4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 21, 2004
U~be ki~gm &z4W
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
opinion. michigandaily. com
EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Editor in Chief
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.
- Democratic presidential candidate
Howard Dean, in a fiery speech given
after finishing third in the Iowa
Democratic primary, as reported
yesterday by The Washington Post.
SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX
C \%Y\ko b cusen Y bx~se.be~
,rcslt ',0e"cmbak OM- bcue.Da
HUSSAIN RAHIM NARCOLEPTIC INSOMNIA
it's all in the details.
domestic policy and
stringent focus on the issues
that matter to Americans,
leaves many easy targets to
focus on. I'd rather move
away from the common
cries of taxes, education
and health care to the more
exciting realms of marriage and the National
Park Service because that where the most telling
In a clear sign of the power that outside and
even divine forces have over this administration,
President Bush, who has been reluctant to pur-
sue outright a constitutional ban on gay mar-
riage, is shucking for the conservative voting
base by promising the closest compromise he
can muster, the affirmation of straight marriage.
Having $1.5 billion with no apparent better use
for it, the thought is to spend this money on the
promotion of "healthy marriages," especially
among poor couples as a kind of display of his
commitment to Christian values and family.
Nothing says "I love you" to a conservative,
even the compassionate ones, like marrying off
two poor people.
Pragmatically, that $1.5 billion is nothing
compared to the numerous and massive bud-
getary hemorrhages that permeate this govern-
ment, but it is rather symbolic of the secondary
nature reality has to Bush and the danger of his
obsequiousness to the evangelical agenda. The
root of the problem does not lie in the lack of
government-sponsored marriage counseling
but in the very conditions that create the epi-
demic of inner-city life. The men are often
sub-par candidates for marriage due to poor
education and a lack of job skills, which then
leaves single mothers to wade around at'pover-
ty level. Some Noah's-Arc style of "match-
and-pair" is not the solution. Not to be
Marxist, but Bush.should understand that it is
the bottom line that plays a substantial role in
marriage. If you're single in one of these target
areas, the last thing you are worrying about is
why you're not married. Maybe you're trying
to figure out why the hell the end of the divi-
dend tax means anything to you.
A White House aide was quoted as say-
ing, "The president loves to do that sort of
thing in the inner city with black churches,
and he's very good at it." Well aw gee,
thanks now. Regardless of my opinion of the
institution of marriage, statistically, it ensures
a more financially secure home, and is better
for children, but we all know where the faults
in that lie. No one needs state-sponsored
coercion to enter one of the most challenging
life experiences. Despite a possible tax credit
when you sign up for a 15-year marriage
contract with a 10-year bonus or a new
advertising campaign that makes marriage
look cool, this is just a ploy to show that the
straight folk still want to get married so we
don't need to focus on the gays so much.
Even this cannot prevent a decision that will
have to be made on gay marriage.
A further confusion of priorities is evident in
the National Park Service, where in California,
the threat was made to switch over land to a pri-
vate group if a plaque with Biblical verses was
not allowed to stand. This is part of a "faith-
based parks" initiative that is gaining ground in
conservative circles because, apparently nature
is more effective when more religion is
involved. Or something.
And herein lies the subterfuge tactic of
choice that has kept this administration leaving
one smoke bomb after the next. Sell the niche as
universal and be a populist, and if they are con-
fused, they won't have time to hate you.
I didn't get much back.
"No more dividend taxes!"
What's a divi...
"No more late term abortions!"
But wait, those ...
"Let's go to outer space!"
Don't we need to finish in...
"Then let's marry off the poor, more prayer
in parks and send the gays to space!"
What the fuck?
I'm no political analyst but even I'm lost.
This turns out to be an undeniably clear sign of
the missing vision for this country but also the
levels shameless politicking can reach as the
election draws near. It really is a disgraceful
attempt at pandering for attention right around
the most wonderful time of the year. The old
cool kid needs to show the class he's cooler than
the incoming transfer student. So you move up
the State of the Union and keep the smoke com-
ing, thick and black.
Rahim can be reached at
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Civil rights movement about
more than equality, remains
an unfinished work
TO THE DAILY:
What happened to the civil rights move-
ment of the 1960s? For many this is a question
discussed and pondered each year during Janu-
ary. For me, though, this question has taken on
new meaning and caused a desire to continue
what was not finished. To understand why the
civil rights movement is not finished a correct
understanding of what it was needs to be redis-
covered. There is no doubt that an element of
the civil rights movement was the need for
equal rights for all, but this was not the deeper
message that Martin Luther King Jr. and others
stood for. The message of the civil rights
movement can be found in the story of Rosa
Parks. Where on the surface it may seem that
the Rosa Parks incident was only about equal
rights, it was about much more than that.
