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January 15, 1992 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-01-15

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Page 4 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 15, 1992
Elbr Ā£idiTgau 1OaiIy
420 Maynard StreetA
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 ANDREW K. GOTTESMAN
Editor in Chief
Edited and Managed STEPHEN HENDERSON
by Students at the F TPE EDRO
University of Michigan 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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Fake IDs
Drinking age unnecessary, but
C ollege students drink alcohol. They have
done so for years, and they will continue to
do so, regardless of any state or federally mandated
drinking age.
The 21-year-old drinking age has been in effect
for some time now. And while it was an under-
standable attempt to decrease the number of alco-
hol-related deaths, the fact is that the only effect of
a high drinking age has been to make otherwise
law-abiding students into criminals.
Last week, in an attempt to curb the rash of
underage drinking, the Ann Arbor City Council
passed an ordinance imposing stricter penalties for
minors caught using false identification. Among
these penalties are fines ranging up to $100 and
community service sentences.
In recent years, Ann Arbor has become less and
less friendly to people under the age of 21 who
wish to drink. Through public pressure - and on
their own-bars, clubs, and even the Interfraternity
Council have made efforts to stem under-age drink-
ing. Now the City of Ann Arbor is jumping on this
bandwagon. But the city's actions actions are ap-
propriate, simply because the government has the
responsibility to enforce laws created through a
democratic process.

bars need protection
When a law such as the drinking age is passed,
it is in the best interest of all involved to make sure
that itis properly enforced. Bars and other drinking
establishments need a way to protect their busi-
nesses from legal action. Laws such as the fake ID
ordinance help protect these establishments from
However, while it is proper to enforce the
drinking age while it is in effect, the fact remains
that it should not be in effect at all.
The reason that each of the 50 states has a 21-
year-old drinking age is simple. The federal gov-
ernment threatens the states with cutting off high-
way funds if they don't. This sort of pressure is
The states should have the prerogative to decide
for themselves where to set the drinking age. When
that prerogative is given, Michigan should choose
to set it at 18.
But in the meantime, for the sake of those
legally liable, legislation like the fake ID ordi-
nance should be passed and enforced. And as
enforcement gets more and more difficult, and
when every person under 21 is a criminal, then
perhaps the government will realize how ridicu-
lous that drinking age is.

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MSA appointments political favors

V.R Quayle in '92?
President's illness redirects attention to vice presidency

L ast week, when President Bush suddenly be-
came ill during his economic trade mission to
the Far East, the American public was forced to
reconsider, with renewed seriousness, its opinion
of the president's running-mate. Bush demonstrated
some hard-ball American negotiating techniques
,bythrowing up under the table at a state dinner with
Japanese dignitaries. According to the White House,
the president was apparently only suffering from a
flu bug when he collapsed in Tokyo. Meanwhile,
Americans across the country were confronted
with the unsettling image of Vice President Dan
Quayle in the Oval Office. These events revived an
important campaign issue - the health of the
president and the qualifications of the vice presi-
dential candidate.
Vice President Quayle has been the subject of
national ridicule ever since his weak performance
during the 1988 elections. He earned a reputation
for being a pretty boy, a poor student, a draft
dodger, and a political buffoon. Among his follies
was a speech suggesting the United States commit
itself to making sure the planet is not hit by a giant
flying asteroid. But a recent series of articles in The
Washington Post, by David Broder and Bob
Woodward, tells a different story. The reporters

depict Vice President Quayle as a shrewd back-
room politician who manipulated the president and
the GOP into making him Bush's running mate.
Moreover, Quayle's performance as President of
the Senate has been one of some influence. His
voting record is quite reactionary.
So far, George Bush and the Republican Party
have expressed no intentions of changing the Bush/
Quayle ticket for the 1992 election. No doubt Bush
knows the old adage, "don't change a winning
game." But whether Quayle is really an ignorant
show-piece or a conniving politician, he should not
be in the vice-presidential mansion in 1992. It
would be a dangerous gamble to re-elect President
Bush if Dan Quayle is the person on deck.
Bush's illness last week should serve as a re-
minder that a State of the Union Address from a
President Quayle is becoming an increasingly real
possibility. It should also remind the public that the
vice-presidential candidate is an important factor
to consider during elections. It should not be for-
gotten that the person a president chooses as their
running mate is a reflection of their own judge-
ment. Like a candidate's platform, their politics,
and their record, their running mate too must be
examined before the voting ballots are punched.

