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November 10, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-11-10

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 10, 2000

ghle firtichtgan:43atild

Chicken soup for the losers

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
dailyletters@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.

Profiling persecution
Laws needed to combat racial profiling

did not have a dream the other night
wherein my vote decided the presidential
election. This non-dream, not existing as it
did not, did not change my dubious opinion
of our electoral process. On Tuesday I did
not vote.
I wanted to vote on Tuesday. I didn't regis-
ter in time. For several
weeks certain people
have criticized my
irrevocable impotence-
in this matter. They
said that for my sake,
Al Gore had better not
lose. In defense, all Ik
was able to do was
shrug and look plain-
tively toward Nov. 7,
which barreled both
toward and away from Patrick
me at once.K
But my position Kley
inside the blind eye of Talking n
a hurricane has afford-
ed me ample time to P
consider voting from
an empirically rich and practically poor
viewpoint. The only solid conclusion I have
reached is that democracy purveys for some
anguishing compromises. You are my case in
point: Right now half of you are reacting as
if the post office has finally delivered the
rejection letter from the graduate school you
esteem.
And so, in the same tone in which you
might say, "at least I applied," you are now
saying, "at least I voted." Or perhaps you are

more progressive: "I will keep applying until
I get in." Or more reflective: "I truly believed
in Ralph Nader." Or bitter: "I'm going to
Cuba."
Whoever you are, I think now is the time
to assess beliefs and test convictions. The
new president will soon bend and break
whispered promises, but that's part of his job.
You are a civilian, purely anonymous and
shielded only with the integrity of your con-
science. Your vote never existed nearly so
much as your opinions. Here, now, tenuous
on this fulcrum between teeter and totter, we
will see what you really think.
Here's what I think: There ought to be
either universal health care coverage or else
complimentary headstones and eternal
flames provided by the government. School
vouchers ought to be good only for students
that intend to privately pursue Ebonics. A
woman's right to choose should extend to
include her sexual orientation. We ought to
be ruled by philosopher-kings.
I'm lucky I have a column. It gives a non-
voter the unique opportunity to convey senti-
ments that perhaps have no business outside
the vacuun of my mind. I do not know if
anyone else would find this brief spotlight a
sating substitute for the meek voice of a vote,
but I do.
Neither do I know if the rest of this
nation's voters personalize the ideologies and
mediated character-images of the candidates
so strongly as I am inclined to do. I suspect,
from recent observations of impromptu liv-
ing-room political debates which are seem-
ingly fueled by fist-clenching,

bull-headedness in the face of opposin>
opinion that the answer is mostly yes anU
that emotion is an integral motivator in poli-
tics and government. Perhaps a Gore or Bush
sticker (to be slapped on the clothed breast,
inches above the nucleus of the fiery beating
blood that conjoins us with everything demo-
cratic) comes at the cost of the objectivity
and individuation of our minds.
These are impossibly flexible and slippery
questions that I am asking. I don't claim to
know the answers, if there are any. ButE
know that there is something about voting
that both attracts and repels us. When you
went to vote, was there any tinge of futility
or surge of absurdity that spilled onto your
ballot? If your guy lost, whom can you damn
but yourself? Are you now prepared to
loosen your tired tentacles and suction to
something new, something that before would
have had you wretch with contradiction?
I am. In the next election I am going to
vote quietly, ponderously. And if my guy
loses I will be the first to re-examine
opinions under the urgency of a new set o
facts. I will be the first to draw up a compro-
mise that favors communal improvement
over self-righteousness.
By now we know who the new president
is. He is a white, Christian man. He was cat-
apulted into office, a late-birth, by votes from
that sun-baked phallus we call Florida. Let'ยง
make the best of this. And if this new guy
does something that truly insults our integr
ty, let's not pout, let's revolt.
- Patrick Kilev can be reached bv e-mail
at pkiley@umich.edui.

D espite the many civil rights victo-
ries that have been won in the
past 30 years, the discriminatory
practices which fuelled the activists
of the 1960s are still present in some
parts of the American criminal justice
system. Racial profiling is an exam-
ple of this kind of skin color preju-
dice and has been recognized as a
practice that needs to be stopped.
According to a recent Gallup Poll,
81 percent of Americans believe that
racial profiling is problem that needs
to be addressed. Many African Amer-
icans, including members of Con-
gress, prominent business officials
and athletes have been stopped on
America's highways, guilty only of
the offense that has been dubbed
"Driving while black." The issue has
been nationally recog-
nized as one that can- Racial pro
not be ignored: Both
no einrd ohnational and state leg- problem ti
islatures need to pass
laws that will help to to the per
curb this blatantly dis-
criminatory practice. of many i
One of the first m
tasks of the 107th minorities
Congress should be to
move the "Traffic
S tops Statistics Study Act of 2000,"
H.R. 1443) from committee to the
floor for debate. The Traffic Stops
Statistics Act would offer incentives
for those police departments that keep
a detailed record of all traffic stops, a
record that would include the ethnici-
ty, age and gender of those people
stopped as well as the reason that the
stop was made. The passage of this
bill, which has more than 60 co-spon-
sors, would be a significant step in
addressing an issue that has been rec-
ognized across party lines as one of
national importance.
However, H.R. 1443 does not call
for a specific policy regarding the
conducting of traffic stops. Legisla-
tion needs to be drafted and passed,
both on the federal and state levels,
which both regulates and sets stan-
dards for such traffic stops. In the
1996 decision of the case Whren v.
United States, the Supreme Court
upheld that a police officer making a

