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November 11, 1991 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-11

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Monday, November 11, 1991
Wbe £ido ian 1BaiIg

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

ANDREW K. GOTTESMAN
Editor in Chief
STEPHEN HENDERSON
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.
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Magic Johnson

AIDS should have been priority
* n Tuesday Nov. 7,1991, the world received a
startling and tragic wake up call that would
forever change professional basketball and, more
importantly, the perception of AIDS as being a low
niational priority. Earvin "Magic" Johnson, a man
Oho helped put the National Basketball Associa-
ttDn on the map of mainstream professional sports,
Was forced to retire from the Los Angeles Lakers
after testing positive for the HIV virus.
: Just as Magic forged the resurgence of the
NBA, he has now pledged to help raise awareness
for the AIDS virus. As a spokesperson for this
deadly virus that kills thousands of people each
year, Magic will do for the disease what other
celebrities such as Rock Hudson and Keith Haring
never could.
K In the four days since Magic's announcement
that he is HIV positive, world concern over AIDS
his increased. In the United States alone, a country
where AIDS has been problematic and all but
ignored since former President Ronald Reagan's
first term, Magic has given overnight credibility to
the importance of preventing and treating AIDS.
This is a sad commentary on the American general
public. Although it is important that something has
'fially been able to spark acceptance and concern
for AIDS, it shouldn't have taken this long, and
shouldn't have needed a Magic Johnson to do so.
AIDS has remained distant from the minds of
Prodigy
IProdigy was right not to censor
ontroversy over what views are fit to print,
and where it is appropriate to print them is
anot exclusive to Michigan. This month, the Prodigy
Services Company was forced to struggle with the
issue of whether to allow anti-Semitic material on
its electronic bulletin boards. Eventually, it de-
cided to print the offensive ads. Despite some
-Contradictions and controversy, Prodigy came down
on the right side of the issue.
Prodigy runs an assortment of services, ranging
from home shopping to stock reports. The elec-
tronic bulletin boards offered by Prodigy are simi-
lar to the Michigan Terminal System (MTS) used
-at the University. They are intended to serve as a
forum for debate within the community.
But when Prodigy made the decision to run four
anti-Semitic ads, the Anti-Defamation League of
B'nai B'rith complained.
Prodigy objected to a fifth note, similar to an ad
printed in the Michigan Daily, claiming that the
Holocaust never existed.

before Magic's tragedy
the American public and has been seen as a disease
reserved for homosexuals and junkies, rather than
the dangerous threat to all of society that it truly is.
Funding for researchof treatments underthe Reagan
and Bush administrations has been virtually non-
existent. Groups continually lobbied against the
policies of the government, but their cries, like
those ofthe people suffering and dying from AIDS,
were ignored. But as soon as Magic became one of
the afflicted, President Bush lamented over his
Administration's lack of involvement in the battle
againstAIDS and acknowledged theimportanceof
future government intervention. At the same time,
an adolescent on a basketball court of a Los Angeles
playground gave his support for Magic and ex-
pressed a newly acquired sense of awareness as to
the widespread places where AIDS can reach. Both
these realizations are necessary, but they should
have emerged on the national scene long ago.
The retirement of Magic Johnson from bas-
ketball is a tremendous loss. However, basketball
will go on. If anything positive is to come of this
tragedy, it is that the world has gained a powerful
voice in the battle against AIDS. Although all
sports fans will yearn for the sight of Magic ripping
down a rebound, eluding the defenders, and dish-
ing out a magnificent assist, the lives he will save
far out wayoutweigh any achievements he has
made in the gold and purple uniform.
anti-Semitic ads
Prodigy almost got it right. Its decision to print
the controversial ads was consistent with its mis-
sion -to provide a public forum for its subscrib-
ers. An electronic bulletin board, like a newspaper,
must be a forum for ideas. Even if those ideas are
hurtful, repugnant, and false, it is not improper to
give such ideas public exposure. Rather, it is better
to allow such statements into the "marketplace of
ideas" where they can be shot down - as they
should be.
Prodigy's only mistake was in keeping the fifth
message off the bulletin board. The author, as a
member of the community and subscriber to the
service, has a right to be heard.
B'nai B'rith should know better than to support
the screening of ideas in a public forum. Efforts to
cap hateful ideas will only backfire in the long run.
All parties involved must realize that "free speech"
is not a narrow phrase only applicable to the law. It
must be upheld as an ideal, and should be protected
whenever possible.

