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October 31, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-31

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4A -'The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 31, 1996

(bz Stign Pg

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, M1 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

'There's been a diversity of ideas and experiences, and
each one is very different. Each one comes at everything
differently. Each one has given a variety of answers.'
- Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R-Ann Arbor), in
reviewing the four candidates for University presidency

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily
ChSchroer Brater
State reps. are strong advocates for 'U'

WHO~ sefAR AlES us

TNA T aOTNcP 51cr0 f

IANIvIF eslry

Is ... NA'fuRA


The incumbents to the Michigan House
of Representatives, Mary Schroer (D-
Ann Arbor) and Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor),
are worthy of re-election to the 52nd and
53rd districts, respectively. They surpass
their opponents, David Felbeck (R-Ann
Arbor) and Chris Schmitt (R-Ann Arbor),
offering sound and sensible solutions and
opinions on the major issues.
Both women have a long history of sup-
porting University funding. Schroer and
Brater both opposed last year's Hood
Amendment, which would have held back
more than $8.3 million in allocation to the
University because some lawmakers were
concerned that the University's out-of-state
enrollment surpassed 30 percent. Both law-
makers led the fight to restore funding.
Students can count on both representatives
to consistently represent their interests in
The two candidates fought against Gov.
John Engler's cuts to the state's adult educa-
tion programs. They support affirmative
action and voted against state amendments
to weaken it.' Both advocate progressive
social policy: Brater is a strong supporter of
rigorous environmental protection and
Schroer serves on several House commit-
tees and judiciary sub-committees -
including those for education, civil rights
and affirmative action.
Brater's and Schroer's experience is an
important asset to push legislation through
the Legislature. While working in a
Republican-controlled House, they built
bipartisan coalitions, allowing them to
serve the best interest of their districts.
Brater's opponent, Chris Schmitt, shows
promise, but his inexperience hinders his

potential as a legislator. He graduated from
the University last August and, due to his
lack of leadership experience, should con-
sider running for a lower-level office -
perhaps in the city or school board - to
build up a record. Schmitt declared his
Republican Party preference in February -
and even now he does not seem to adhere to
many of the party's traditional beliefs. For
example, he supports abortion rights and
would not vote to ban same-sex marriage.
While his independent streak could be an
asset, Schmitt seems confused about his
party identification.
Schroer's opponent, David Felbeck, is a
staunch advocate of government downsiz-
ing and noninterference in private matters.
He opposes funding organizations like
Planned Parenthood and advocates dissoci-
ation between government and the private
sector. Felbeck's opposition to most govern-
ment services would not bode well for the
Felbeck's most disturbing position is his
stance against affirmative action. He told
The Michigan Daily that affirmative action
is an "abysmal failure," and that it has led to
the enrollment of people in the University
who "should never have (been admitted) in
the first place." His beliefs seriously under-
cut the University's commitment to diversi-
ty - and is poor social policy.
The incumbent candidates provide expe-
rience, pragmatism and perseverance. They
are ardent supporters of the University and
will continue to serve it well in the future.
Moreover, both are accessible and willing to
talk with constituents.
Vote Mary Schroer and Liz Brater for
state representatives in Districts 52 and 53.

r. 0.

ledSen. Levin
Incumbent's policies serve Michigan well
T he race for Michigan's U.S. Senate seat bill could be disastrous: It may throw inno-
is a hardly a race at all, cent children even further into poverty and

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Carl Levin
leads his Republican challenger, Ronna
Romney of Bloomfield Hills, by more than
20 points in most polls. The people of
Michigan have it right: Levin is by far the
better choice.
For 18 years, Levin has fought for
Michigan's working families, senior citi-
zerts and students. He has consistently
favored increasing opportunity for students
to attend college. When the Republicans
tried to roll back Medicare and federal
financial aid, Levin helped defeat such
extremist measures.
Michigan residents can count on Levin
to defend many of its values. Levin is pro-
choice and he supports: the Brady Bill, the
assault rifle ban and Head Start. While
opponents call himi a liberal, Levin brings
common sense and a solid conscience to the
political process.
He is generally regarded as one of thet
Senate's most respected members, and
many legislators call him the "conscience
of the Senate." In an era of voter cynicism,
Levin is one politician who can help restore
a sense of trust to government.
His work to reform the campaign
finance structure symbolizes his commit-
ment to making the political process work
better. He led the charge to ban lobbying
groups from giving certain gifts to lawmak-
ers. This is a first step in reducing the power
of special interests in politics - Levin
deserves much credit for his efforts.
However, his recent vote to sign the
Welfare Reform Act is disturbing. Levin
said he disagreed with menu of the nrovi-