by Amy Polk
MSA committee and com-
mission chair elections are never a
fun experience. Elections always
take place the night before the last
day of classes, when papers and
exams are fast approaching. These
particular MSA meetings run at
least three hours, during a period
when everyone has other pressing
uses for their time. But the most
recent round of MSA committee
chair elections last month
surprised me with an all-time high
level of anxiety.
Without exception, the
Conservative Coalition (CC),
which holds the majority of the
representative seats as on MSA,
saw its candidates of choice get
elected to every committee chair,
every commission chair, every
committee vice chair. MSA
representatives from opposition
parties, independent reps from
small schools, and interested
students with no previous
affiliation to MSA were all
rejected by the CC-dominated
Law School representative
Michael Warren was reappointed
as chair of the Student Rights
Commission, even though he has
drawn much criticism for his
ineptitude in handling a number
of explosive incidents during fall
LSA sophomore Sejal Mistry,
who has almost no previous
experience with budgets or
finance, was chosen over second-
year MBA student Tony Vernon
to chair the Budget Priorities
Polk is a Rackham MSA represen-

MSA committee and commission chairs were
not selected during the MSA meeting the
night before the last day of classes; they
were selected at a Conservative Coalition
party meeting the Sunday before.

Engineering junior John
Vandenberg was appointed chair
of the Peace and Justice Commis-
sion, even though he openly
stated that he would schedule
meetings so that people with
whom he disagreed could not
attend. (John Vandenberg's
practice is in direct violation of
the MSA Code and Constitution,
which state that MSA commis-

the entire student body by voting
for the most qualified candidate.
Or he could sell out student
interests by voting for his party
favorite. Green chose the latter, to
the detriment of the student body.
MSA committee and commis-
sion chairs were not selected
during the MSA meeting the night
before the last day of classes; they
were selected at a Conservative

sions must operate in an open and
democratic manner.)
But the climax of the evening
came during the selection of the
vice chair for the Budget Priori-
ties Committee. First-year MBA
student Michael Odurro and
Engineering sophomore Brent
House were vying for the seat.
Odurro's experience can be
matched by few students on
campus. ie chaired thestudent
government Budget Priorities
Committee during his under-
graduate years at University of
Massachusetts at Amherst. After
graduation, Odurro managed the
budget for a state agency in
Massachusetts. He is now an
MBA student majoring in finance.
CC candidate Brent House had no
such qualifications.
Votes between Odurro and
House were evenly split, and
Conservative Coalition MSA
President James Green had to
break the tie. At that moment,
Green could have chosen to serve

Coalition party meeting the
Sunday before.
MSA committees and com-
missions should not be political
rewards to be handed out like
poker chips during closed-door
The committees and commis-
sions should be an opportunity for
students to work on projects
which address issues which are
important to them.
By working on these projects,
students can gain hands-on
organizing experience not
available in the classroom.
Leadership positions in MSA
committees and commissions are
too important to leave to a CC-
dominated assembly. The
Conservative Coalition was able
to elect a full slate because it had
a majority of seats on MSA.
I hope students remember this
set of interactions, and CC's
robot-like voting behavior during
the next round of MSA elections
in March.