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Daily, alumni club err

To the Daily:
Several pieces in the Daily
recently addressed the ulti-
mately-unsuccessful efforts of
several Michigan alumni in the
Washington, D.C., area to
convince the University of
Michigan Club of Washington,
D.C. to cancel a scheduled
Club reception at the Embassy
of the People's Republic of
China (which was held on
Friday, Oct. 25).
I believe that both the news
item on the event (Thursday,
Oct. 24) and the editorial
supporting the event (Friday,
Oct. 25) failed to communicate
to readers exactly why we, and
others, were and are so vehe-
mently opposed to a University
of Michigan organization
socializing with the govern-
ment of the PRC.
In a nutshell, the govern- .
ment of the PRC simply
possesses one of the worst
human rights records of any
government in the world. From
its continued illegal occupation
of Tibet, which has resulted in
the deaths of more than 1.2
million Tibetans since the PRC
invaded that independent nation
in 1959, to its ongoing impris-
onment, torture and execution
of political prisoners, the
government of the PRC has
time and again exhibited a
callous and egregious disregard
for the fundamental human
rights we in the United States,
and much of the rest of the
world, take for granted.
Considering the University
of Michigan's station as an

In a nutshell, the
government of the
PRC simply pos-
sesses one of the
worst human rights
records of any gov-
ernment in the
world.
institution of higher learning,
however, one facet of the
PRC's disregard for human
rights in particular should turn
the collective stomach of the.
Michigan community: the
PRC's ceaseless persecution of
Chinese university students and
faculty.
Thus, I am amazed that
neither of the Daily's articles
mentioned the words
"Tiananmen Square," which
should conjure images of the
most ruthless, brutal attack on
higher education and individual
thought in recent history.
The Tiananmen Square
massacre of June 1989 and its
still-unfolding aftermath were
central points of both our first
letter to the president of the
D.C. Alumni Club and my own
follow-up letter to him.
The Daily, being in posses-
sion of both letters, quoted
freely from that correspon-
dence; yet apparently, this
student newspaper did not feel
its fellow students in the PRC
worthy of mention.
The same leaders who
orchestrated the crackdown on
freedom and democracy in
Tiananmen are still running the

PRC, and despite great
international pressure, continue
to suppress higher education in
China today. Thus, my
questions remains: Why is a
university, particularly one
with a tradition like the
University of Michigan,
socializing with leaders of such
a government anywhere, much
less in their own embassy?
Does the Daily honestly
think that a group of alumni,
over cocktails with PRC
officials, can affect the policies
of a government that for
decades has ignored the
pressures exerted by countless
human rights organizations and
governments? And why should
this be proper procedure where
the PRC is concerned, when
the University had been at the
forefront of successful move-
ments to ostracize other
governments with policies
antithetical to its mission, such
as South Africa?
If the University of Michi-
gan Club of D.C. and the Daily
truly believe that drinks with
officials of countries with such
policies is the proper way to
effect change, I suggest that
they get together and jointly
host additional social events,
perhaps happy hours with the
embassies of South Africa and
Iraq, forestarters. Regardless of
their rationalizations, my
attitude will remain the same:
Count me out.
Thomas Ehr
University graduate

*.

Abortion and 1992

Supreme Court should rule on
s the nation inches closer to the 1992 presiden-
tial election, the crucial campaign issues are
slowly materializing. Given the Reagan-Bush
legacy of an extremely conservative Federal Judi-
ciary and the recent testimony-ornon-testimony
- of new Supreme Court Justice Clarence Tho-
mas, the abortion controversy remains a decisive
issue in elections at all levels of government.
Currently, the abortion laws of Pennsylvania
are some of the most restrictive in the United
States. Up until October, a woman seeking an
abortion in Pennsylvania was required to notify
her husband and wait 24 hours after notifying her
doctor of her decision. In addition, a doctor was
required inform a woman about the development
of her fetus and present her with the alternatives to
abortion.
In October, a Federal appeals court upheld most
of the law's provisions, striking only the provision
stating that a woman must inform her husband of
her decision. This law, regardless of the minor
change made in October, directly conflicts with
Roe v. Wade, and must be appealed to the Federal
Supreme Court.
Abortion rights groups are attempting to hurry,
the appeals process to include the case in the
Supreme Court's summer docket, in the hopes that
an overturning of Roe v. Wade would hurt President
Bush in the 1992 election. Both the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood
favor a speedy court decision. Such a move may at

