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September 20, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-20

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4A - TheMichiganDaily-_Monday,September_20,_2004

OPINION

0

I 420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
ighta tct gan Dd~d tothedaily@michigandaily.com

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

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigfan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
I have always
looked forward to
fully retiring from all
leadership posts."
- Jiang Zemin, former Chinese president,
resigning as the head of the Chinese
military, as reported yesterday by
The New York Times.

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SAM BUTLER THE S n. x

The ghost of the Gipper
DANIEL ADAMS HORSESHOES AND H.AND GRENADES

hough perhaps
inappropriate,
President Ronald
Reagan's passing this
summer was inevitably
political. The Republi-
cans milked it for all it
was worth. Most Demo-
crats tried their best to
be respectful. An auda-
cious few, like bestsell-
ing author Greg Palast, marked his passing
with a column entitled, "Killer, Coward,
Con-man - Good-riddance, Gipper."
Today, with President Bush holding a
10-point lead over John Kerry, I'll bet
there are a few more Democrats wishing
they had taken a parting shot, because
the specter of the late president continues
to haunt them today. Though the fuel for
Bush's recent surge was a fiery, aggres-
sive Republican convention, his armor,
his sense of "good" and "evil," his "moral
clarity," as its popularly referred to, is
pure Reagan.
Thirty years after the Truman Doctrine
divided the world into "good" and "evil,"
Reagan re-introduced the terms into the
national debate. He would similarly divide
the world, his own morality the compass
for eight years of foreign policy.
Issues which might have brought on the
downfall of his administration instead got
drowned out by his crusade against evil. In
a now-famous 1983 speech, Reagan said,
"Let us be aware that while they (totali-
tarian regimes) preach the supremacy of
the state, declare its omnipotence over
individual men and predict its eventual
domination of all peoples on the Earth,

they are the focus of evil in the modern
world."
Sound familiar?
"We are in a conflict between good and
evil, and America will call evil by its name,"
said President Bush in a 2002 speech.
"Moral clarity" is the buzzword, popular-
ized in part by William Bennett's book,
"Why We Fight; Moral Clarity and the War
on Terrorism. Tragically, few have stopped
and questioned this proposition - that a
man's moral clarity, of which religion is a
critical component, can and should have a
positive political connotation.
Clearly this is problematic, especially
so for America's religious minorities, who
are acutely aware that their own moral
choices often preclude them from election
to high office (see Joe Lieberman). These
minorities have no choice but to watch
Bush's Christian agenda flirt dangerously
with the separation of church and state
and hijack issues of national importance.
Moreover, there is something very
unsettling about encouraging the elec-
torate to value one man's spirituality
over another, as Bush has done unabash-
edly during the campaign. I don't think
that Kerry has been any less clear, as it
were, about his own morality - a prod-
uct of devoted, lifelong Catholicism. He
just hasn't campaigned on it. Bush, on
the other hand, has actively cultivated his
image as the morally supreme candidate,
often including religious references in
stump speeches. It's safe to say that come
November, Bush's spirituality might win
him the election, while Kerry's, as if
inherently less valuable, may only bring
him private consolation.

The other component of "moral clarity"
is a sort of dogged determination - a
decisiveness under fire that is undeniably
politically powerful in a post-Sept. 11
America. Again, this is an image of Bush
that has been successfully sold to Amer-
ica by the GOP. In a Gallup survey taken
in early September, 60 percent said that
"decisive" is a label that applies to Bush,
while only 32 percent said it fits Kerry.
Decisiveness, however, is only valuable
if the decisions made prove correct. But
even after two foreign wars, two demol-
ished nations and 8,157 casualties, this
debate still hasn't happened. More than
likely, it won't happen. In the court of
public opinion, Bush's status as the mor-
ally stronger and more decisive candidate
precludes any debate on the issues. Moral
clarity is as it was under Reagan - a poor
substitute for performance, a miserable
excuse for malfunction, but good enough
for America. And just as Democrats were
unable to pin a rising national debt, a
failed drug policy and foreign policy
debacles in Lebanon, Iran and Nicaragua
on the beloved Gipper, Kerry will also
find it difficult to make this campaign
about a mediocre first-term president.
Though few would characterize our cur-
rent strategic position as tenable, many
would still characterize Bush's moral
clarity as a strategic asset.
If we swallow this, a dubious justifi-
cation for dogmatic and inflexible lead-
ership, don't be surprised if we end up
choking on four more years of failure.

