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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-22

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4 -- The Michigan Daiiy - Wecnesday, March 22, 2000

I
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O.J sheds light on Middle East politics

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily. letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
EMILY ACHENBAUM
Editorial Page Editor

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.

Roe and Erickson poised for success

M iddle East politics becomes much
simpler if you can remember how
people felt about the O.J. Simpson trial. A
friend once told me that during the trial,
every white person he knew was certain
of O.J.'s guilt, while every black person he
knew had full confidence that O.J. was
innocent. The rea-
son: Even though
these people gave
honest opinions,
their opposing
stances tended to be
products of the very
different environ-
ments in which they
were brought up.
Such is the Mid-
dIe East. If you are
Jewish, you might
have a gut feeling Ethan Shalom
that the Arabs would Johnson
like nothing better
than to expel all P
Jews from Israel. If Mond
you are an Arab, you
might believe that
the Zionists are imperialists who intend to
expand Israel's borders as far as possible,
not to mention that they also control
America. Why would you believe these
things? Because you were raised that way.
Somehow, there are plenty of sources
of support for both groups' beliefs. The
Arabs point to select groups of Orthodox
Jews and certain historical figures who
have stated their desires to annex the total
Biblical Land of Israel, to Israel's pres-
ence in southern Lebanon and to Israel's
links to the West (as in Western Imperial-
ism).
Jews respond with references to the
wars begun by the Arab nations against
Israel in 1948, 1956 and 1973, to the con-

stant threat of bus bombings, to Hezbol-
lah's continuing attacks on northern Israel
from southern Lebanon, and to the
inflammatory rhetoric that many high-
ranking Arab officials float to their citi-
zens. I have my own version of "the
truth," but does it really matter?
The current state of affairs (objective-
ly as possible) is like this: The Palestini-
ans effectively control the Gaza Strip and
much of the West Bank, but statehood has
not yet been declared, and their economy
is basically at ground zero. Israel is tired
of losing troops in southern Lebanon try-
ing to subdue the Hezbollah. Syria, which
exerts considerable control over Lebanon,
may be interested in signing a peace deal
if Israel relinquishes its hold on the Golan
Heights (formerly an important strategic
spot). Egypt and Jordan have peace with
Israel. Does anyone trust one another?
Not a chance.
Several months ago, (a miracle took
place when) I agreed with a statement
made by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah
Ali Kamenei. Now, I have about as much
in common with Ayatollah as the NAACP
does with the KKK. But when he said,
"Iran is the biggest and most important
center of confrontation with Israel," it
was as if he took the words right out of
my mouth.
Of course, Ayatollah would prefer to
see the Israelis take a very long swim in
the Mediterranean - not exactly my idea
of Middle East peace. Nevertheless, his
statement underscores the notion that Iran
may be the biggest obstacle to lasting
peace since it funds many of the region's
terrorist organizations. While Syria acts
as puppet-master to Lebanon, Iran is
underwriting Hezbollah's performances.
If Iran were to cease financing for the
activities of Hezbollah, Hamas and Jihad,

it would significantly impair these V
groups' operations and help assuage feel-
ings of distrust between Arabs and Jews.
Sounds impossible? Well, here is new rea-
son for hope: Last month, Iranians elected
the most liberal parliament since the 1979
revolution swept extremists into power. In
response, U.S. Secretary of State Made-
line Albright announced on Friday that
America will ease economic sanctions
against Iran, eliminating restrictions on
carpet imports and reducing tariffs on pis-
tachios and caviar.
The concessions are trivial, though,
compared to America's embargo on Iran-
ian oil, a critical piece of Iran's economy.
Right now may be the perfect time to end
this embargo. Such a move would lend
greater momentum to the reform move-
ment in Iran, giving conservatives fewer
reasons to lash out at America and foster-
ing positive interchange between the two
governments. The extra supply of oil to
relieve astronomical U.S. gasoline prices
wouldn't hurt either.
Naturally, change will not come quick-
ly. Iran is still a country in which wearing
nail polish is considered treasonous.,
However, any move that would encourage
the Iranians to stop spending their money
on Palestinian pipe bombs and start fund-
ing Palestinian economic development
that could reduce the unemployment rate..
in Gaza is a step in the right direction.
Just about everyone in this world has
been raised to have certain preconceptions
about other groups of people. As difficult
as it may be, sometimes it is better to try to
reconcile than to argue about who is right,
because many times, one's preconceptions
do not actually fit the truth. And, after all,
if it does not fit, you must acquit.
- Ethan Shalom Johnson can be reached
via e-mail at ethanj@umich.edu.