When Parks got on the bus she paid the
same fair, rode the same bus as whites and it
took her where she wanted to go. The issue
was not that one had the right to ride the bus
and another not - it was much deeper than
that. She got on the bus tired from a long day,
and at that moment in time she was the best
one capable to make the decision on where to
sit. She did not have the energy to drag herself
to the back of the bus as the law mandated.
She was more capable to make a decision
about herself than the state was, or the people
through the state. This incident was the embod-
iment of the civil rights movement, which said
each individual is more capable to make their
own decisions when those decisions don't stop
others from making their own decisions. The
state, through democratic institutions and
majority rule, made decisions for blacks
because they might make the wrong decisions
and sit in the front of the bus. The state also
made decisions for those who were not minori-
ties so they would also make the correct deci-
sions, such as opening a restaurant and being
forced to have segregated seating or separate
bathrooms. Why have such laws? Because
without these laws someone would do the
wrong thing or they were doing these incorrect
Sogwhat happened tothe movement?
Through democratic institutions and majority
rule, the state continues to make decisions for
others when they are the most capable of mak-
ing those decisions. We can see this with mod-
ern examples: mandatory seat belt laws, the
city of Ann Arbor forbidding a church from
decision from those most capable of making it.
We must continue our struggle for civil rights
against all laws that make decisions for us
when we are more capable. Civil rights abuses
get worse all the time. Democratic institutions
and majority rule are never a justification for
the state to make decisions for people who are
Readers should view
arguments for legalizing
To THE DAILY:
In response to Johnny Meyer's letter (Will
Daily support the legalization of marijuana or take
wait and see approach?, 01/15/04) about the
legalization of marijuana, I will not "stand on
the sidelines," but instead I will become an
active player on the field. The purpose of my
letter is not to agree or disagree with the legal-
ization of marijuana, but to urge readers to be
aware of tactics used by its advocates to per-
suade the public. In his letter, Meyer states
that "cannabis has no known overdose deaths
reported and aspirin and bee stings alone kill
more people than this plant." Think about that
statement. Are there reliable statistics accom-
panying that argument?
Also, what other factors would cause bee
stings and aspirin (notice also that in his citation
the two are combined, and think about how
much more frequently people get stung by bees
or use aspirin, than use this illegal drug, in the
overall population) to be causes of death? Per-
haps it's widespread allergies, or another factor?
Besides, though no known overdose deaths from
cannabis have been reported, have there been
other deaths due to the nature and effects of the
drug? I am not trying to impose either opinion
upon any reader, but simply to inform people of
the dangers concerning the wording of persua-
sive arguments. So, no matter what the issue
you are faced with, I urge you to do your
research, become informed and educated and
decide for yourself.
Daily should give candidates'
supporters equal space to
Few people would deny that Kucinich is a
unique political candidate. On almost every
issue, he has clearly established himself as the
progressive in the field. His opposition to the
war in Iraq is unparalleled, even by Howard
Dean. His plan for universal health care (not just
health insurance) is more sweeping than that of
any other candidate. If you support Bush's war
in Iraq, or you think that universal health care is
for socialists, then Kucinich is probably not your
candidate. However, if, like many Democrats,
you're in favor of these and other progressive
planks, consider supporting the candidate who
best embraces those values.
The clarity with which Kucinich confronts
these and other issues cannot be distilled into
bullet points. During a speech at our own Michi-
gan League, Kucinich unequivocally declared
that a system that ties one's ability to pay with
one's ability to get an education is morally
bankrupt. This is not just playing to a college
audience; free college education is and always
has been a major part of Kucinich's platform.
Kucinich has raised more than $3.4 million
and is eligible for matching funds. He has both
the determination and the resources needed to
continue his candidacy.
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from
all of its readers. Letters from University stu-
dents, faculty, staff and administrators will be
given priority over others. Letters should
include the writer's name, college and school
year or other University affiliation. The Daily
will not print any letter containing 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
email@example.com or mailed to the Daily
at 420 Maynard St. Editors can be reached via
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters e-
mailed to the Daily will be given priority over
those dropped off in person or sent via the U.S.
I ~ a.~
eti '4 is rrrxr'2srccti x