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February 07, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-07

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 7, 2002

OP/ED

(ibze AIItIWZU &tiij

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

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

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
" The chance of
war between these
two nuclear-armed
states is higher
than at any point
since 1971.
- CIA Director George Tenet to
the Senate Intelligence Committee
on military escalation between
Indiaand Pakistan as quoted by
Agence France-Presse

SAM BUTLER TiE SOAPBOX
excUyw 'f. ,1
** 3*o * yn ee
Wt vSact C+ n$

6
0

Learning to laugh about evil plots
DAVID HORN HORNOGRAPHY

Thave always been a
' fairly opinionated per-
son, and far be it from
me to shy away from an
argument. I have noticed
within the last few years,
however, that I have
restrained my eagerness to
interject and force my
opinions on people every
time their point of view is incongruent with
my own. Issues like prayer in school, gun
control and affirmative action all once riled
me up so bad I made Bobby Knight look
comatose.
I was recently glancing through a copy of
the Cincinnati Enquirer (my friend from the
'nati is correct, the Daily is a better paper)
and I stumbled onto the editorial page. The
reader's views were, unsurprisingly, small-
minded, and the syndicated columns were
unflinchingly right wing and what's worse,
poorly written! To see a newspaper allow
such idiocy to have its space would in my
past have resulted in a heart attack, but I
moved on to the sports section with a surpris-
ing amount of calm. After all, it's not like I'm
curing cancer or winning Pulitzers in this
space every other week.
For some time I have been trying to react
civilly to blatant examples of public narrow-
mindedness. For example, when I found out
about John Ashcroft's recent covering of par-

tially nude statues in the Justice Department I
just laughed. At him.
I guess I'm convinced that decisions like
those are so innately stupid and closed-mind-
ed that people, for the most part, can see for
themselves how absurd the likes of John
Ashcroft are when they do that.
I have found myself increasingly offend-
ed at more subtle attempts to manipulate my
views. When I see abuses of the nation's
political ignorance for political gain - and
the Bush Administration has often done just
that - I still find myself reverting to my old
irritation.
Those of you who watched the five-hour
commercial marathon that is the Super Bowl
might remember two commercials claiming
that if you bought and used drugs that you
helped support the same terrorists we are cur-
rently at war with. Come on. First of all, the
commercials did not bother supporting this
bold accusation with any sort of fact. Sec-
ondly, most of America's weed is grown here
anyway and I can promise you that Vince,
the sketchy 30 year-old who lives in the
basement of your house with his heat lamps
and packets of nutrient does not funnel the
$50 you give him to Osama bin Laden. Even
the harder drugs we import are bought from
enterprising South American capitalists (we
call them "drug lords") who have a vested
interest in keeping America's boarders rela-
tively open (Sep. 11 has so far seemed to

have the opposite effect). But the saddest
possible result of this brand of accusations is
that drug users who need our help with rehab
and social education are now being put on
the same level as the terrorists. This isn't a
discussion on drug policy. My point is sim-
ply that these subtleties can often be the most
dangerous.
The common thread that I find most
galling in every issue that has recently
annoyed me has been using the public's emo-
tions to further a political objective that
serves questionable means. Politicians have
always used national ignorance for their
advantage, but that doesn't justify the contin-
uation of the practice, especially as we brave
an extraordinarily vulnerable crossroads as a
nation.
Pulling out of the ABM treaty and Presi-
dent Bush's most recent budget (which calls
for substantial increases in military spending)
are issues that the administration has fur-
thered by calling upon vague concepts of
"patriotism" and "right" (as opposed to mani-
fest destiny) for public support and political
gain. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking that I can
see behind these politician's fagade and into
their evil plots, but I think it would be benefi-
cial for everyone to look at future policy ini-
tiatives with a bit of skepticism. And laugh.
David Horn can be reached
athornd@umich.edu.

0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Giant cross should be
tasteful, Cunniffe should
promote campus unity
TO THE DAILY:
Peter Cunniffe's column, The World's
Biggest What? (2/5/02) and the letters printed
yesterday, should be of great concern to any-
one seeking to justify a cause through ratio-
nal thought. The issue in question - a
250-foot tall crucifix - would be a poor
reflection on the aesthetic standards of the
Ann Arbor community. It is important to
remember the context in which this crucifix
would be placed. A highway intersection is
the place for the signs of gas stations and
fast food restaurants - for non-Christians,
the concern surrounds what would amount to
the presence of a garish advertisement ten
times the size of any in the area. For Chris-
tians, there should be some thought given to
how tasteful we should be when pursuing
evangelistic goals.
Tom Monaghan's crucifix would be so
unavoidable that I would argue that much of
the meaning would be lost. It is not much
different than the Christian billboards lining
our highways that are pretentiously signed,
"God." I think that Catholics/Christians
should be more judicious when deciding
what messages they wish to send when rep-
resenting their faith.
That said, I would like to criticize Peter
Cunniffe's use of this issue as an excuse to
voice his opinions regarding religion and
abortion. There are better ways to express

