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November 14, 1991 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-14

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Thursday, November 14, 1991

F--

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

k--

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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S en. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) arrived on campus
Tuesday night, and was greeted by an enthusi-
astic crowd of several hundred in the Modem
Languages Building. The crowd's euphoria was
encouraged by national polls that have already
begun tolling the newly discovered weakness of
President Bush.
The senator is the first declared candidate for
the Democratic nomination to visit the University.
For the first time since Bush's election, the presi-
dent seems vulnerable. Sen. Harkin capitalized on
these vulncrabilitics, declaring, "I can beat George
IHerbert Walker Bush."
The senator's words are not unlike those of
O6ther Democratic candidates. He spoke on the
issues of health care, education, the nation's crum-
bling infrastructure, Ronald Reagan's so called
"trickle down theory," and the inadequacies of
,George Bush. Whether Harkin gets the Demo-
:cratic nomination or not, he may serve a greater
purpose.
Harkin has shown that the liberal factions,
which floundered during the eighties, have recov-
ered a bubbling and exciting enthusiasm, which,
when focused, could give George Bush a run for
his oil money in 1992.
If the senator has nothing else, he has energy.
The ills of the Democratic party stem from its
inability to convince the nation of the viability of
a liberal domestic agenda. Conservative Demo-

crats and organizations like the Democratic Lead-
ership Committee (DLC) have tried to increase the
Democrats' appeal by Republicanizing the party.
Harkin responded to this attitude by quoting Harry
Truman, "If you run a Republican against a Repub-
lican, you can bet your bottom dollar, a Republican
will win every time."
That sentiment couldn't be more correct. When
the DLC first convened one year ago, the danger of
two "Republican" parties opposing each other in
1992 seemed very real. Sen. Harkin, in addition to
former California governor and presidential can-
didate Jerry Brown, have clearly expressed their
liberal politics here on campus.
This new avoidance of conservative economic
politics in the Democratic Party is welcome. The
Reagan years are increasingly viewed as what they
really were: a decade that favored the rich, at the
expense of the poor. Sen. Harkin is capitalizing on
these realizations. Other Democrats should be sure
to do the same.
The importance of who wins the nomination at
this point is less significant than how each
Democratic candidate campaigns. Harkin didn't
run from the liberal label. He welcomed it. And so
should the other candidates as they campaign around
the country. Unless the Democrats maintain their
self-confidence and a commitment to liberal ide-
als, George Bush may be in the White House until
1996.

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Crime bill

Proposed bill denies juveniles
Scen. Gil Di Nello (D-East Pointe) introduced a
bill to the Michigan Senate lowering the age at
which alleged criminals can be tried as adults to the
age of 13. Currently, defendants cannot be tried as
,adults until the age of 15, which is far too young
already.
Di Nello's colleague, Sen. Jack Wilborn (R-
Kalamazoo), also wants to raise the age at which a
juvenile criminal's slate is wiped clean to 25 years..
Convicted juvenile criminals, today, have the
chance to start over at age 21.
i The dangers of this bill are clear. State officials
must decide whether our juvenile penal system
will be used to reform delinquent youth, or to
harden their criminal instincts. The failure of the
prison system for adults is well-known. Often it
seems prisons only teach criminals how to execute
stheircrimes more efficiently. Networks ofcriminal
associations extend outside the prisons. Drugs,
alcoholism, and venereal diseases plague prison
communities.
Now, state senators want to put 13-year-olds

chance to reform
into that environment. Criminals so young should
have the opportunity to reform. In prison, the
opportunity isn't there. Opponents to the bill say
that young teenagers haven't the capacity to form
the intent to commit heinous crimes. Adolescents
sometimes don't understand their actions. For this
reason, juveniles should have the opportunity to
change their ways..
This bill is a reaction to the rising crime rates
around the country. Rather than appearing tougher,
infringing on basic human rights, and denying
individuals theirdignity, state governments should
concentrate on the root of crime. Do children need
counseling? Do they need food or shelter or role
models? These are the questions lawmakers should
ask if they want to stop crime.
Di Nello's bill lacks compassion and is dan-
gerous. Damning a generation of young criminals
to a lifetime of criminal behavior will certainly not
solve the crime problem. There should be no de-
bate concerning this bill. It should be killed im-
mediately.

