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October 07, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-07

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 7, 2004

OPINION

4

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
Ii z £ i&d&f u11gtothedaily@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 Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
I guess he forgot
the time we sat next to
each other for a couple
hours about three
years ago."
- Democratic vice presidential candidate
Sen. John Edwards, noting that he has met
Vice President Dick Cheney, despite Cheney's
statement that they had never met, as reported
Tuesday by the Associated Press.

I
E

COLIN DA.LE 4 :

Voting with a vengeance
JOEL HOARD 01H YEAH?

ontinuing their
remarkable streak
of inanity for a
21st straight year, The
Michigan Review came
out against the recent
"endless obsession with
voting" and complained
that the phenomenon "is
not helping Democracy."
Only the Review could find a negative in
urging apathetic Americans to exercise their
most fundamental of rights. They claim that
in the rush to register as many previously
apathetic voters as possible, we are creating
a mass of uneducated and under-informed
voters. Apparently if you don't watch at least
20 hours of Fox News a week or read The
Wall Street Journal every morning, your vote
shouldn't count. Maybe it's time we bring
back poll taxes and literacy tests, too, just
to make sure certain unsavory groups aren't
allowed to vote this year. Let's just spit on the
Constitution some more.
What we really should be looking at in
this election is the reasoning behind our
votes. It's one of the sad truths in the modern
American democracy that we vote for all the
wrong reasons. But it's not because of a lack
of education or concern, as The Michigan
Review suggests. The real problem is the
complete lack of progressive, independent
thinkers as candidates. Can you really blame
people for not caring?

Now I considered myself well-educated,
informed and concerned, but my reason for
supporting John Kerry isn't a good one. In
fact, it's a pretty bad reason: I'm voting out
of spite. It's not something I'm very proud of.
I don't particularly like Kerry or think he'll
make a very good president, and chances are
he'll only be a one-termer. Like so many mil-
lions of other disillusioned Americans, I hate
George W. Bush so much for the evil he has
perpetrated in the last four years that I'm vot-
ing for his opponent just to stick it to him.
You better believe when I pound on the Kerry
button on my Optech voting machine next
month, I'll do it with a sneer on my face.
There are plenty of other bad reasons to
vote for one candidate or another, and it's
certainly nothing new in 2004. In 2000, we
had people voting against Al Gore because
his running mate was Jewish and his former
boss got a blow job under a desk and lied
about it. Others voted against Bush because
he couldn't pronounce "nuclear" and read at
a fourth-grade level. This year, some of us
are basing our decisions on our blind alle-
giances to our respective parties, others on
what Bill O'Reilly or Michael Moore told us
we should do and still others on our archaic
political beliefs. They're all terrible reasons
when you get down to it. The only thing that
separates us anybody-but-Bush people from
the rest of the populace is that we're willing
to admit that we're voting for Kerry for all
the wrong reasons.

Personally, I find the most frustrating
group of voters this year to be the values
voters, those who could care less about the
much more important issues of Iraq, the
faltering economy and America's tarnished
image worldwide. Instead, they focus on
such issues as abortion and gay marriage,
as if those are somehow the most important
obstacles standing in the way of American
greatness. We see this type of logic at its
worst in the heartland states, which without
fail will cast their votes for Bush this year.
Even though Bush's economic policies heav-
ily favor the rich, the poor heartland voters
will continue to support him. The reason,
of course, is that Bush's values are more in
line with their own. They would much rath-
er see their children growing up in poverty
and attending fourth-rate schools, so long as
women can't get abortions and gay people
can't get married.
Something needs to come along and
shock the system, to breathe new life into
our nation. We need to be reminded why we
were instilled with the right to vote in the first
place. The solution isn't Kerry, and it certain-
ly isn't Bush. Maybe it'll take some cataclys-
mic event, or maybe some heroic third party
candidate will emerge to completely under-
mine the two-party system. Whatever it is,
let's hope it comes soon.