those views - in this case, he has merely
hidden behind an issue which is more about
good taste and property development than
religious stance. Unfortunately, all he has
accomplished is division between Christians
and non-Christians when there should be
unity to keep Ann Arbor a pleasant and
beautiful place to study, work and live.
JOSHUA SIMANSKEY
Junior Taubman College of
Architecture and Urban Planning
1
Cunniffe 's arguments cause
readers brain to spin in circles
TO THE DAILY:
In Peter Cunniffe's column The World's
Biggest What? (2/5/02) he states that "Most
people in Ann Arbor respect those of other
faiths." His words would carry more weight
if he could claim to respect them all himself.
Unfortunately, Cunniffe's words carry an
appalling anti-Catholic view that seems
fueled by his ignorance of what true
Catholics really believe. (By true Catholics I
mean those whose belief systems comply
with the doctrines of Catholicism laid out in
the Catechism).
Cunniffe cites Tom Monaghan's views
opposing divorce and abortion, apparently
with the intent of illustrating that Monaghan
subscribes to his own "brand of overly
politicized religion." As a Catholic, I am dis-
gusted by others' merciless attempts to turn
my moral beliefs into political issues. The

Catechism of the Church clearly'forbids
divorce and abortion; Tom Monaghan and I
are both Catholic and therefore opposed to
divorce and abortion. We also vote in accor-
dance with our beliefs, not because our spiri-
tual lives are politicized, but because our
morals require that all parts of our lives,
including our voting habits, correspond with
our spiritual beliefs.
Cunniffe's argument in regard to the cru-
cifix that Monaghan wants to put up on his
property sends my brain in circles. He states
that "Monaghan is likely smart enough to
know that the spectacle is unlikely to con-
vince anyone to start following Catholicism
that it can't possibly be erected to prosely-
tize." If Monaghan isn't expecting to convert
anyone with the crucifix, then why does
Cunniffe think it's "a giant middle finger
pointed right at our going-straight-to-hell
campus?" Is he implying that Monaghan has
no intention of evangelizing people, but sim-
ply wants to condemn them? Wouldn't a few
billboards and a mailing of flyers saying
"You're going to hell" be a cheaper, more
effective way to do that? If condemnation is
Monaghan's goal, why should he be so sub-
tle?
Obviously, because it's not his goal. He
doesn't want to condemn and he doesn't
believe he has the right to do so (check out
the Catechism on that one). He doesn't,
according to Cunniffe, hope to evangelize.
He's simply building a symbol of his faith,
on his property, with his money. What's the
problem with that?
ARWEN THOMAS
Engineering Sophomore

al

VIEWPOINT
Live from New York, it's a police state

BY Am PAUL
The following is an account of Saturday,
Feb. 2, the main day of protest against the
World Economic Forum in midtown Manhat-
tan.
NEW YORK - 5 a.m.: Driving down
what normally would have been an empty Park
Avenue, one couldn't help but be over-
whelmed with the on average two policemen
per storefront and the endless lines of paddy
wagons, squad cars and motorcycles as far as
the eye could see.
1 p.m.: What seemed like several thousand
protesters made up of black clad anarchists,
aging Marxists, unaffiliated street punks and

the protesters, the line of motionless cops
erupted into an army on the offense, using their
clubs and shields to push the crowd onto side-
walks near the park. In the process, the police
pushed the mass of people into the street ven-
dors behind them, knocking over a t-shirt
stand, pinning the proprietor and several
bystanders underneath.
The protesters stood on the sidewalks,
yelling "shame" but didn't step forward, as
most people at the front of the crowd saw the
policemen put away their clubs and take out
their spray guns. The policemen discharged the
pepper spray point blank into the cornered
group, which sent 24-year-old protester Koyuki
Young screaming and convulsing with pain as
street medics rushed to her to relieve her from

down temporarily and one ordered that the
workers at the food court "not serve the protest-
ers."
Soon afterwards, several other police units
were called in to patrol the area. Groups of 10
riot cops, stepping in perfect formation and
clanging their boots on the floor, circled the
main concourse, bringing to mind images of
Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia.
It was reported that New York's Finest
spent $28 million to prepare for the World Eco-
nomic Forum. New helmets and shields, pepper
spray, training and overtime pay really does
add up, and they needed something to show for
it.
sure, it isn't fair to blame the police when a
lot of cops are regular, hard working Ameri-

0
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