kleenex in it, along
with what appears to be toenail clippings.
Employee: Hey, Sometimes You
Gotta Break the Rules.
Chait is an LSA first-year student.

This is just the kind of lawless attitude
that our elected leaders are starting to crack
down on. Recently, the House of Repre-
sentatives, responding to growing public
outrage over drug-related crime, passed
legislation which would (this is the truth):
1)Drastically increase the number of
crimes which can result in the death
penalty, to the point where people soon
will be executed for jaywalking.
2)Weaken President Bush's ban on
foreign-made assault rifles by permitting
American gun makers to produce parts for
semiautomatic assault rifles.

Eat Burgers .
Safe, by passing laws to execute criminals
who have already committed the crimes:
Before the '92 elections, I would guess;
they will pass laws to dig up the criminals
who they executed last year and execute
them again.
While Congress was busy passing this
legislation, to Take Back Our Streets,
however, they were unable to agree on
plan to reduce the budget deficit.
As a result, nonessential elements of
the federal government were shut down for
a couple of days. You probably didn't even
notice. I sure didn't. What I want to know

This... sent a strong message to criminals: You can
buy assault rifles, but if you actually use them, you
will be executed. This way the pro-Death Penalty
people are happy, the drug dealers are happy, and the
NRA is happy. A

This legislation sent a strong message
to criminals: You can buy assault rifles,
but if you actually use them, you will be
executed. This way the pro-Death Penalty
people are happy, the drug dealers are
happy, and the NRA is happy. And the
Representatives have proven their
commitment to Keeping Our Children

is, if most of the federal government is
"nonessential," and nobody, with the ex-
ception of those wimpy-looking forest
rangers in national parks, even notices
when it's shut down, why do we need it?
And why aren't President Bush and the
Congress considered "nonessential?"

Letters
Reunification a step inl Bell's decision not
the right direction punishable by death

i . .

To the Daily:
I realize you have difficulty accepting
criticism of your own opinions, but this
time I must respond. Your editorial
"Reunification:Swift Process ignores
wishes of East Germans" (10/3/90) shows
an ignorance of the state of affairs in both
Germanies.
You claim that East Germany will be
giving up social services including free
health care and education, but you failed to
mention that West Germany has socialized
health medicine and education and also
provides its citizens with these services for
free. You also seem to have forgotten that
East Germany is a relatively new country,
many of it's citizens were born and raised
in a'united' Germany.
In March of this year I had the oppor-
tunity to visit my great aunt and uncle in
East Germany. As you pointed out, their
rent was very cheap. But they were told
which of the crumbling, ugly apartment
units they could and could not live in.
They also had guaranteed employment.
But for East Germans this does not mean
guaranteed work; a work day often meant
passing time and trying to look busy
rather than doing any meaningful work.
As you stated, they also had free health
care, but good health care was usually re-
served for those with connections in the
communist party. They also had access to
many other free services, but they were
not allowed to own a telephone, and
waited 14 years to own a car.
Once they had the ca: they had to carry
identification papers when they drove
anywhere because they were frequently
stopped by Russian of East German sol-
diers. Driving to the store meant travelling
on awful roads and waiting in long lines
to buy anything.
East Germany's infra-structure is

far better than their contemporaries in
Poland, Hungary, Rumania, and other re-
cently liberated countries.
Reunification is not just about finan-
cial aid for the East. It is about giving
people the opportunity to make their own
choices in life, to enjoy some of the goods
and services we take for granted. It is also
about reuniting families who have been
separated for decades, and allowing
millions to once again live in the land
they grew up in and loved.
Patricia Bach
Arts review promotes
'blaming the victim'
To the Daily:

I am writing to express my outrage at
Forrest Green III. In the middle of a record
review ("N.W.A.: 100 Miles and Runnin"'
(10/2/90), he states: "Still in 1990, broth-
ers are being scowled at by pure, immacu-
late, white girls secretly hoping to get
raped..."
Statements like these are a clear at-
tempt to "blame the victim" of an assault,
and can only contribute to the insanely
high rate of sexual assaults in this coun-
try. I have some news for men like Green:
no woman wants to be raped, no matter
what the color of her skin.
Furthermore, women of color are far
more likely to be raped than white
women. Since women are generally more
likely to be assaulted by someone of their
own race, this means that women of color
are more likely to be attacked by men of
color.
Men like Green might want to devote
some thought to the treatment of women
of color within the community, and start
asking questions, such as why assaults on
women of color are rarely reported by the
media.
The problem of sexual assault is one

i V

To the Daily:
I am fascinated with Emily Metzgar's
letter (9/27/90) regarding Rebecca Bell's
illegal abortion and subsequent death.
If I understand her contentions cor-
rectly, Rebecca Bell was guilty of having
illicit intercourse (unmarried and under 18
in Indiana, if I remember correctly), thus
breaking the law against fornication.
Compounding her felony without her par-
ents' permission, which resulted in her
death. Thus, she was guilty of two crimes,
and punished for those crimes by death.
In truth, this interpretation of the case
is accurate. However, what Ms. Metzga*
seems not to understand -is that Rebecca
Bell's parents and those of us who oppose
parental consent believe that Ms. Bell
should not have broken the law because
there should have been no such law!
Had Ms. Bell been able to receive a
safe, medical abortion without telling her
parents, even her parents believe she
would have. I doubt that even the Indiana
State Legislature intended for youn
women to be punished by death fo
breaking this law. This is the message we
want our State Legislators to hear.
In that best of all possible worlds,
Rebecca Bell would not have engaged in
unprotected, underage sexual intercourse.
Had she become pregnant, in that world,
she would have had the personal confi-
dence and assurance that she could admitto.
a mistake without fear of disappointing
her parents or being punished for hel
behavior.
In the real world, however, Ms. Bet
behaved immaturely. The consequences of
such immaturity, however, should not be
fatal.
Sabra C. Briery
=* _1 .4

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