Sharpton divides
To the Daily:
After attending the UAC
soapbox featuring Rev. Al
Sharpton (10/29/91), I left feeling
very distraught. In fact, it seemed
that everyone who attended this
"forum for open exchange of
ideas left either very angry or at
least vaguely uneasy. I attribute
this to the divisiveness of Rev.
Sharpton's approach.
Instead of calling on people to
work together to promote, if
anything, a greater degree of
understanding, Sharpton spoke of
recent and past historical events in
which Black people (I would say
people of color, but he spoke only
of Blacks) have been oppressed.
This in itself is not wrong; if
society does not remind itself of
the four centuries of discrimina-
tion that Blacks have experienced,
it may become trivialized.
However, the manner of
Sharpton's approach is to put
other groups on the defensive
(whether they be whites, Jews or
others), so that they make
unreasonable or racist comments
which only further anger Blacks.
He blatantly evaded questions that
questioned his credibility. Instead,
he engaged in mudslinging and
antagonizing tactics. His com-
ments polarized and already
charged atmosphere.
The greatest tragedy of all this
is that it may serve to broaden the
already formidable gap between
Blacks and whites on campus. I
would have gone home feeling
angry and frustrated had I not run
into a Black student who appeared
to share my profound concern
over the issue. It was this
student's open attitude and his
need to vent his own frustration
with the proceedings that re-
minded me that Blacks and whites
share many of the same goals; it is
just that there are a lot of emo-
tional obstacles it overcome along
the way.
Hopefully, Rev. Sharpton's
appearance will foster open
discussion and debate, because
the gap between whites and
Blacks on campus has reached
unacceptable proportions.
However, it is unfortunate that

someone with a healthier ap-
proach was not the one to bring
these issues to the forefront.
William Friedman
Engineering sophomore
Familly housing
To the Daily:
What is a family? Who is
married? The legal definition is
now open to argument. (For some,
it may not constitute a definite
statement of permanent commit-
ment). Does a sexual bond
constitute a family? What about
people who choose to live
together as friends and roommates
who feel close and deeply
bonded? Friends can be family.
Married student housing is
quite a lovely environment. It was
created for students considered to
have special needs because they
belong to families. But does a
committed sexual relationship
necessarily create such a need?
Does this discriminate against
other "family groups" and
individuals who may also want
nice, affordable housing? Hon-.
estly committed couples do have
special challenges. But there is no
way, possibly not even a marriage
certificate, to measure or prove a
couple's level of commitment.
However, there is one type of
family group at the University
with needs tthat are very concrete:
individuals and couples with
children. Students who are paying
the ungodly University expenses,
and are single or married parents,
or unmarried heterosexual and
homosexual couples with depen-
dents, need low cost housing in an
environment suitable for kids.
If there is to be any "family"
or married housing at all, maybe
that should be the basis. Anything
else might discriminate against
one family or another.
Irena Nagler
UM staff
Handguns help
To the Daily:
In response to your editorial
on Thursday, Oct. 24, "The
Second Amendment," the media
continues to ignore the fact that

the death toll in Killeen, Texas
could have been reduced if just
one person had had a firearm with
them that day. The cry goes up to
ban handguns, or to write more
pieces of useless legislation such
as the Brady Bill, which does not
mandate a check of a buyer's
criminal record. The NRA is
blamed for the lack of proper laws
even though it often supports
tougher, more practical legislation
such as the Staggers Bill, which
mandates instant checks of a
buyer's record.
Handguns can be used by
handicapped hunters who cannot
carry a heavier gun. They are also
used by people such as a friend of
my grandfather's, in his 80's, who
committed justifiable homicide
while protecting his life. He,
along with an estimated 100,00
people protect their lives, loved
ones, and property with firearms
each year. The Daily suggests that
NRA members join the National
Guard. The National Guard can
do nothing to protect against
personal attack. Deadly force is
not the first step in personal
protection, but at times it may be
the only recourse. Victims can not
be denied access to such protec-
tion.
Jeffrey H. Ansley
SNR senior
In yesterday's paper, a
letter was run from Anita
Norich. It was not submit-
ted to the Daily for publi-
cation, but as a personal
memo. It appeared in the
paper due to an error on
the editor's part.
- Stephen Henderson
Daily Opinion Editor

