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March 20, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-20

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The Michigan Daily -uesday, March 20, 2001
xe WtIct'g'z Btfti

420 MAYNAR SmREdT
ANN ARBOR., MI 48109
dail}? lei ers ()~umicli.edu

Fight fire with fire
MANISH RAIJI NTHGtCTCY

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EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
Editorial Page Editors

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.

The rational thing to
(do in the face of a
Michigan Student
Assembly election is to
laugh quietly and refuse the
flyers. The rational thing to
do is to realize that MSA,
though functional in some
aspects, isn't nearly the
powerful body that some
profess it to be. The rational thing to do is to
simply not vote.
Unfortunately, a cursory look at MSA will
show anyone that it isn't exactly a haven for
rationality. While all the rational people do the
rational thing (which is anything but voting),
what are the irrational people doing? All of the
irrational people are holed up in a dark comput-
er lab, voting - irrationally. When all the ratio-
nal people opt out of the voting procedure, we
end up with DAAP/BAMN at the helm, and
everything goes to pot.
While it's true that MSA doesn't have the
power that many candidates profess that it does
(I'm sorry, but people can promise as many
parking lots as they'd like - it's not going to
happen because of MSA), there is no doubt that
MSA provides a useful service to students. I
have to admit that most of the committees are
generally impotent and provide little more than
a fancy title for resume-minded representatives.
But there are things that MSA does which are
important.
First and foremost, the president of MSA is
a tangible liaison between students and Univer-
sity Board of Regents. At all the regent meet-
ings, the MSA president is given the opportunity
to address the regents and provide a real voice
for student concerns. Electing a competent,
intelligent president does more for student con-
cerns than any amount of experience-building,
ultimately useless, committees.

Secondly, though the individual contribution
to MSA is negligible - $5 isn't exactly a finan-
cial burden - the cumulative amount of cash
that MSA controls warrants a vested interest in
their actions. With that money, MSA can fund
any of a seemingly infinite number of programs
that provide a direction for campus politics.
Take, for example, the Affirmative Action 102
debacle. This "educational experience" was rail-
roaded by the more vocal members of the
assembly, and was turned into an incredibly
biased attempt at providing affirmative action
propaganda, instead of providing a reasonable
and well-rounded debate about the pros and
cons of affirmative action. The defense of this is
that none of the anti-affirmative action speakers
wished to come, but the fact is that Ward Con-
nerly was the only anti-affirmative action speak-
er invited, while a seemingly endless list of
defenders were invited. The result? An entire
campus seemingly in favor of affirmative
action, when it's fairly obvious that this campus
is split between defenders and detractors of
affirmative action.
It would be one thing if every single candi-
date was the same, or if MSA didn't have an
enormous budget. I wouldn't care if no one
except the loons voted if MSA was as useless as
people like to believe it is. It's one thing when a
relatively hannless candidate - like Hideki -
wins the election, but it's another thing entirely
when hardcore activists - like DAAP - win.
Certain people can steer the assembly in a direc-
tion that isn't particularly in tune with the stu-
dent body, and that can be dangerous.
Which brings me to that issue: The Hideki
issue. No one involved with MSA wants you to
vote for Hideki. I've got a personal theory about
this.
The average MSA candidate is the kid you
hated in high school: Always wore dress slacks
from Hudson's, got a haircut twice a month (at a

salon!), and actually owned and operated a pair
of penny loafers. These are the kids who had,
and still have, a whole crew of people willing to
tack up catchy little flyers in the gym locker
room and throw little caramel candies to the stu-
dent body, knowing that each thrust of their
sweets-laden, atrophied arm would secure one
more vote. These are the kids who your mother
wanted you to hang out with after school, sim-
ply because they got good at tricking everyone
into believing that they weren't one of the ones
smoking weed under the football bleachers.
These are the kids who were on a first-name
basis with all the teachers ("Hey Chuck, how's
the missus?"). These are the kids who spent
their summers in D.C. licking a senator's shoes
to a clean shine and dreaming of money, power,
respect. These are the kids who won - and got
used to winning.
And then Hideki came along and changed
that for them. Suddenly, they weren't so sure
about winning, and they couldn't help but shit in
their $35 Lord & Taylor boxers. Hideki walked
into his first MSA meeting with virtually the
entire assembly hating him, and they still hate
him. It's all very juvenile, because it's clear that
they don't care about the work that can be done
as MSA president, they only care about adding
another line to the old resume.
Most of the candidates don't care - and
things will run just as they have if those people
win. But there are candidates who do care, and
there is some danger in that. Irrational motiva-
tion is dangerous, and if the rational people bask
in the sunlight while irrationality wins the elec-
tion, this campus could be in for some trouble.
Do the rational thing - be irrational and
vote.
Manish Raiji's column runs every
other Tuesday. Give him feedback
at www.michigandaily.com/forum or
via e-mail at mrayii@umich.edu.