it does not provide support provisions, such
as health care and childcare for parents try-
ing to get off welfare. Levin said he is com-
mitted to improving the bill in the next
Congress and voters should take him at his
At the very least, he will repair the bill
more so than his opponent. Romney has lit-
tle political experience. She recently
worked as a talk show host on a Detroit
radio station, and she touts her experience
as a mother of five. But these efforts hardly
qualify her for the high office of senator. In
fact, her main claim to fame is her last
name - she is the former daughter-in-law
of late Michigan Gov. George Romney.
Her tax policies include a 15-percent
across-the-board tax cut and a $500 per-
child tax credit. Both proposals would bal-
loon the deficit, undermine the economic
growth of the last four years, and return
America to the debt-ridden 1980s that
Levin and President Clinton have been
working hard to repair. Her plan is nothing
more than a risky scheme - fortunately,
Michigan residents are not convinced.
Romney is firmly opposed to abortion;
in fact, the Michigan Right to Life was one
of her main supporters in the Republican
primary. As a senator, Romney would vote
on Supreme Court nominees who could
potentially overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Michigan needs a senator to defend a
woman's right to choose - Levin is that
Without question, Levin is the best
choice for U.S. Senate. His experience, cou-
rled with his efforts to reintroduce ethics

nations are
worse off
In the article "Third-party
candidate speaks of social
issues,injustices," (10/16/96)
LSA first-year student David
Taub claims Monica
Moorehead's views, i.e.
blaming capitalism for all
"their problems" is a "joke."
He goes on to say that
"Socialism failed in Eastern
Europe ... no convincing
proof ... socialism works."
The problem with both
Monica Moorehead's and
David Taub's view is that
both claim the former and
current "communist" regimes
of the U.S.S.R., China, Cuba
and Eastern Europe had
something to do with social-
These dictatorships were,
and are, at least as anti-work-
ing class, sexist, racist and
homophobic as any Western
democracy and allowed for
no freedom of expression or
political organization outside
the official Communist par-
ties. These Stalinist bureau-
cracies gutted the language
of socialism and used its
shell to justify their rule.
They were not "worker's par-
adises" - they were more
like work camps. This gutting
is done in the United States
with the rhetoric of "democ-
racy." The United States is
called a 300 year experiment
in democracy when women
couldn't vote until 1921 and
African Americans couldn't
vote until the 1960s. Taub is
correct when he says the
bloody regimes of the former
"communist" Eastern Block
and U.S.S.R. failed, but as
awful as those regimes were,
it is interesting that many
have maintained or re-elected
former Communist Party
officials, who are not advo-
cating re-establishment of the
old regimes but wish to soft-
en the blow of "free-market,"
"democratic" capitalism,
which is frightening the mass
of pensioners, and the work-
ing class in those countries.
Taub must look critically
at the claim that capitalism,
which he implies, is working.
Millions of people in the cap-
italist West are without work
and live in horrible condi-
tions of poverty. 7 million
unemployed in the United
States - 3 million more wel-
fare recipients will be added
to the workforce over the
next two years. Child abuse,
domestic violence, substance
abuse, murder, gang violence,
high infant mortality and
health care are all massive
problems in this country. We
spend three times the amount
of money on health care as
any other industrialized coun-
try and 40 million are unin-

that represents the interests
of business. Workers have no
major political party of their
own. The AFL-CIO supports
the Democratic Party because
it has nowhere else to go and
is too afraid to throw its
weight behind the current
Labor Party effort.
Taub should look more,
critically at the world around
him. Merely repeating the
"socialism failed" argument
is an excuse for not thinking.
with children
deserve a
helping hand
We are writing in regard
to the letter submitted to the
Daily by Rebecca Ewing
titled, "Paying for others'
mistakes" (10/23/96).
Repeatedly throughout
her letter, Ewing referred to
children as "mistakes."
Quote: "Why should I have
to pay for someone else's
mistake?" Last we checked,
most parents, including our
own, did not feel that their
children were "mistakes,"
whether planned or
unplanned. Perhaps if we
lived in a utopia where every-
one was completely self-suf-
ficient, there would never be
a need to offer others a help-
ing hand. In reality, we all
face obstacles and the chal-
lenge lies in helping each
other overcome them.
However, if you are not
the type of person who is
willing to help those who
courageously choose to raise
a child while attending
school, consider the alterna-
tive. We could either assist
these parents with $2 out of
our pocket now, to help them
obtain a higher level educa-
tion or possibly support these
families through the welfare
system later in life. Which
would you rather have? It is a
known fact that higher educa-
tion equates with a greater
income in the workforce.
Who wants to deny some-
one this privilege for a
measly two bucks? The idea
of "fending for ourselves" is
not inherent in today's soci-
ety. We are all students at this
University because someone
has helped us in some way.
Can't we offer back some-
thing, like $2, in return?

