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October 09, 2000 - Image 4

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 9, 2000

(Tbe idtictguu DuiI

Students shut out of campaign by their own apathy

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

A few weeks ago I championed the pres-
idential debates as the final bastion of
democracy in our increasingly undemocra-
tic electoral system.
And when I said that, I was addressing

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
EMILY ACHENBAUM
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Dailys editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

college students,
hoping that by
watching 90 min-
utes of debating
young people could
make up their mind
- not only on who
to vote for, but to
vote at all.
That certainly
hasn't happened.
Partisans are
screaming about the
debates: Gore won,
Bush won, Gore
lied, Bush is dumb.
But nothing new
has come from the
bickering, thought

Homosexual rights deserve support

Mike
Spahn
prp

the environment, but that's really energy
policy discussion.
And even still, some candidates at least
acting like they care about students. Al
Gore has been here. So has Ralph Nader.
And even George W. Bush, who wouldn't
come within 50 miles of this liberal bas-
tion, may just break that rule for Michi-
gan's increasingly important electoral
votes.
But why care about college students?
Why come to a college campus? Sure
activists and environmentalists abound, so
Ralph Nader should come to try to ignite
them. Sure this campus is traditionally lib-
eral, a stalwart for Democratic candidates,
so Al Gore should come to appeal to them
and address their concerns.
But it just doesn't make good political
sense.
In 1996 only 32 percent of eligible vot-
ers age 18-24 turned out to cast a vote in
November. One out of every three. Those
that did vote accounted for 7 percent of the
final voting population.
That's nothing. Our age group gets
roundly defeated in the voting competition
by the over 65 group. It's not even close.
So do you think it's a coincidence that
this campaign seems centered around pre-
scription drugs and Medicare? Whole
events, whole weeks, are dedicated to these
issues.
Some inroads have been made. Gore, on
this campus, listened to and addressed stu-
dent concerns for the MTV "Choose or
Lose" forum. That 90-minute conversation
did more to address the concerns of stu-
dents than the entire campaign to that
point combined. But there's a problem:
Only one of the candidates was there. The

great part of a debate is that it's just that:
A debate. Hearing only one side of the
issue doesn't help a voter make a decision.
And while some groups, including Youth
Vote 2000, are working to energize young
people and to get the candidates to debate
youth issues, the likelihood of that happen-
ing is slim to none. So young people need
to take things into their own hands.
Every political science professor will
tell you that elections are about turning out
the vote, energizing your base and getting
your people to the polls. It's pretty simple.
The fact of the matter is 18-24 year olds
just don't vote.
And then students complain. Tuition is
too high. The drinking age is too high.
Drug laws are too harsh. And on and on
and on.
Well, it's time to wake up.
None of these problems will be
addressed, much less solved, if politicians
do not feel at all beholden to your con-
cerns. If you don't vote, then you don't
matter. Why should they care? All they
really want is to win elections, and voters
make those decision.
Tomorrow is the deadline to register to
vote in Michigan. The deadline to request
absentee ballots from other states is loom-
ing.
Nader, during his attempt to woo an Ann
Arbor crowd last month, said, "I tell young
people that if you don't turn on politics,
politics will turn on you."
He's almost right. The only problem: It's
already happened.
Don't let it continue by doing nothing.
Get registered and go vote.
--Mike Spahn can be reached via
e-mail at mspahn@umich.edu.

his week, the University's les-
T bian, gay, bisexual and transgen-
dered students will celebrate National
Coming Out Week. Campus events
such as rallies, discussion groups and
lectures will inform the community
about the struggle for equality and
acceptance - a struggle that gay and
lesbian students continue to fight.
Although the gay community has
made advances in recent years, it
continues to be plagued by misunder-
standing and intolerance. At the Uni-
versit y, this has
been demonstrated. Eveitsa
by the controversy
over Prof. David
Halperin's "How to Gender Bei.
B Gay"course, vodyO
which has been met <xa IJj
with opposition
from lawmakers and Natjna CZii
some members of
the University Re Pz
Board of Regents. R1ybegins
Many of the objec-
tions to the course
are rooted in the rida
ridiculous idea that ' 0pm. -
convert' heterosex- Tickets are avai
uals, a stereotype.Langage Boo
which has no basis iceeofL+
in reality.
This intolerance