I

T he Michigan Student Assembly is not
revered on campus. Most students
don't know when their student government
meets, what they do, or how MSA impacts
their lives. Still, the Daily annually urges
students to vote in MSA elections. It is the
body which represents the student voice.
And this year, students should voice their
opinion in favor of Blue Party candidates
Glen Roe for President and Elise Erickson
for Vice-President.
An endorsement of the Blue Party may
initially seem like a contradiction in Daily
precedent. The Daily has consistently dis-
agreed with MSA actions, especially their
content with a low profile on campus.
Endorsing the Blue Party, which holds a
majority in MSA, seems like an affirmation
of the very body which the Daily often
derides.
Still, noting that MSA is not perfect
does not change the fact that the Blue Party
candidates are the most qualified to serve
student needs through the existing struc-
ture. MSA presidential and vice-presiden-
tial candidates are administrators and
mediators before they are political activists.
Instead of spearheading student move-
ments, the head of MSA needs to tend to
the needs of groups that already exist. In
fact, MSA's most relevant function is fund-
ing student groups. As chairman of the
Budget Priorities Committee for the past
year, Roe is exceptionally qualified to con-
tinue funding student groups.
Roe's experience in allocating funds and
in MSA in general is especially important
considering the future Supreme Court deci-
sion in The Board ofRegents of the Univer-
sity of Wisconsin v. Scott Southworth. The
case, which will be decided by the
Supreme Court this summer, stands to deny
general-student funding to some student
groups. The college environment funda-
mentally demands the expression that stu-
dent groups provide, regardless of their
financial backing. Roe's relationship with
the administration is also the best among
candidates. While MSA is specifically
responsible for some things, like student
group funding, many of their opinions are
realized through action by University
administrators. It is essential that the MSA
President and Vice-President have a good
relationship with the University administra-
tion - and all signs indicate that Roe and
Erickson would have the best relationship.
Besides the strength of their experience
and their relationship with University offi-
cials, the Blue party slate is strong and real-
Blue
Vote Blue in the]
m his year's candidates for president and
vice-president of the College of Litera-
ture, Science and the Arts Student Govern-
ment constitute a strong field of individuals
with the drive, capacity and focus that one
would hope for in any election. The Daily
has chosen to endorse the Blue Party LSA-
SG executive slate of Adam Damerow and
Steven Sharpe. They have demonstrated a
superior grasp of the needs of their
prospective posts, an understanding that is
highlighted by their solid platform and
prior experience.
The LSA Student Government needs to
be led by people who comprehend the par-
ticular focus on student-oriented and acad-

emic issues that apply to the body's work.
The Blue platform for the LSA-SG
emphasizes such realistic and relevant
items such as working with University
Administrators on drop/add and pass/fail
deadlines, which currently fall far short of
meeting students' needs. Damerow and
Sharpe also allow for enough fluidity in
their agenda to be truly responsive to their
constituents.