I -

Nolan wrongly took
credit for Voice Your*
Vote success
TO THE DAILY:
I was disappointed Sunday night during
the Michigan Student Assembly Presiden-
tial debates to hear Blue Party presidential
candidate Matt Nolan take credit for last
fall's voter registration program.
Voice Your Vote, the organization that
conducted the voter registration program,
is an MSA commission that last fall was
superbly managed by outgoing MSA repre-
sentative Shari Katz and is now adeptly
chaired by Josh Samek.
The Voice Your Vote leadership board
is a mixture of students from different
political ideologies and different student
groups - there are both liberals and con-
servatives,tand students from the Detroit
Project, Vagina Monologues and many
other student organizations.
Most of the Voice Your Vote leader-
ship, in fact, has no other involvement with
student government aside from Voice Your
Vote and is not bound to any student gov-
ernment party. However, it is important to
recognize that the success of Voice Your
Vote last fall was not due to its leadership.
In the end, it was the hard work of hun-
dreds of student volunteers who made the
registration of 6,800 voters possible last
fall.
CHRIS MILLER
LSA sophomore
Tietz 'an extremist,
represents 'far-right'
of Republican party
TO THE DAILY:
As former College Republican presi-
dents, we are both disappointed and dis-

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couraged by the campaign of Doug Tietz
for Michigan Student Assembly President.
Through our leadership roles, we have both
devoted a considerable portion of our col-
lege years to furthering the Republican
cause. We can say with certainty that Tietz
does not represent these same Republican
ideals.
Over the last two years, College Repub-
licans has become an organization that
embraces all of those who call themselves
Republican and not any particular ideolo-
gy. We brought Black and Latino Republi-
cans to campus and celebrated the
mushrooming libertarian wing. The United
States of America has developed into a
more racially and socially heterogeneous
society and any reasonable assessment of
the future foretells the intensification of
this tendency. The future of our party
depends upon our ability to engage all
Americans of every background and all
social positions. 93 percent of African
Americans voted for Al Gore - we have a
lot of work to do.
Doug Tietz aligns himself with the most
extreme wing of the party - he is not a
Republican, he is an extremist. This far-
right of the Republican party includes
many individuals that do not acknowledge

A-;,

the multiplicity of ideologies that are the
Republican party.
Their extreme views on abortion, for-
eign affairs, animal rights, etc. are not
shared with even the majority of Republi-
cans, never mind the University student
body. By voting for individuals like Doug
Tietz we forfeit our ability to call ourselves
judicious, reasonable, and even democratic
(little d).
We are good Republicans: We work for
Republicans and love the Grand Old Party.
We cannot, however, stand idly by and
watch our party's banner be trashed at this
institution. Fellow Republicans, let us
chalk up a small victory here at Michigan.
Let us oust from our ranks those who drag
us down electorally and disgrace us pub-
licly.
We hold the Mantle of Lincoln, now
let's embrace it. While many of the Michi-
gan Party candidates are worthy of our
regard-we must reject Doug Tietz and his
brand of extremism.
RORY DIAMOND.
BARB LAMBERT
LSA seniors
Lambert was the president of the University
chapter of the College Republicans from 2000 -
2001, Diamond was the presidentfrom.1999 - 2000.

Faith in the distance, eyes squinting
GINA HAMADEY CAUGHT PROVOKING

espite criticism,
members of Con-
gress are planning
to introduce legislation this
week supporting Bush's
proposal to allow financing
for religious charities.
The social programs
M this would support include
child welfare, job training
and hunger relief. Though it seems a clear
breach of the separation of church and state, the
programs would supposedly exclude prayer and
worship. Would they even prove beneficial?
Would we, as college students, turn to religion
for financial help instead of to the government if
we needed it? I think the answer is largely "no,"
because many college students are apathetic
regarding religion. I am no exception.

At this point I was so irked by his evasion of our
issues that I indignantly raised my hand and in a
clearly annunciated, evenly toned voice asked
him what the church thinks of oral sexy He just
stared at me, eyes agog.
After this day, which was supposed to clar-
ify what it means to be a Catholic, I thought to
myself: "If I am supposed to seek answers to
ethical questions through my church, why,
when asked directly, won't the church
answer?"
I took this skepticism with me to college,
where it festered into something of a denuncia-
tion of religion. It makes perfect sense; in col-
lege one learns to look at things critically,
forming an argument using empirical, logical
evidence. And my religion, which had been a
given since childhood, was not checking out
empirically.
4. thrmh n othe .1 c- 1, ricifc T tnrnu~ rina

was starting high school. I started growing para-
noid about them, imagining them getting into
car accidents and other horrible things. I caught
myself like this - worrying like a grandmother
at 21 years of age - and I wondered why. After
some thought I recalled that throughout my life,
whenever I worried about something, I would
pray and consider the matter settled, up to God
and out of my hands. Without that step worry-
ing had no end, no closure.
So I have been trying to get back into reli-
gion. I have been praying again. And this past
Thanksgiving in New York I was not critical
regarding the rosary. I sat back and said it,
mumbling along next to my English-speaking
cousins, exchanging winks with them when we
mispronounced the words.
As college students, we tend to place more
importance on reason and logic than on faith.
'Thirms'in nP.c a y'A n-iv plnn fath, in axaitha~t

I~~~~ ti((rtt trid rn'ihwt it . v'i3cvn tiscntct nnOut

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