r
,

traffic stop does not need to be moti-
vated by a desire to enforce traffic
laws that were potentially broken. It
is important that there is legislation
that ensures that the ability of the
police to pull over motorists with
minimal reason is curbed to the extent
that no person's fourth amendment
protection against unreasonable
search and seizure are infringed.
Legislation regarding the problem
of racial profiling however should not
be limited to the federal government.
Every state should also require the
collection of traffic stop data, repli-
cating the efforts of North Carolina
which on April 21, 1999 passed the
first law in the United States which
makes the collection of such informa-
tion mandatory.
Although there are
filing is a atempts at legislation
directed at ending
Wa leads racial profili ngat
boththe nationa and
ecution state levels, individual
cities should volun-
nocent teer the collection of
the kind of data pro-
posed by H.R. 1443.
In Portland, Oregon
and San Diego, the
police departments have begun to vol-
untarily collect traffic stop data
although there are currently no laws
requiring them to do so. The ACLU
has recommended that the 50 largest
U.S. cities follow suit, however there
is no reason for this type of action to
be limited to areas with high popula-
tions.
Millions of people across the Unit-
ed States have come to recognize that
racial profiling is a problem that
leads to the persecution of innocent
minorities, the compromised integrity
of the justice system and distrust of
police officers by minorities and
therefore also by potential jurors.
However, it is not enough to recog-
nize that the problem exists, it is nec-
essary for lawmaking bodies at both
the federal and state levels to pass
legislation and for cities and towns to
take voluntary action in an effort to
end an unwritten policy that is both
discriminatory and un-American.

It's warfare - Crips and Bloods.'
- Engineering sophomore Robert Hampton on th4
presidential voting dispute in Florida.

Not enou space
Campus parking inadequate for students

Reader laments:
Daily is 'a bunch of
liberal crap'
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing to the Daily because all I
ever read is a bunch of liberal crap. There
was no reason that Al Gore should have
lost this election. He was the current vice
president and the economy is good. With
those two reasons alone, he should have
won. The only way for him not to win is
by presenting himself as someone who
couldn't run the country. Gore did just
that. The only thing lie did was make
promises that he had no proof that he
would carry out. That's what lost him the
election. Bush presented himself as a
leader who could run a country like he ran
Texas. You can blame Nader and talk about
the votes in Florida, but Bush won and I'm
glad he did.
NICK SOTO
ENGINEERING FIRST-YEAR STUDENT
North Campus
sidewalk not waste
TO THE DAILY:
As a long-time student on North Cam-
pus, I must comment on a recent letter to the
Daily ("University wasting money on N.
Campus," I1, 9100) which complains about
money being wasted on North Campus.
The new sidewalk by the Dow building
has been badly needed for a long time. In
1992, when I walked the path from Bursley
to the Dow building several times per day, I
could either walk the extra distance on the
sidewalk and double-back one hundred feet
or cut the corner and walk across the grass
or, as is more common in Michigan, the
mud. By paving that small area, the Uni-
versity is actually responding to students'
needs. To re-sod the area would have been
a waste of money.
I have always believed that when the
University constructs a building that
changes the flow of pedestrian traffic, they
should sod the whole area around it and the
next spring, pave whatever has been trod-
den.

I think the real waste of money up here
is the bell tower without a clock.
MARK STOCK
RACKHAM
'Scott' campaign
tactics are disturbing
TO THE DAILY:
As the green T-shirts appear all over cam-
pus, it's hard to separate yourself from the
"Scott" controversy. Aside from the total van-
dalism of the campus, the "Scott" followers
have intruded on yet another space, our person-
al religious beliefs. Like many other students. I
was tricked into Campus Crusade for Christ's
little game. I did however emerge from my
conversations with the followers a little more
educated about their campaign and more
strongly aware of why I disagree.
For those who do not know, this idea started
at Michigan State, where followers wore shirts
reading "Do you agree with John." John in this
case referring to John the Baptist, a significant

