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November 20, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-20

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 20, 2001



aloe irbiman 3iaug

daily. letters@umich.edu

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

The government
of Tonga has lost $26
million. Now, that is
nothing to the U.S.
government, which can
waste $26 million in a
single day merely by
launching a drive to
eliminate government
Syndicated humor columnist Dave
Barry in his Sunday column, "Another
U.S. ally is rocked by a scandal."

A L//

\,-.~NE~j Nckr ?+perC'"


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.



Nth W C A-p~'4



t x x i i.+'S' 1 i . '4

U + U


Growing old (these are the lessons of today)

his past summer, I
had the "privilege"
of working with a
construction company as a
general laborer, assigned to
all the dirty work that goes
into building condomini-
ums. Many of my dear read-
ers would probably much
sooner inhabit these condos
than go anywhere near the
god-awful shit that I had to endure in order to
help build them. For those of you who undoubt-
edly wonder how anyone could tolerate such
means of employment, let me tell you... with
11-hour shifts spent primarily in searing 90-
degree heat, it was the hardest, most enduring
job that I ever had, but it also succeeded in
being the most character building.
Being enveloped in the raw blue-collar ele-
ment for four months shone lights on so many
important things that I once took for granted. Most
of these men know of little more than how to use
their hands to make money, and working 70-hour
weeks is second nature to them. Many of them will
never see a college lecture hall, some have jail or
prison records and many of them lead rather unsa-
vory lifestyles. However, these gentlemen man-
aged to provide me with a savvy. that I wouldn't
really be able to acquire with the "soft" collegiate
life. Hearing them wax poetic with a street smart
edge is highly different, and oftentimes more use-
ful, than a professor boring you out of your senses
for an hour-and-a-half regurgitating from a text
that you used your whole damn life savings to pur-
They also strengthened a resolve that I got at
15 when I began my work life: Never condemn a
person because of their job; if it is putting food in
your mouth and a roof over your head, then play
on, playa. Also, for those who frown on dead-end,

lousy shit jobs, understand that someone has to do
it. College life would be much different if no one
was willing to clean your community dorm bath-
rooms or cook and serve your food for a biweekly
You see, all of these experiences and realiza-
tions help shape the person that I am, and the per-
son that I am to become. I'm growing old, but I am
not yet grown. My 20 years on this planet have
yielded an understanding of things that are perhaps
ahead of my time, but I would be playing myself if
I denied that I have so much more to learn. I am
sure that much of my undergraduate audience
assumes that they are grown because they are over
18 and off to college to live on their own. Legally
speaking, age 18 equals adult status in our country,
but reaching that age in no way equates being a
grown-up; being able to stand on your own two
feet signifies the end of childhood, and only then
are you truly an adult. Imagine if your folks took
everything from you ... tuition, allowance, credit
cards, vehicle ... imagine if they were to just kick
you the hell out of the house altogether. Would
you fold or would you be able to maintain yourself
on your own?
Most of the people close to my age that I
worked with at the job are truly independent; they
may not have what we have, but they work damn
hard for everything that they do have and no one
dictates what they do with their time or money.
Sure enough, I caught monumental amounts of
hell as the token "college boy," but they made me
think long and hard about where I do and do not
want to be when I reach certain periods in my life.
I do have a healthy fear of the future; as I draw
closer to my senior year at college, I can't help but
to sweat the idea that this "good life" thing is
almost over. I hate bills, I can't cook, full-time
jobs are like kryptonite, and the walls are closing
in fast on the days in which I don't have to sub-
merge myself into these things. The most gratify-