kfip
,G

they are demanding "special rights,"
homosexuals are denied some of the
basic rights granted to all heterosexu-
als: The most prominent being the
right to marry. There is no good rea-
son to deny equal rights to gays and
lesbians.
A particularly sad indication that
homosexuals have yet to truly gain
acceptance in society is the number
of hate crimes directed against them.
The 1998 beating death of Matthew
Shepard is the most high profile
example in recent
a Glance years, but it was
certainly not an iso-
lated incident.
jr Revue Too Tragedies like this
~M one underscore the
ltaionm..importance of hate
crimes legislation
to protect people
from the hatred of
b he Cube) others.
:12:0 noon One of the Un-
versity's guiding
ormal principles is to
)ct 13 embrace diversity
M,4th Floor in all forms, includ-
ing diversity of sex-
Neat Common ual orientation. The
store and at the Office of LGBT
BT Affairs. Affairs and the peo-
ple working to cele-
brate National
Coming Out Week on campus should
be commended for their work to
make the University a more accepting
place for gay and lesbian students.
Despite the strides toward accep-
tance that the gay community has
made, events like this one are still
necessary to shed light on some of
the misconceptions that continue to
plague society. The University and its
students should support them in their
efforts.

there have been a few lines worth remem-
bering.
My personal favorites, so far, came from
the Republican side: Dick Cheney's quick
wit against Joe Lieberman, telling him he'd
try to help him end up in the private sector,
was the best laugh we can hope for. And
on the appalling side. George W. Bush's,
when speaking about at-risk children, said,
"basically it means they can't learn."
Give me a break.
But there's one thing no pundit is saying:
There's been too much talk about issues
affecting college students. Sure, there's
been some lip service paid to college
tuition tax credits, but that's for the parents
out there. And there's been a little talk of

0

'The more queers feel a part of the mainstream, the
more they feel there is less work to be done.'
- Music senior Katherine Severs, organizer of LGBT's
campus activities for National Coming Out Day

of homosexuality also extends to the
legal treatment of gays and lesbians.
Many institutions - such as Grand
Valley State University - will not
give benefits to same-sex partners of
employees. While it is illegal to dis-
criminate against people on the basis
of race, gender, veteran status or a
number of other things, discrimina-
tion on the basis of sexual orientation
is tacitly allowed. And despite the
cries from some conservatives that

Foul pharmaceuticals
Bill should allow lower priced drugs

D ecently, the pharmaceutical
industry spent $40 million to
defeat a measure that would have
been incredibly beneficial to Ameri-
cans. A proposal that would have
saved the average prescription drug
consumer a substantial amount of
money was brought up in Congress:
Allowing the reimportation of export-
ed American drugs. The bill may
pass, but in its present form it is use-
less.
The pharmaceutical industry
exports prescription medicines at a
lower cost per unit than it sells drugs
domestically. Medicine, however, is a
very sensitive field,
and so the United
States government has Pharmace
strict importation reg- com anie
ulations for prescrip -
tion drugs. The bill exploiting
would allow drugsl
sold more cheapy
abroad to be sold back plan, clos
home after exporta- dprce p
tion, lowering the cost
of medicine domesti- the reimpi
cally and cutting into dru s and
the hefty profit mar-
gins of the drug com- So0 dom
panies. The proposal
even had bipartisan support; however,
as soon as the industry heard of the
plan, it unleashed a hoard of money in
a short time to protect its profit inter-
ests. With high-priced lobbyists mov-
ing from congressman to
congressman and campaign contribu-
tions on the line, the industry per-
suaded enough key representatives
and senators to make the plan poorly
written, and even the amendments
that would have saved it were not
passed.
The pharmaceutical companies
can, by exploiting a loophole in the
plan, close the price gap between the
reimported drugs and those sold
domestically. The plan allows compa-
nies to inflate the prices of medicine
domestically by pressuring countries
to sign contracts that require a high
reimportation price. The contracts
will only have to last as long as the
plan, which expires in five years. The
plan also prevents Mexico, a country