9

Gag rule

-Information on abortion should
r he ongoing saga of the gag rule, the Bush
Administration's regulation prohibiting the
discussion of abortion by doctors with patients in
federally funded medical clinics, took an interest-
ing turn last week with two important develop-
ments. Both the House and Senate passed an ap-
propriations bill overturning the gag rule, but not
before the Administration tried to derail the leg-
islation by softening the language of the regula-
tion.
Under the original guidelines, if a clinic even
mentioned abortion as an option, its federal fund-
ing would be cut off. Last Tuesday, the White
House came out with a statement, claiming that the
gag rule does not stop doctors from informing
pregnant women of all of their options, including
abortion. Although this change is an important, the
rule still prohibits clinics from referring women to
facilities that do perform abortions.
The original stance of the Administration was
much tougher than last week's letter would lead the
public to believe. Anyone who has followed the
gag rule controversy over this infringement on free
speech and choice can attest that the change in the
Bush Administration is solely a cosmetic one. It is
now quite clear that Bush has realized how un-
popular the original provisions arc, as the congres-
sional votes illustrate.
The Senate passed the bill overturning the gag
rule by a veto-proof majority, and although the

not be censored
House count was 14 votes shy of the necessary
two-thirds, it appears that once other financial
issues in the bill are settled, they will also be able
to override Bush's veto.
Although Congressional action on the gag rule
is heartening, the nation should be outraged by the.
President's recent move. It seems that Bush is quite
willingto toy with the rights ofwomen -especially
poor women, who depend heavily on the services
of federally funded clinics - if it will gain him
political advantage.
Last week's letter was a desperate attempt to
appease both sides of an irreconcilable issue. The
President should realize that there is no way of
compromising on this issue of choice.
By overturning the rule and overriding the
President's inevitable veto, the Congress will at
once highlight Bush's anti-choice stance and expose
his effort to mislead the American public. The
President should realize that it will take more than
a minor revision to correct the injustices of the gag
rule.
The Administration's unforgivable politicking
illustrates that the President and his advisers realize
how unpopular an anti-choice position is in the
current political climate.' This should serve as a
wake-up call for abortion rights groups and citizens
to push the abortion issue further up the agenda of
the 1992 elections and take Bush to task for his
two-faced politics.

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Blacks
by Jill Allen

underrepresented

Having read, with some
disdain, about the "demotion" of
Henry Johnson from vice presi-
dent for community relations to
senior consultant for the Univer-
sity Alumni Association, this U-
M layperson can't help but
wonder if it isn't time for all
African Americans at the Univer-
sity to be concerned about the
ominous trend presented here.
Anyone with an elementary
understanding of the variables
involved and their historical
context within a university
structure will find reason for
alarm.
One significant variable is the
cutback of state funds which
results in belt tightening by the
central administration - the
second variable. The operative
wnr rA r nnr.nn;,Ym .. T'L.

cally, it is a lateral move out of
any meaningful administrative
responsibilities. We were not too
naive to recognize that, for what it
was worth, when it happened. It
was only a matter of time before
this current demotion happened.
Note the summary dismissal of
Dr. Roselle Wilson, Assistant to
the Vice President for Student
Services. What was that all about?
There are other variables to
consider as well.
The administration of John
Engler, such a dastardly Republi-
can type fellow, and his cut of
King/Chavez/Parks funds to the
Office of Minority Affairs
suddenly cuts deep into a once
very sound budget. Consider that
Dr. Charles D. Moody's five year,
contract as Vice Provost for
Minority Affairs is up for review
in 1992. Now there is a Commit-

tion of minority student services?
Be certain of one thing: this is
not a minority issue. It is an
African-American issue. The
history of this country has proven
that economic hard times and
racism are inextricably connected.
As the University faces economic
hardship and belt tightening, the
African-American community
must be aware that it will once
again be subject to bearing the
burden of the losses. It is time for
all African-American students,
faculty, professional adninistra-
tors, and staff to raise these
questions to the forefront and to
assertively address this issue.
It is necessary for all other
members of the university
community who are concerned
with fairness, equity, and multi-
cultural diversity to address this
issue. The Michigan Mandate

.

Nuts and Bolts
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NO-0NOT I4ER,YU.T MEAN,'
SYOUR LWC. .HE1ONLY' GIRL
WHO YO()U KE, WHO L4KS
You. WH-O SPEND)S TIME
w.Jt HYOU, WHO 5N AE.S

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by Judd Winick
I GOTTA -
TEU-SOMEBO>Y!

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