with the Bibie-thumpers
proselytizing there, if there
are a few. They seem to have
a limited knowledge, if any,
of what it means to be an
Being one myself, I would
like to offer these people a
working definition of athe-
ism, so they know my angle
at the next encounter.
First, I shall break up the
word "atheism" into its two
Greek roots. The prefix "a"
means to be without or lack-
ing, not against.
Then, there is "theos",
which, of course, means
"god" From these roots, we
can derive that "atheism"
means that one lacks belief in
a god, and not against god
and religion.
It is true that atheists
believe the claims of religion
do not stand up to the tests of
reason, and that it chokes
progress. It is laughable to
hear people tell me that I am
going to Hell, because I and
other atheists believe Satan to
be every bit as mythical.
Second, atheism is not a
belief system. It is contradic-
tion to call a lack of belief, a
belief in itself.
A lack of faith requires no
faith. Atheism is based on a
commitment to rationality,
but this does not qualify it as
a religion.
Third, there is not a great
mystery in morality. Atheists
would merely employ the
same yardsticks of kindness
and reason.
I personally take the
humanist stance and base
morality on human necessi-
ties. That embraces a respect
for my environment and fem-
inism. Dilemmas require rea-
son to weigh outcomes.
I would argue that reli-
gion promotes a dangerous
morality based on obedience,
ultimatums and reward-pun-
ishment enforcement. I try
my best to base actions on
my fellow humans.
Fourth, and most contro-
versial, the complexity of life
requires a logical explana-
tion, not a designer. Darwin's
theory of evolution, which
employs cumulative non-ran-
dom natural selection work-
ing over billions of years is
the most reasonable explana-
A "Divine Designer" is
not a sufficient answer to
give, because the complex
nature of that being would
not be immune from the
same scrutiny.
I hope this provides
believers with a small work-
ing knowledge of how an
atheist thinks.
These reasons are actually
more reminiscent of those
given by free thinkers, but
atheists are free thinkers.
Free thought is reasonable,
and allows you to do your
own thinking.
"A plurality of individuals
thinking, free from the.
r* rantf 4*nrthin4nru

in the countr y
L ast week I returned to my home-
town, where Republicans are a
dime a dozen and status is measured
by the number of Chevys on cement
blocks in the front yard. There's no
place like home. What is our romanti-
cized notion of a small town, anyway?
Mellencamp and
Springsteen sing
its praises; novel-
ists capitalize on
its rustic populari-
ty; poets and film
directors damn.
near make us cry.
with the poignan-
cy of it all. Yet
when I return
home to my small
hometown in ERIN
Southwest MARSH
Michigan, the
claustrophobia is overwhelming.
There's nothing particularly touching
or wonderful about a place that fosters
prejudice, intolerance and ignorance.
It breeds stunning diplomats: "Uh,
yeah, I think I seen a Jew once, on the
news or somethin'.
When I reached that magical, secret
age when children are finally cog-
nizant of what the hell is going on, I
thought, "What -is there an invisible
sign at the city limits that says no
minorities allowed?"' The tapioca-
pudding population leaves much to be
The worst part about small towns is
that they're never content to be small
towns. No - we have to build a
McDonald's and a strip mall, and add
a few more franchised video stores
and then by God, then we'll be worth
our spit! So this leaves you sitting at
the end of the McDonald's driveway,
waiting to turn left, thinking, "If I'm
not mistaken, this is traffic. Now, traf-
fic usually occurs when you are some-
where. I, however, am absolutely posi-
tive that I am, in fact, nowhere. We
have a McDonald's, yes, but still only
one stoplight and still a WASPy pre-
sentation of American history in our
schools! We are nowhere! AND WHY
FIC?!" Getting a cheeseburger in a
small town can therefore be a pro-
foundly disturbing experience.
Don't get me wrong - I'm
absolutely in love with the concept of
small towns. They should simply all be
like the fictional Cicely, Alaska, in the
now-extinct television show "Northern
Exposure." Bogart fihm festivals, arti-
chokes at the local general store, book
discussions and feminist groups con-
gregating at the town hall, and even
occasional visits to the tavern by the
local hermit/eccentric gourmet - and
all this supported by a population of
726. Heaven. I might actually consider
giving up Meijer for that.
In short, there's nothing wrong with
small towns in terms of size. (It's no
the size that counts, you know ... oh,
stop it.) It's the proliferation of small-
town mentality that's so frustrating.
Small-town mentality can occur in the
largest metropolises. Rush Limbaugh
comes from St. Louis, and he's still an
idiot. I left my hometown in search of
broader philosophies - ones that
extend beyond the homogeneity of
white, heterosexual Christian male
supremacy. I found what I was lookin
for. Some moldy leftovers, though,

also found their way here - demon-
strating that not all morons are isolat-
ed to small towns.
Likewise, not all small-towners are
morons. There are small specks of
light, miraculous prophets of hope
who whisper, "Psssst - hey. It's not
all this bad. Trust me. Go - leave for
a while and dig around out there.
Come back and tell me what you see!
These people are amazing.
But then, I guess that's what parents
are for.
(Small-towners who know what I'm
talking about, please give them, him or
her a call, to say "thanks.")
Beyond significant intellectual and
philosophical deficiencies, one of the
most superficially annoying things
about small towns is that you already
know everybody. And worse, they
know you too. Going right from th
gym, all sweaty and gross, to pick up
groceries for Mom is particularly
unpleasant when the cashier, bag boy
and store manager are all in your grad-
uating class. Driving up Main Street
requires a baseball cap, sunglasses and
major slouching to avoid waves from
the high school vice principal, mayor
and part-time fire chief, who - guess
what! - are all the same person.
It's a nice place to visit - once in
while. People are, for the most part,
friendly, and usually interested in hear-
ing what goes on "way over there in
Ann Arbor." (Hash Bash stories go
over real well.) I especially like going
hack at Christmatime. when the nar-

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