sighted as a reason to implement
reimportation, from participating.
Many congressmen wished to strike
the provision that specifies national
participants. While the plan is a first
step toward lower prescription drug
costs, it will not allow the U.S. to
offer its consumers more reasonable
medicine prices.
The drug companies cite research
capital as the reason for both prevent-
ing the U.S. government from regulat-
ing the industry and keeping medicine
overpriced. The industry says that
without such remarkable profitability,
the consumers will suffer because

se
IL

c ompanies will lack
funds to conduct com-
itical etitive research.
can, y owever, the evidence
used by pharmaceuti-
a cal companies to sup-
i the port its claims is
wholly funded by the
the pharmaceutical com-
betWeen panies, making the
Sevidenceinherently
rte~d suspect. .Many of the
those pharmaceutical indus-
try-sponsored studies
stically, contain inflated fig-
ures. In some cases,
as in a study by the Lewin Group, a
consulting firm, the own authors
admit to the inaccuracy of the data.
The pharmaceutica industry wish-
es to maintain its high profitability at
the expense of the people who need
the medicine. Although lowering the
amount of gained revenue would
cause an industry to cut costs or lose
profits, drugs are not a regular con-
sumer good: They are a necessity for
life.
Although sick people can turn to
generic brand prescriptions, they can
still spend a small fortune. As Ameri-
cans question the cost of prescription
medicine, the industry will continue
to spend more money on lobbyists
and campaigns. The industry spent
$45 million more in 1999 than in
1998 on advertising, sham studies and
politically oriented expenditures. The
cost of swindling the American peo-
ple is only $40 million. There is more
money where that sum came from.

Horn exemplifies
what is wrong with
pro-choice mentality
To THE DAILY:
David Horn's Oct. 6th column ("Attention
Activists: Radicalism frightens people off")
thoroughly exemplifies what is wrong with
today's pro-abortion rights mentality.
First, Horn deliberately makes up facts in an
attempt to justify his argument. There were no
pictures of "miscarried fetuses" in the G.A.P.
display. There were only pictures of aborted
babies being shown. Horn is correct, though, in
stating "the last thing pro-choicers want to see is
what were on those posters." Well of course they
don't want to see the bloody reality of what all
their slogans and perverse distortions of
women's rights mean to the thousands of chil-
dren killed each year in the U.S. by abortion. I
got news for them that's exactly why Students
for Life brought G.A.P. to campus. It's about
time they saw the undisputable reality up close
of what they advocate.
Another facet of the larger pro-abortion cul-
ture that Horn brings out in his column is its
hypocrisy. He writes that "one of the worst
things anyone involved in a debate like abortion
can fail to do is recognize the merits of his or her
opposition's argument." Yet he and the rest of
the Daily editorial staff have repeatedly attacked,
ridiculed and distorted pro-lifers views as well
as the purpose and message of G.A.P I for one
am glad that G.A.P's disturbing message con-
tributed to Horn failing his test. The fact that he
couldn't get those pictures of aborted babies out
of his mind speaks volumes as to what G.A.P
has accomplished on this campus. The fact that
he still hasn't changed his mind on abortion
speaks volumes as to the extent that society has
deluded itself into thinking that abortion is really
not the murder of innocent human life.
ANDREW SHIRVELL
PRESIDENT, STUDENTS FOR LIFE
Students should
defend beloved
'Simpsons' time slot
To THE DAILY:
Last week I turned on my television at 6:30
p.m. expecting to hear the timeless theme song
to "The Simpsons." Instead I was given a
migraine headache from the ear-piercing racket
of the of The Rembrants singing the theme to
"Friends." Then I was forced to endure a painful
half hour of six whiny 30-somethings sitting
around at their favorite coffee shop yapping
about their befouled relationships. I know for a
fact that the Simpson's hour was a staple in the
day of many University students.
I am pleading with the readers of the Daily
to call UPN 50's Paul Prangy at 248-355-7012
or e-mail UPN50 at upn0@paramount.com
and voice their discontent over the cancellation
of the Simpson's hour. University students
should not stand for this type of injustice. We
must unite and stand up to the tyranny of UPN
50. Our voices will be heard. Long live Homer