Roe v. Wade before election
first seem opportunistic and dangerous to the right
to choose, but the groups involved here understand
perfectly that the addition of Justice Thomas has
solidified the Court's anti-abortion bloc. The 1989
decision in Webster v. Reproductive Health Ser-
vices stopped shortof overturning Roe v. Wade. With
Justices Thomas and David Souter now on the
Court, a clearmajority exists to completely abolish
a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion.
Many political and legal analysts are already
predicting that Roe v. Wade will be overturned by
the Supreme Court. If this becomes a reality, the
right of privacy will be at the mercy of majority
rule.
Since the issue will inevitably become one of
politics, the recent move by abortion rights groups
to force the issue of abortion into the forefront of
the1992 elections is quite justified. Regardless of
what position they are seeking, politicians will
have to take a stand on the issue.
These efforts by abortion rights groups will aid
in the political battle over abortionrights, regardless
of the conservative reaction. If the Supreme Court
puts the case on their summer docket, activists will
be able to mobilize forces in time for the 1992
election.
If forces on the right resist the test, it should be
clear to the American electorate that anti-abortion
forces are not only against a woman's right to
choose, but also the values of the democratic
process.

Column was
short-sighted
To the Daily:
The biased ignorance of
Stephen Henderson's column
equating the opinions of David
Duke with those of the rest of the
Republican party only exemplifies
the type of partisan trash which I
have come to expect from the
Daily ("Duke, Republicans go
hand in hand," Oct. 25, 1991).
I suppose that Jimmy Carter
embodied the brainless, "peanut-
farming" nature of all of his
fellow Democrats, or that Ted
Kennedy's little incident at
Chappaquiddick was a testament
to the liberal ideal for the treat-
ment of women.
When a racist like Duke trades
a Klansmans' hood for a political
label, does that mean he automati-
cally drags everyone bearing his
new label down into the gutter
with him?
Come on, Steve. Learn to see
beyond your own political biases
by using a little common sense.
Tony Ghecea
LSA sophomore
PC perceptions
To the Daily:
Julian Go has written a
thoughtful article on how the right
wing in the U.S. establishment
has attempted to stifle debate on
issues of diversity and equality
("PC: What are the real debates?"
Oct. 29, 1991). I can agree with
his article,,.as far as it goes.

publicly express racial stereo-
types. This is not a threat to
democracy (at least not directly).
It is a threat to our civil liberties
and particularly our First Amend-
ment freedoms. What, then, can
we do t solve the problem?
Most progressives agree the
answer is education, a slow but
safe, fair and sure process. Even
here, however, there is room for
debate about tactics. How do we
carry out education, especially
among people who don't care to
be educated? My argument
against those who say they are
"PC and proud" is that their
tactics are perceived by most
Americans as nagging and
moralizing, therefore off-putting
and counterproductive.
Some of them have even fallen
into the habit of avoiding substan-
tive arguments by labeling their
opponents with derogatory names
of their own. Julian Go has good
advice. Let's all strive to keep
debate free, open and focused on
the issues.
Jackie Coolidge
Rackam graduate student
Ed. note:hThis letter was run last
week with an error that changed
its meaning. The mistake was the
fault of the Daily's Opinion
Editor and not the author.
Begin the debate
To the Daily:
Since CODOH's ad on the
Holocaust controversy appeared
in the Daily the maiority of letters

large number of ads in the Daily
offend some people, and some ads
probably offend many. Should all
such ads be censored?
The people who wrote those
letters somehow feel that they
have the right to determine which
viewpoints a mature and intelli-
gent public may or may not be
exposed to at the University of
Michigan. Who elected such
people to police the exchange of
ideas on the Michigan campus?
What about the rights of that large
number of individuals to whom
the Daily gave the opportunity to
read the ad and who were
interested in its information and
viewpoint?
These people want to hear
some substantive exchanges on
the Holocaust controversy itself.
They are waiting for the real
debate to begin.
Bradley Smith
The Daily encourages
reader responses. Letters
should be 150 words or
less and include the
author's name, year in
school and phone number.
sce can be mailed to:
420 Maynard, Ann Arbor
48109. Or they can be sent
via MTS to.. The Michigan
Daily Letters to the Editor.
The Daily does not alter
the content of letters, but.
reserves the right to edit
for style and space consid-
erations.
Due to the recent increase

9
0

Nuts and Bolts

I I

(z:mU5!

by Judd Winick.
Do1N' A LIMRtE 1EADPN0?
SIONE .

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