Future offormer Soviet states could bring dictatorship
ast week, citizens of the republic of Georgia protestors with rockets, anti-tank weapons, and
L gathered to begin clearing Rustaveli Prospekt high powered rifles then anti-government rebels
- a street in the capital city of Tbilisi - of broken fired on a government demonstration.
glass and debris, after a bitter two-week national Last week, following a weeks-long siege in the
crisis that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Parliament building with close supporters,
Georgians. The trend in the former Soviet states, Gamsakhurdia was forced to leave office. Dzhaba
like Georgia, of former communists becoming Ioseliana has been installed as the new military
powerful dictators threatens the future of growing leader, and now leads the republic on an interim.
democracies. He has promised to hold new elections next year.
The conflict in Georgia resulted in the ouster of In the Ukraine, tensions between the Ukranian
President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who had been Army and the Soviet army have arisen. In
democratically elected last spring, capturing 87 Azerbijani, secessionist movements threaten to
percent of the vote. Recently, Gamsakhurdia has break the country apart.
been widely accused of seizing dictatorial powers. In Russia, President Yeltsin has extended ex-
The events that took place in Georgia should ceedingly strong authority throughthe use of presi-
serve as a warning to the other former Soviet dential decrees. Yeltsin's moves to Russianize the
republics. The best way to prevent ethnic strife and entire Soviet intelligence apparatus and his past
head off civil war in the region is to prevent any one threats to bring the former Soviet military under
person from holding excessive power. The protest- Russian control illustrate Yeltsin's despotic ten-
ers in Georgia were right to recognize this danger. dencies.
Following the August coup in the Soviet Union, Events in the republics of the former Soviet
Gamsakhurdia federalized the National Guard by Union create a tumultuous future of the Common-
merging it with the police, and placed it under his wealth of Independent States. Such new democra-
personal control. cies are inherently fragile and unstable.
Some of the national guard units refused to With the creation of new governments in the
cooperate and set up camp outside Tbilisi. Many republics, there is a possibility that those in charge
anti-government demonstrators beganlarge peace- will seize dictatorial powers. All those involved
ful protests. The government began firing on the should be aware of this possibility.

Communism against human nature

Kreg Nichols
In December, The New York
Times used a full page headline to
declare the death of the Soviet
Union. The Soviet collapse
occurred only two years after the
fall of the Berlin Wall and loss of
its Eastern Bloc satellites. These
events, combined with reforms
that have taken place in Commu-
nist Red China, have many people
wondering about communism's
feasibility. The answer to this
question is quite simple using the
former U.S.S.R as an example.
Pure communism will not work in
large involuntary societies
because of its dependence on the
innate goodness of human nature.
The theory of communism was
developed in the 1800's by the
German philosopher Karl Marx.
According to Marx, the state
would own and control all basic
industries that produced goods
and services. Each person would
work to their ability for the
betterment of both the state and
their fellow man, while the
government redistributed wealth
equally among them.
Communism would be
achieved through a series of social
stages. These stages began with
simple communism, transgressed
to slavery and feudalism, and
eventually developed into
capitalism. Marx believed
orni va, ate r ner o f

capitalism the majority of the
wealth would be amassed in the
hands of the few.
To counter this, the exploited
workers would rise up to over-
throw the government forming a
proletarian dictatorship. This
dictatorship would eventually

happiness and ambition are not
i determined by their own wealth
and position, but from their wealth
and position relative to those
around them. People work harder
to make things better for them-
When Plato created his Ideal

Communism can therefore be envisioned as a
perfect machine. However, if such a
machine's gears and other pieces are human
it will be prone to breakdown and failure.

give way to the emergence of a
socialist state. Finally, true
communism would emerge with
the complete withering of the
In theory, communism might
seem like an ideal solution to the
complexities of society. It is not
communism's theoretical side
that we should be concerned
with. Instead we should examine
the practicality of this system.
Marxist theory is based upon
the goodness of human nature.
Marx believed that each person in
society desired to work to their
potential for the common good of
man. In order for this to be
achieved, each person had to
place both the state and their
fellow man above themselves.
This might work if humans
morP machine withnnt ncnirn-

Republic it was very much like a
Marxist state. He pointed out,
though, that this state is not
attainable. The expectations of
this system are not suited to M
human nature. Communism can
therefore be envisioned as a
perfect machine. However, if such
a machine's gears and other pieces
are human it will be prone to
breakdown and failure.
This is exactly what is happen-
ing to communist states today.
The inability to achieve true
communism has been demon-
strated by its failures. This does
not mean that partial socialism
does not work. Socialism has been
very effective in many European
Instead, we must understand
the need for competition, how-
ever dight it mav he Onlv then

Nuts and Bolts
N ~~~4'Sr ?

by Judd Winick




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