I

Hoard can be reached at
j.ho@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Chirumamilla's column
ignores the facts
To THE DAILY:
Sravya Chirumamilla's column I don't
stand with Israel and I'm not anti-Semitic
(10/06/04) goes beyond distorting the facts,
it simply ignores them. Unfortunately, I
only have room to respond to a few of her
falsehoods.
First, while I commend Palestinian
efforts at democratization and reform, all
of these efforts must be conducted open-
ly and honestly, with positive intentions.
Unfortunately, this is not the case right
now. The elections, initiated by Palestinian
head of state Yasser Arafat, are inherently
undemocratic: Arafat reserved the right to
set the final date of the election. Arafat,
who has been discarded by world leaders
as a terrorist who is unfit for peacemaking,
has begun campaigning for his position.
Imagine the outrage that would arise in the
United States if President Bush campaigned
indefinitely, and when his polls peaked, he
called for immediate elections! Democrat-
ic? Hardly. The Palestinian people, as well
as the Israeli people, deserve a "democra-
cy" better than this.
Secondly, Chirumamilla's column slyly
slipped in a jab that is as baffling as it is
offensive: "Even beyond (Israeli spokesman
Raanan Gissin's) mistaken premise of Jeru-
salem being a part of Israel ... " How come
I never got the memo that Jerusalem moved
to Venezuela? Or maybe Chirumamilla con-
veniently ignored all history and accepted
fact that Jerusalem is not only a part of, but
the cultural, spiritual and historical center
for Christians, Jews and Muslims alike.
Imagine that someone sympathetic with
the Native American cause wrote a column
including the line "Colin Powell, whose
mistaken premise that Washington, D.C. is
a part of the U.S. ... " This would simply
be laughed at, as should Chirumamilla's
deceptive phrase. In addition to internation-
al recognition of Jerusalem as part of Isra-
el, history doesn't lie: During the Six Day
War in 1967, Israel recaptured Jerusalem in
response to Jordanian shelling. Jerusalem is
unambiguously and proudly part of Israel. If
Chirumamilla's intent in such a distortion is
to protest Jerusalem being a part of Israel, or
rather Israel existing altogether, she should
come clean with her allegation.
Sol Adelsky

yet rational words, she framed the prob-
lematic nature of blindly standing by Israel.
She made clear the importance of not only
understanding the many facets of this issue,
but also the dire consequences of labeling
people on both sides of the division. My
request to the members of this university
as well as the citizens of this country is to
really take the time to understand this issue
from all of its angles. I have found lots of
insight in the writings of Noam Chomsky,
the documentary "Peace, Propaganda, and
the Promised Land," and websites such as
www.ifamericansknew.com. I urge you to
take the time to educate yourself, so if you
do decide to wear a T-shirt or pin, you will
be wearing them with an understanding of
their implications. I have tried to do this as
best as I can, and I stand with Chiruma-
milla.
Brendan Kirwin
Music senior
Comments reveal 'U' is
not taking sexual assault
seriously enough
To THE DAILY:
Department of Public Safety spokeswom-
an Diane Brown's comments in the Daily's
DPS sees drop in crime (10/6/04), combined
with last year's dismantling of the Sexual
Assault Prevention and Awareness Center
very clearly demonstrates a University-
wide insensitivity to the problem of sexual
assault on campus, and the existence of a
campus environment in which sexual assault
is minimized or dismissed altogether, and
thus tacitly accepted.
Brown states thatd"all nine forcible rapes
or assault with an object involved acquain-
tance situations. So that type of thing is
hard to equate to the campus environment,
but it certainly is an unwanted situation." I
would beg to differ. Having students who
rape other students on campus, regardless
of whether they are acquaintances, speaks
very strongly to our campus environment.
Our "campus environment" is created by
the students who live here, and if these stu-
dents are sexually assaulting others, it is a
clear indication that the atmosphere at our
school leads some students to believe that
sexual assault against acquaintances and
friends is acceptable.
Brown goes on to say that out of the -17

harassment, stalking or intimate partner
violence is very real in its action and in its
long-term consequences for the victim.
Brown goes on to state that "any time
any DPS officer encounters a sexual
assault or even a domestic violence situa-
tion, he always refers them to the appropri-
ate service providers - including SAPAC
- even if it's an acquaintance situation."
This use of "even" to qualify the validity of
acquaintance assault seriously undermines
the gravity of sexual assault, especially by
those that we know and are supposed to be
able to trust. This sort of minimizing of
sexualized violence by those DPS officers
who are supposed to protect students is
seriously disturbing and frightening.
Across the country, acquaintance assault
is more common than stranger assault. This
does not, however, in any way diminish the
validity of it as a serious form of invasion
and assault. Acquaintance assault is just as
traumatizing, dehumanizing and depraved
as any assault by a stranger. The same goes
for forms of assault such as fondling and
verbal harassment. It is a very invasive and
painful experience, making the victim feel
powerless and out of control of her own
body. It is most definitely a serious form of
sexualized violence that cannot in any way
be tolerated on our campus, most especially
not by our own law enforcement officers.
The fact that all types of crime on cam-
pus have decreased except for sexual assault
is a very clear indication that something is
indeed wrong with our "campus environ-
ment." At what type of school, on what type
of campus, does sexual assault continually
increase, do friends rape each other and does
the spokeswoman for those who are sup-
posed to protect us as students dismiss and
minimize acquaintance rape and unwanted
fondling? If we cannot rely on DPS to seri-
ously understand, advocate for and pro-
tect all students from all forms of sexual
assault and intimate partner violence, what
kind of "campus environment" do we really
have? One in which rape between friends
is ignored and physical and verbal harass-
ment are dismissed unless they fit the ste-
reotypical idea of "rape?" Please. Women
make up over 50 percent of our campus, and
are 99 percent of sexual violence victims.
To trivialize any form of sexual assault dis-
plays a complete lack of compassion and
understanding of the trauma that goes along
with it. We are human beings too, and we
deserve to be treated as such

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