istic. The Blue party doesn't propose popu-
lar ideas like "freezing" tuition, nor should
they. Instead, the Blue party focuses on fea-
sible issues that still impact University stu-
dents. The Quality of Life Consortium, a
major piece of Blue policy, aims to address
topics like safety, racism, diversity and
drug and alcohol use on campus. Roe and
Erickson realize the scope of MSA and will
address issues it can affect.
Convincing students to vote. in this
year's election might not be as hard as
usual. It is common for students to be
unaware of MSA candidates right up to
election day, but this year that won't be the
case. Hideki Tsutsumi has been campaign-
ing for election as an independent candi-
date for almost a year, carrying his famous
sign in tow wherever he goes. While his
enthusiasm and commitment to students is
admirable, he is not the best presidential
candidate. Hideki is devoted to a core
group of issues, including lowering text-
book prices, but he shows little interest in
considering other ideas. A lack of experi-
ence and administrative ability clouds a
campaign that has brought a refreshing
excitement and genuine dedication to usu-
ally routine MSA elections. He is the first
candidate in ages to get people interested in
MSA. The Blue Party, if elected, have a lot
to learn from his tactics.
The All People's Party and the Defend
Affirmative Action Party also seem like
good choices at first glance. Headed by
Kym Stewart and Erika Dowdell, respec-
tively, the two parties look primed to sup-
port Daily issues like the abolition of the
Student Code of Conduct and continue to
support affirmative action. But again, both
parties are hurt by their administrative
skills. Stewart, Dowdell and Jessica Curtin,
the DAAP vice-presidential candidate are
among the most potent activists on campus.
Their time is better spent supporting their
individual causes than helping to perform
the administrative duties required of MSA
executive positions.
MSA is not perfect. But protesting by
voting in favor of APP, DAAP or the inde-
pendent candidate would do more harm
than good. MSA does perform a group of
less-visible, but important functions, name-
ly doling out group funds and appealing to
University administrators. Especially with
the possibility of universal group funding
being taken away, Roe and Erickson of the
Blue Party are the best candidates for Presi-
dent and Vice President. It is the safe vote,
but it is also the right one.
*too
SA-SG elections
, Damerow and Sharpe are both highly
motivated candidates with a singular enthu-
siasm for the sometimes thankless work
that student government entails. Their abili-
ty to forge cooperative relationships with
others is a skill that will be crucial in work-
ing with University administrators.
Wolverine party candidates B.J. Orandi
and Erin Reese are also very capable and
are not lacking in experience. The Blue
platform displayed a more refined scope of
what LSA-SG can do, should try to do and
how to get those things done. However,
Orandi and Reese have the focus that can
be tapped by the President and Vice-Presi-
dent to execute these endeavors and are
highly encouraged to remain active - they

are assets to the LSA-SG.
The prospects are good indeed for an
effective LSA-SG next semester, one that
will set its resources towards realistic goals
that can have a positive impact for students.
Simply put, a combination of aptitude,
experience and direction make Adam
Damerow and Steven Sharpe the Daily's
choice for LSA Student Government.

THOMAS KULJURGIS

TENTAIVELY SPEAKING

KICK THAT OLD, DEAD " EM

IASST i

Hideki campaign
shows unmatched
effort
TO THE DAILY:
I just wanted to write this letter to
show my appreciation for one brave soul.
Who in the midst of all the chaos here on
the University campus has persevered.
He could have been easily sidetracked by
the recent SCC/Michigamua turmoil, the
Jamal Crawford incident, and the firing
of Tom Goss. But this man has not been
phased by any of these things because of
his great drive and focus. He is a man
with a plan and a dream. This man is
"Hi" deki.
A man who began his campaign for
MSA president before school even start-
ed, formed his own campaign Website,
and who has been faithfully carrying his
famous sign around everywhere he goes
(including the library). If you have ever
been to a football game, a basketball
game, or even been out on the Diag, you
have seen this dedicated man.
In my five years at Michigan I have
never seen a harder working presidential
candidate. I have had the pleasure of
meeting this young man, and it was an
honor. I and much of the student body
here at the University, just want to thank
you four dedicated service. Good luck
and God bless.
FRANK LODESERTO
KINESIOLOGY SENIOR
Wolverine party
candidates are the
right choice
TO THE DAILY:
The Michigan Student Assembly
(MSA) elections are less than two weeks
away. As in previous elections, many par-
ties will be on the ballot - each claim-
ing superiority. However, only one of the
student parties embodies the refreshing'
spirit of reform, character and courage
that has so well defined Sen. John
McCain's great crusade. While many stu-
dent parties may preach devotions to
causes greater than their own self-inter-
ests, the claims of all but one of these
parties are laughable. Upon evaluating
the platforms and candidate credentials
of each student party running, we felt the
only organization to truly hold the best
interest of our university at its heart is
the party of our dauntless mascot - the
Wolverine.
The University needs an MSA Presi-
dent and a coalition of representatives
willing to fight relentlessly for causes in
which they wholeheartedly believe. Of all
the MSA Presidential candidates, the
only one with an established record of
leadership and results worthy of Sen.
,A+fn n' 2n m c n . mm n) h