ing aspect of my situation is the fact that I am
gradually working my way out of the depths of
childhood into my independence, as opposed to
being dropped face first without a safety harness
into the real world like some people. I do most
things on my own these days, but I ain't too proud
to admit that my folks remain my safety net, at
least for the time being, anyway....
So what constitutes growing old?
Growing old is about understanding your pri-
orities, and realizing that oftentimes the little
things in life matter more than the big things.
Growing old is recognizing that there are two sides
to every story. Growing old is knowing that the
measure of a mian is not determined by the strength
of his punches, but by the strength of his wit to dis-
solve a situation sans violence. Growing old is
realizing that there are always two sides to every
story. Growing old is realizing that the menial
bullshit that we concerned ourselves with in high
school actually has little weight in the real world.
Growing old is knowing when to accept cer-
tain people into your life, and when to distance
yourself from others. Growing old is realizing
that, when all is said and done, no one can tell
you what to think or believe. Growing old is
accepting nothing at face value. Growing old is
the constant expunging of naivete. Growing old
is when the world begins to make a lot more
sense, only for you to realize that it really makes
no sense at all. Growing old is a lifelong process
that doesn't stop at adulthood or parenthood ...
hell, it won't stop until you are dead. If I ever
find myself in a moment of lamenting reevalua-
tion shortly before death, I would wish to con-
elude that the growing I did in the time that I
spent here was relevant to myself and others ... if
not, then what was the point?

Lost causes and lost partners



here was a time
when I was known
as the liberal one. In
high school I was even voted
"class liberal" in our mock
elections, having to settle for
that over the more coveted
"most likely to succeed" and
"best body" titles.
Then there was a time I
somehow became known as the conservative one
amongst a group of college colleagues, my support
of gun control, affirmative action, unions, abortion
rights, nationalized health care, assisted suicide
and environmentalism notwithstanding. Where did
I go wrong? I think it was when I said I supported
free trade and refused to condemn consumerism.
There was even a little row over genetically modi-
fied foods.
But that was mere quibbling we could all
laugh about before the subject of foreign policy
suddenly came up. Then, bombs started to fall on
Afghanistan and the sky started to fall on my more
leftist compatriots. They said we shouldn't fight
because it would only create more bin Ladens.
They started complaining about how we were just
paying the price for not appreciating other cultures
enough. They said millions of Afghanis would
starve because of what we're doing. And they
pointed to civilian casualties as evidence our
actions were wrong.
Of course, if our war really does create more
bin Ladens, they'll be bin Ladens without the
money, organization, celebrity status, fundraising
ability and Afghan government protection. We
may not understand their cultures, but arguing we
should turn the other cheek shows a remarkable
lack of understanding of our own. It turns out that

vastly more food is going into Afghanistan now
than in any period before Sept. 11. And if some-
one's really worried about bombs hitting innocent
people, they should dedicate themselves to design-
ing more accurate bombs. You'll save a lot more
lives doing that than protesting.
It's also ironic to be told this is our fault for not
understanding other countries by people whose
day job is advocating cutting our economic links
with them.
War isn't always bad and peace isn't always
good. Reflexively adopting an anti-war stance is a
rather conservative view of liberalism and an unre-
alistic one. Opposing a certain war for good rea-
sons is admirable. Being anti-war generally is
politically and morally illogical, not to mention
dangerous, in our violence-plagued world.
It's too bad some think that's a conservative
view. Campus "liberals" used to be at the van-
guard of social justice. But after listening to them
tell us we can accept terrorism and that bombing a
demonstrably insane totalitarian regime makes us
cold blooded murderers, what can they say they
stand for except calling Americans nasty names?
What's going on at the extreme left is almost
as bad as what's happening on the right. One side
defends the killers of Americans, while the other
casually dispenses with the principles that have
defined Americans.
George W. Bush managed to move to the right
of modern-day Torquemada, Rep. Bob Barr by
setting up military tribunals because the U.S. jus-
tice system wouldn't execute foreigners efficiently
enough for his taste. John Ashcroft decided to end
attorney client privilege for whomever he decides
falls into his very broad definition of a terrorist
suspect. And Bush then buried Reagan administra-
tion records that would likely make some in his