erment can help the common citizen. In the
editorial ("Misguided Help" 10/6/00) the
Daily seems to advocate the individual right
of every citizen to defend themselves from
physical harm.
However, in the past the Daily has be
highly critical of the personal right to bear
arms. It's hard to have it both ways. Either we
have an individual right to defend ourselves
by any means necessary, including the use of
firearms, or the government, state and local,
has the duty to protect each and every person
within its jurisdiction. While the latter path
seems enticing, the editorial plainly shows
the tip of the iceberg of public apathy to per-
sonal crimes. The urban "solution" has been
more police, more gun laws. It is such a con-
venient, sterile way to "protect" your average
citizen. That is, if you live in a very rich
neighborhood, and if you have the luxury of
personal bodyguards (who happen to carry
firearms).
The other path, defending the individual
right to bear arms seems to mollify lawmak-
ers and media moguls. To sustain their elitist
platforms, the constant mention of child vio-
lence is brought up. All the while, no one
looks to see if the facts support the charade.
It is estimated that well over 2 million violent
crimes are prevented annually by the use or
mere brandishing of a firearm. In fact, every
state that has authorized "shall issue" con-
cealed weapons licenses has experienced
decreases in violent crimes at or greater that
the national rate. Not one state has had
increases in violent crimes since the institu-
tion of such concealed weapons laws.
While seemingly illogical, that an armed
populace will result in less violent crimes, a
deeper investigation reveals that this would,
in fact, be natural consequence of allowing
individuals to arm and protect themselves.
After all, why do we even promote self-
defense classes? While martial arts may be a
good tool, most criminals are probably aware
that the average 75-year-old female is proba-
bly unable to prevent a violent attack. Howev-
er, if that same 75-year-old female had a
firearm, and the perpetrator suspected a
strong likelihood of such, such an attack
would probably be prevented before it even
began.
While this debate will rage on until the
Supreme Court clearly defines the second
Amendment, ask yourselves the following
questions: Why do police officers have to be
armed? Why do federal agents have to be
armed? Why not "arm" our police with mar-
tial arts and leave the "deadly" guns unless
they are needed?
JoSEPH Kim
SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY

Hospital cafeteria's
management set
itself up for failure
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Christos
Michalakins' Oct, 4th letter~on the outsourc-
ing of the Hospital Cafeteria.
SOLE is proper in defending the rights
of -the union members who were displaced
during the move to remove the union from
the cafeteria.
The sad part of the story of the Universi-
ty cafeteria is that its own management set it
up for its own failure. Not offering new
products, unwillingness to change, not man-
aging the employees working in this area.
Employees complaining about supervisor
harassment, and the Human Resource
Department failing to correct the problem.
This I know first hand, as I have written up
numerous grievances for the union employ-
ees working in that department.
Michalakins' comment concerning "trail-
er trash" can't go unchecked as I live in a
manufactured home, not a trailer as some
state these to be. It would seem from Micha-
lakins' comments that he cares only about
himself, not for the betterment of all. That is
truly sad, as with the education that the Uni-
versity is bestowing on him, he will have
upon graduation the ability to better his.
brothers and sisters, not just his own self-
centeredness. Also remember that the
employees Michalakins seems to not care
about: Their tax money is also helping to
finance his education.
Finally, the comment concerning equal,
or greater paying jobs came from the Hospi-
tals Management and Administration not the
employees displaced. Even then, the Hospi-
tal could not properly follow the AFSCME
Collective Bargaining Agreement concern-
ing the Reduction in Force. Given the
change in management, and if the employ-
ees could return to their former positions, a
majority would do so. Additionally, what
management did not tell you was that some
of these employees had to change shifts,
find alternate child care, and face disruption
of their family life.
All of this for what, the inability to
properly manage a operation at the Universi-
ty, or trying to save pennies when they could
have made dollars.
GLEN FORD
CHIEF STEWARD MAINTENANCE
AFSCME LOCAL 1583

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KINGSLEY EZEAMAKU 'U'-TOPIA
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