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March 29, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-29

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 29, 2002

OP/ED

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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
This is one of the
most unconscionable
stories I've ever seen in
my years in public life...
How could CNN just tell
the world how our troops
now need a rest ...?"
-An anonymous White House staffmember
in response to a CNN report declaring
the U.S. military "unprepared "for
another Afghan offensive, as quoted
yesterday in the Drudge Report.

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The Clinton era revisited
BABAWOLE AKIN AINA STRANGER IN THE CORNER

The year 1999 seems
a world away.
When I first
arrived in the U.S. as a
freshman, it was at the
height of the economic
boom. You heard stories
of EECS majors dropping
out of school, getting that
"one" idea and being
showered with millions of dollars in venture
capital and stock options. H-1B visas were
touted as the new face of American immigra-
tion, allowing an influx of talented and
skilled individuals to further help fuel the
new economy, without discriminating
according to country of origin. Everybody
and their mother, it seemed, owned stock and
the Dow and the NASDAQ kept on defying
the laws of gravity.
It was a time of prosperity, when any-
thing seemed possible if you had the guts,
the brains and the will. No one seemed to
embody this era more than William Jeffer-
son Clinton. President Clinton, in my mind,
was living proof of how far the U.S. had
come. I have always been fascinated with
the story of how a poor but very bright
Arkansas boy, only slightly above the white
trash scale in the eyes of his detractors, beat
poverty, social prejudices and a difficult
childhood to become President of the Unit-
ed States and the greatest American politi-
cian of his generation.
For a young freshman with outsized
ambitions, "Slick Willie" was most definitely
a source of inspiration. I had no connections
here; no large trust fund to draw on; my par-
ents, my home and my connections are 5,000
miles away. All that I and many others ever

have are our intellects and a voracious
appetite for success. I am still not entirely
sure if those are enough, but they certainly
worked wonders for Mr. Clinton. He went
from Arkansas on academic and music schol-
arships to Georgetown University, left
Georgetown as a Rhodes scholar and went on
to Yale University for a Law degree. A few
years later, he was to be elected governor of
the State of Arkansas at age 32, the youngest
Governor ever. Fourteen years later, in 1992,
he was elected the 43rd president of the Unit-
ed States and at age 46, one of the youngest
presidents in history.
The man was simply quite amazing at
what he did. He did not mangle words, could
tango with the best of them intellectually and
politically and was incredibly charming. He
brought a pragmatism that had been aban-
doned by the left and showed that market
economics could coexist with government
activism. His administration displayed both
concern for the environment and a ruthless
focus on the economy, with enviable results
on both counts.
Perhaps the best thing about the Clinton
years were the fact that they symbolized
opportunity, for whomever, whether in the
form of affirmative action for young Blacks
and Hispanics, increased immigration oppor-
tunities for skilled workers, freer trade the
world over or a much more liberal social cli-
mate. However, in retrospect, what less could
one expect from a man who had grown up
poor in the South? The poor in America are a
minority of some sorts. It is also an economic
fact that opportunity cures poverty.
Now two years onwards, much has
changed - and I am not referring to
changes wrought by Sept. 11 and the subse-

quent war on terrorism. Even before then, it
seemed that the idea of meritocracy had
jumped ship. A gentleman's C average, it
seems, is good enough for both Harvard
Business School and the White House,
when one is accompanied by the proper last
name. Religion is once again being pushed
down the throats of the unwilling with con-
servatives up in arms when the Secretary of
State makes a common sense statement
regarding contraception on television. Affir-
mative action is on the ropes and tellingly,
those who oppose it are not proposing
viable alternatives to fix educational dispar-
ities, they just want to kill it and be done
with it. Economic protectionism has once
again become a tool to gain votes at the
expense of both economic welfare and ideo-
logical integrity.
All is not lost however. American society
is different because of the change caused by
the Clinton years, despite the mudslinging,
misguided and malicious attacks that his
opponents resorted to towards the end. The
country is not as puritanical as Republicans
would have you believe. Nor will the reces-
sion of the past year erase the economic
gains of the Clinton era, which resulted in the
largest creation of wealth in history, across
all social classes. Government still matters,
no matter what conservatives scream, and it
has a responsibility to provide opportunities
to all members of society. Most of all, while
the idea of the American meritocracy has
been watered down, it still exists and is wait-
ing to be proven by the next slick kid with a
quick brain and a large dream.,
Babawole Akin Aina can be reached
at babawole@umich.edu.