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or current student party affiliations were
involved in this decision . We need a stu-
dent government that we can all be proud
of. University students would be wise to
choose the members of the Wolverine
Party for their representatives.
F. BRrr BACCARI
LSA JUNIOR
Best bet for the
election: Don't
vote at all
To THE DAILY:
On Tuesday morning I received an e-
mail telling me to "Vote for the Blue
Party!" Is this legal?
Can these anal resume-packers really
spam the innocent students of the Univer-
sity with their banal rhetoric and farcical
party 'platforms?' I may have a very cyn-
ical view of MSA, but I am serious about
this type of campaigning being illegal.
This is nothing short of spam. It is an
undesired solicitation in my inbox, to get
me to "buy their product" or in this case,
"vote for the Blue Party."
Anyway you slice it, this is spam.
Spaming mailboxes is illegal. MSA
doesn't have any. legislative teeth, but the
government of the United States does. As
long as that holds, despite any "rules and
regs" MSA may have passed on cam-
paign procedure, MSA is still required to
uphold state and federal laws. I'd rather
the whole MSA didn't even exist, since
all they seem to do is sit around and not
do anything, while sucking money away
from the student body.
It boggles my mind to see them run-
ning around during elections trying to
garner votes. They must be the only
group of students on the entire campus
that don't realize it's the University
Board of Regents and the administration
that control things around here. However,
like death and taxes, MSA will probably
be here forever. The least they could do
is not break the law, and stay out of our
P amnil m wtha me MlleradMt

Michigan Student Assembly only make
an effort to contact their constituents at
campaign time, which happens to be
March 22 and 23. However, this is not
true when talking about the Blue Party.
Its candidates are all involved with MSA,
and make a constant effort to communi-
cate with the student body throughout the
entire school year.
Glen Roe, the Blue Party's Presiden-
tial candidate, as chair of the Budget Pri-
orities Committee, has to communicate
with student groups and find out what
their needs are in terms of funding and
what kinds of problems each respective
student group is trying to solve by exis-
tence. For example, last semester, the
Hearing Impaired Student Organization
.received funding from BPC, which
allowed the group to address the needs of
hearing impaired students on campus.
Without this funding, HISO would not
have been able to create an encouraging
and supportive environment for hearing
impaired students on this large campus.
Glen Roe communicated with this group
and made an active effort to learn about a
group and an issue of which he had no
previous knowledge.
The Vice Presidential candidate, Elise
Erickson, also has extensive knowledge
of different needs of student groups. She
was active in other groups, besides MSA,
such as Dance Marathon and worked to
involve different populations of campus,
such as Nursing students, who are not
always included or present at events that
seem to attract mostly LSA students.
We need executive officers who have
the skills to communicate with the stu-
dent body, and address their needs,
including those communities who are not
always represented. They communicate
with constituents every day of the semes-
ter, not just during the three weeks dur-
ing election time. Glen Roe and Elise
Erickson are your best candidates for
President and Vice President.
Finally, the Blue Party has a platform
that is realistic. They have achieved their
platform goals in the past and will con-
tinue to do so in the future. For example,
Shari Katz, Chair of Voice Your Vote

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