administration look bad; and maybe even look like
war criminals.
C'mon Nader. Shrug and tell me there's no
difference who wins now.
The reason I'm so annoyed with far left types
is that things could be going much more to their
liking, and mine, if they were realistic. If they had
voted rationally last year, Bush wouldn't be classi-
fying trade protesters as terrorists and I doubt Gore
would've managed to out-conservative Bob Barr.
We now have a real injustice being perpetrated
against terrorists and everyone else in the civil lib-
erties that we seem to be losing by the hour. Those
on the far left could have played a constructive
role in the fight for our liberties, which, unlike the
fight to save the Taliban, is winnable. But I fear
they may have blown their credibility with the
public at-large thanks to their shifting and continu-
ously misinformed defense of those who hate us.
As it becomes ever more clear that those on
the far left are unwilling to work with others to get
outcomes closer, if not all the way, to their goals
and are enamored of loony foreign policy posi-
tions, they are only marginalizing themselves. I
won't be so condescending as to say, "grow up
already," but they need to realize where they are
placing themselves and that they are only making
other things they care about worse and harder to
change when they spend time banging their heads
on lost and pointless causes. The way things are
going, we may be looking at 21st Century Alien
and Sedition Acts before long. It would have been
nice to have my more leftist friends as credible
partners in fighting them instead of having to rely
on Bob Barr.
Peter Cunniffe can be reached
via e-mail atpcunni#@umich.edu:



For those of you planning to travel the
friendly skies over Thanksgiving, I suggest you
show up two hours early and leave your rights
at home. While the events of Sept. 11 have
been described as an attack on freedom, this
clich6 could be as aptly applied to our
response. In the name of defending our country
from future terrorist attacks, we have allowed
the government to impose Draconian restric-
tions on air travel that do much more harm than
We want to say that we're doing something
- that we've taken steps to ensure that this
cannot happen again. But there is no reason to
believe that the increased security already
implemented in every American airport even
curbs the instances of hijacked planes. Terror-
ists as motivated as these are bound to find a
weakness in any system we can devise - espe-
cially considering that most of the terrorists at
the airports that day were not on the planes.
Rather than put an end to the threat of ter-
rorist hijackings, the new security measures
have only succeeded in making travelers

uncomfortable and crippling the airline indus-
try. Americans can not accept public searches,
confiscations of their belongings, and other
authoritarian security procedures for long.
Every time a citizen is forced to watch security
guards pick through his or her private belong-
ings or suffer an invading pat-down, the level
of discomfort with flying increases. Beyond the
fate of the airline industry, our modern, global
economy relies on swift air travel to continue
trade. With fewer people willing to fly, is it any
wonder that the national economy has taken a
Rather than suffer through autocratic levels
of security, we must accept a certain level of
danger to be involved with flying. Despite the
fact that driving is still statistically much more
dangerous than flying, until airport security
relaxes again, I am more than willing to take
that risk and preserve my dignity as a citizen of
a free state.
- Seth Fisher
In Passing views are those of individual
members of the Daily's editorial board
and do not necessarily represent the
views of The Michigan Daily.


ROTC offers 'most
intense leadership
course' at University
Obviously, Eric Moberg is a bit confused
about the activities of the Reserve Officer
Training Corps programs here on campus
("ROTC promotes conformity, damages
integrity of 'U,"' 11/16/01). Please allow me
to explain it to him.

Moberg also mistakenly argues that
besides money, ROTC offers nothing that
cannot be found elsewhere on campus.
ROTC is the most intense leadership devel-
opment course this university has to offer.
The average ROTC cadet will spend a
mandatory four to fifteen hours a week in
either class or physical training, depending
on what year and that does not include
study or preparation time. Need I remind
Moberg that ROTC does not count for
degree credit in the College of Literature,
Science and the Arts.
Not onlv do we rock climb and renel but

long hours. They deserve the best leaders
in the nation. These leaders definitely
should be of the caliber and stature of the
Engineering junior
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all
of its readers. Letters from University students,
faculty, staff and administrators will be given
priority over others. Letters must include the
writer's name, phone number and school year or
I niversirv affiliation. The Daily will not orint


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