t

arking at the University is ram-
P pant with inadequacy and ineffi-
ciency. The amount of parking is
woefully minuscule in comparison to
the faculty and students who seek to
utilize it. Further exacerbating the
problem, the mass transit systems
available to the University communi-
ty are riddled with problems and have
been ineffective in relieving the park-
ing crisis.
While Parking and Transportation
Services acknowledges that "parking
for students at the University is very
limited and we encourage students to
leave their vehicles at home," it is not
always an option to leave one's vehi-
cle at home. As affordable housing
near the University remains a scarce
commodity, it follows that students
who, for various reasons, are forced
to live farther from the University
would seek to drive to cam pus. While
the Ann Arbor Transit Authority and
the University bus system might pro-
vide a means of transportation for
some, these are not sufficient for all
and often require additional time
commuting. Numerous faculty, staff
and students commute from signifi-
cant distances, which mass transit
simply cannot service. And there are
often problems regarding the frequen-
cy, capacity and reliability of the bus
service.
There are also problems with the
time schedule of mass transit. While
the bus system becomes infrequent
late at night and on the weekends,
student life remains active. Even after
the last bus of the night, there are
people who need to go across campus
and are presented with few readily
available options.
Even in the midst of an apparent

parking shortage, the distribution of
what parking exists does not properly
meet the needs of students. Currently
students are relegated to far-flung lots
at the very edges of the University.
What "decent" parking that was avail-
able for students was quickly snapped
up at the initial sale, held on a first
come first serve basis. These lots also
suffer from the worst bus service.
Some students have expressed safety
concerns regarding late night treks to
these lots. Faculty and staff at the
University can currently obtain closer
parking at more frequently serviced
lots.
The ultimate solution to the Uni-
versity's parking woes would be the
addition of more parking spaces and
the improvement of the mass transit
systems. Some initiatives have been
undertaken on these matters: A new
lot has opened on Fuller St. (though it
is reserved for staff parking), new
parking decks are in the works and
various late-night taxi services have
been implemented. These initiatives
should be expanded, making them
more readily apparent and available
to the University community.
More frequent bus service would
be an important improvement. The
possible 20 minutes or more between
pickups at bus stops is not acceptable.
The University's long standing Van-
pool practice (car pooling in a Uni-
versity vehicle) might be expanded to
include students as well as staff. The
current situation needs many
improvements; There is no reason
why students must spend a minor
eternity waiting for a parking space to
appear or rely upon a bus system
which has been known to drive past
waiting students.

nothing more than the leader of Michigan's
Christian Coalition and what he is asking is if
we "agree" with him. This is my main reason
for disagreeing. I am all for religion. I believe
in God, Satan, Heaven and Hell, but I also
believe that it is our personal nght to believe
whatever we choose without outside influenc1
By flooding the campus with posters and T-
shirts and luring in people to hear the "word of
Scott," he is trying to influence our beliefs and
persuade them to his ideals. He is telling us
that what we believe is fundamentally wrong.
Now, I must say that I have talked with
many Scott followers around campus and dis-
cussed my viewpoint with them. I have yet to
find someone who has argued their point with
me or told me that I'm going'to hell like some
previous Diag protesters. However, I find th
fact that I was tricked into this in the first placi
and the fact that a man has such a huge follow-
ing on campus disturbing. Scott has hundreds
of people around campus preaching his words
to people who under normal circumstances
would not stop to listen. Is this an effective
campaign? Yes. Is it safe or right for our cam-
pus? No.
DAVID LEVY
1 C'A cnun A

figurehead in Chrnstianity. Scott however is LSA SOPHOMO
DANE BARNES DISTURBED SLEEPJ
-
NOW Vfu T to, SC
t-
/ ()
rr

1

Scott Week' should be viewed witnout prejudice

I

By Justin Hamilton
Daily Editorial Staff
The University is a place which fosters
diversity and seeks to expand students' view-
points and life experiences. Diversity, of culture,
of experience, and of ideology, is an object
cherished for its ability to further educate and to
encourage personal growth. Parallel with the
goal of promoting diversity, several student
organizations have asked the question, "Do you
agree with Scott?"; and for all who have been
wondering Scott believes in God, the Bible, and
"basic" Christianity. The burning question
behind "Scott week" is not that plastered across
the campus; more aptly the question itching in

thoughtfully considering his beliefs?
It has been said that this University is too
liberal and prejudiced against Christianity for
any meaningful and evenhanded dialogue to
exist; that is an utter blatant banality. The Uni-
versity's commitment to diversity and open
exchange preclude the overt dismissal of any
hope for intelligent dialogue. Only those who
fear that they just might be proven wrong would
not advocate intelligent contemplation, this is
not the diag preacher ranting at you; rather an
effort to open lines of communication and allow
for free discourse upon the subject of God. Is
"Scott week" an evil ploy of a vast right wing
conspiracy? No. The stereotypes about Chris-
tianity do not reflect the people behind "Scott
_.aa ' r,, _ m " .aol haanr an l

versation. The challenge raised is to fairly an
openly address your beliefs without externl
prejudices. As the chalk near Angell Hall ha
addressed, "Scott week" does concern evangeli
cal Christianity, but rather than being "sketchy
it is a sincere effort to promote open exchang
on matters of religion, faith, and God.
"Religion, morality, and knowledge beni
necessary to good government and the hap
ness of mankind" an open intercourse on t
topics can only further the good of the Universi
ty, thus fulfilling another message near Ange
Hall, that inscribed into the very masonry of th
University.agc
The question does remain, "Do you a
with Scott?" You are encouraged to find you

E 1

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