0

0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

0

Tuesday's e-mail from the
University's leadership
slandered reasoned dissent'
To THE DAILY:
On Tuesday, I received the campus-wide
email from Interim University President B.
Joseph White and Vice President for Student
Affairs E. Royster Harper. Having read the e-
mail, I was taken aback by the subtle character
assassination campaign that the University's
leadership has so readily embraced.
The e-mail attempted to tie the latest string
of hate messages on campus to comments made
by Regent Dan Horning regarding his disagree-
ment over the University's affirmative action
policies. Although the link is subtle, it makes a
powerful statement that all who stand against
the University's race preferences are truly racist
- and this is simply not true. Indeed, many
oppose the policy because it serves to perpetuate
animosity between the races.
The glaring contradiction of White and
Harper's message is that they wish to foster
a diverse community yet hope to silence
even those reasoned and non-hateful voices
that are set against affirmative action and
attempt to link rational dissent with hateful
vitriol. The response by the University's
leadership does exactly the opposite of its
stated intent: Instead of accomplishing
"diversity," it serves to alienate and slander
diverse viewpoints.
It is a sad day at the University when Regent
Larry Deitch can on the one hand characterize
Regent Horning's "diverse" opinion as "unfor-
tunate" yet claim to stand for true diversity of
thought. In what way can a University that is
renowned for fostering radical opinion claim

that any one opinion is "unfortunate" and even
go so far as to call it evil by association with the
latest string of hateful campus chalkings and
messages in the residence halls? Perhaps some-
day the University will awake from these con-
tradictions and consider that diversity is
something broader than skin color and that its
commitment to learning will be best served
when it does not slander reasoned dissent.
BRAD SPRECHER
Second year pharmacy student
Markley Multicultural Affairs
Council racist, un-American
TO THE DAILY:
On Wednesday night, I was invited to speak
to the Executive Board of the Markley Multicul-
tural Affairs Council on my proposal to rename
the Angela Davis lounge. I came to discuss
Angela Davis but, throughout the meeting, I had
to defend the United States and the Bill of
Rights.
For two hours, I and another Markley resi-
dent were verbally lynched for supporting the
Constitution. Repeatedly, MMAC told me how
I could not possibly understand the United
States because I am white. They droned on and
on about how African-Americans have no rights
in America, failing to acknowledge the tremen-
dous opportunities given to them since 1964.
The MMAC Executive Board deemed that I had
not spoken to enough "colored people" to have
valid viewpoints. They even told me they would
disregard any petition by Markley residents to
change the name of the lounge because Markley
"was too white." These comments sickened me
and made me seriously question the legitimacy
of MMAC's work.

MMAC does not care about equality or free-
dom of speech, it cares about honoring people
who seek to destroy America as we know it.
Angela Davis is a communist, one who received
money and awards (she earned an award that
was formerly known as the "Stalin Stipend")
from the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.
This is'the same country that killed tens of mil-
lions of people for the sole reason that they dis-
agreed with Communism; this is the same
country that had nuclear missiles pointed at the
United States only 90 miles away. Yet, for some
reason, MMAC thinks it is appropriate to wor-
ship someone who supports a country that uri-
nates on all political freedom. Apparently, the
next lounge that MMAC names will be called
the Osama bin Laden lounge.
KARL EGGERs
LSA freshman
LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all
of its readers. Letters from University students,
faculty, staff and administrators will be given pri-
ority over others. Letters should include the writer's
name, college and school year or other University
affiliation. The Daily will not print any letter con-
taining statements that cannot be verified.
Letters should be kept to approximately 300
words. The Michigan Daily reserves the right to
edit for length, clarity and accuracy. Longer
"viewpoints" may be arranged with an editor.
Letters will be run according to order received
and the amount of space available.
Letters should be sent over e-mail to
lerters@michigandaily.com or mailed to the Daily at
420 Maynard St. Editors can be reached via e-mail
at editpage.editors@umich.edu. Letters e-mailed to
the Daily will be given priority over those dropped
off in person or sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

FROM THE UNIVERSITY WIRE
Our moral imperative to give humanitarian aid

STAFF EDITORIAL
by The Chronicle
At last week's global poverty conference
in Monterrey, Mexico, President George W.
Bush announced that he would increase aid to
developing countries by 50 per- DUK
cent over the next three years.
Thic mn .a nnr f I Naffnrt en. f n -I z

the rule of law and human rights." He added
that the increase in aid was part .of the fight
against terrorism. Hopefully, Bush's motives
go beyond the United States' immediate eco-
nomic and security interests -- improving the
lot of the world's poor benefits everyone in
the long term.
E U. Acting now is morally
f , 0 eimperative. Furthermore,

nation's GNP. U.N. Secretary General Kofi
Annan has called for wealthy nations to give 0.7
percent of their GNP as aid. Five European
countries already exceed that goal, but when the
United States is included, the average percent-
age of GNP spent on aid falls to 0.22 percent.
This nation, which preaches the importance of
humanitarianism to the rest of the world, must
do more.
Of eours eanv foreign aid must he care-

I.

Aw

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