4
f1

Adams can be reached at
dnadams@umich.edu

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I

Spectators misbehaving?
A fan's guide to proper
Big House etiquette
To THE DAILY:
Michigan has thousands of truly great
fans who do an excellent job of cheering
on the Victors at every home game. How-
ever, I was disappointed in the actions of
some fans at this Saturday's game against
San Diego State, and it has inspired me to
write this letter to inform people of what
constitutes proper "football etiquette":
1. You don't argue politics with your
fellow fans at the game. I watched a father
make a complete fool of himself, in front
of his own son no less, by launching an
unprovoked assault on my friend and me
about President Bush's poor leadership.
Yo Dad, it's a football game, okay? Stick
to the football.
2. You don't start the wave when the
game is still close. I was appalled to see
the fans in section 29 start the wave with
Michigan up 24-21. The game was still
very much in the balance at the time, and
the team needed the fans to be cheering
very loudly and paying attention to the
game, not doing the wave. The wave is
only to be started when Michigan is lead-
ing by multiple touchdowns.

3. Get off your cell phone during the
game! It's sad when there's a game going
on and you have people on their phones
more concerned with talking to friends
and finding out where the party is going to
be that night than cheering on our defense
to a third down stop. Come on, what's
really more important than the football
game when you're at the stadium? Either
get off your phone, or go home.
4. Make some noise! It's amazing how
Michigan always has the biggest crowd
watching a football game in America for
every home game, yet it isn't even close
to being one of the loudest stadiums in
the country. Teams love it when the crowd
gets really loud; they really feed off it and
it also makes it difficult for the opposing
team. If fans follow this advice, the Big
House will be a better place.
BRENDON WEBB
Engineering senior

LETTERS POLICY
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 Uni-
versity 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. Let-
ters will be run according to order received and the
amount of space available.
Letters should be sent over e-mail to
totwedaily@michigandaiiy.com or mailed to the Daily
at 420 Maynard St. Editors can be reached via e-
mail ateditpage.editors@umich.edu. Letters e-mailed
to the Dailywillbe given priority over those dropped
off in person or sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

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VIEWPOINT
There is 'Moore' to talk about at MSA

BY JASON MIRONOV

The University, as a microcosm of the real
world, has a series of consistencies that run
parallel to post-collegiate life. For example,
you know that football Saturdays result in a
camaraderie between tens of thousands of
Michigan fans. You know not to step on the
"M" until your first blue book, and I'm confi-
dent you know of the harmonica guy outside
of the UGLI. However, sometimes, it takes
a controversial decision to remind you of an
institution that has defended students' rights
and ceries since hfore wp ewre horn.

tion. MSA is a political organization.
MSA creates and maintains a list of long-
term, sustainable projects. In the '60s, the
MSA crafted what was to become Student
Legal Services. MSA helped develop the
Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness
Center. MSA fought for a fall break and has
recently convinced administrators to expand
Entree Plus in the Big House, Yost Ice Arena
and Crisler Arena. An online book exchange
named "DogEars" was contracted, and you
can soon rate your landlord online. MSA's
airRus nrnvidescheatn transnnrtation to the

unique accounts surrounding the solemn day
and offered reflection and introspection to stu-
dent participants. Bringing a political speaker
Ato campus encourages students to think, be
it Michael Moore or Bill O'Reilly. With the
upcoming presidential election, our generation
needs to define itself not as a lazy, instant-mes-
senger driven community, but as a generation
of informed and motivated citizens.
I challenge you to make your voice heard.
Tuesday is MSA's open house at 6:30 p.m.
on the third floor of the Michigan Union.
Meet vour rens. and sneak your mind to a

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