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October 20, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-20

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 20, 2004



SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

No. No. I'm
not going to be your
monkey boy."
- Talk show host Jon Stewart, in the middle
of a heated exchange with Tucker Carlson,
host of CNN's "Crossfire," on Oct. 15.

Balers ;


I =

With all the chalkings for "Coming Out Week" and shows like
a ' Will and Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"
there seems to be "gayness" everywhere. Isn't
- there a place I can go where people.-
forget about homosexuals?


' Yeah, it's called Congress.
"0 r'

Back to the good fight

F ortyyears ago,
University stu-
dent Tom Hayden
wrote in the Port Huron
Statement that a col-
lege campus should be
"a potential base and
agency in a movement of
social change."
For much of the 40
years between then and
now, as Michigan teach-
ins helped stop the Vietnam War and student
activism made affirmative action a priority for
administrators, Hayden must have been proud.
Today, it's easy to look at a campus filling
with corporate synergy and conclude that the
revolution is dead. Or if you really want to
hear the triumph of the dollar sign over the
peace sign, listen to the rallying cries of the
new student activism - Down with Unfair
Budget Cuts!
But once in a while, we see that the Uni-
versity still can be a base for social change
- as long as the revolution is good for the
bottom line.
The University spent six years defending
its admissions policy in court, arguing that
a racially diverse campus leads to a racial-
ly diverse society. Seems like an argument
Hayden would approve of - universities lead-
ing the way for a progressive cause.
But the University didn't feel promoting
equality was a convincing enough public
defense of its policies, so it encouraged cor-
porate America to argue that diversity was

good for business. Nearly 70 corporations
filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court argu-
ing that they need to recruit from diverse
graduating classes.
General Motors, for example, needed
minorities to make its cars. "We make and
sell vehicles across the world, and we have
to function with a variety of cultures, a vari-
ety of races," spokesman Edd Snyder said
early last year. "You have to have people who
understand these cultures and races."
While that's no doubt true, and the Uni-
versity is right to show the many benefits of
diversity, the argument reveals that admin-
istrators and lawyers think the public will
respond better to civil rights when it's por-
trayed as a good business decision.
This fall, the University is quietly gear-
ing up to fight another court battle for civil
rights, which looks like it will be marked by
similar arguments.
If a majority of Michigan voters support
Proposal 2 on Nov. 2, the state of Michigan
must stop all government sponsorship of gay
unions. Its premise is that such partnerships
threaten the fragile bond of marriage whose
sanctity has been proudly maintained through-
out the centuries by straight people like Henry
VIII, John Kennedy and Britney Spears.
The proposal would cement a ban on gay
marriage by putting it in the state constitution,
but it would do much more. There would be no
chance of Michigan allowing Vermont-style
civil unions, which guarantee gay couples the
economic benefits of marriage. And govern-
ment entities would no longer be able to rec-

ognize same-sex unions by extending benefits
to the partners of gay employees.
The University has vowed to fight the
amendment, if it passes, by continuing to rec-
ognize employees' same-sex unions and offer
a package of benefits to their partners.
"We don't believe a constitutional amend-
ment that defines marriage is relevant to
our decision about benefits offerings," Uni-
versity spokeswoman Julie Peterson said.
The "pro-family" groups supporting the ini-
tiative will surely disagree, probably in court.
Six years down the road, could the Supreme
Court be listening to University lawyers
explain why Proposal 2 violates the Constitu-
tion's equal protection guarantee?
Maybe so, but for now, they are stating
their position not in terms of equality, but in
the business-friendly language that worked
so well last time.
"We offer benefits in order to recruit and
retain the best and brightest employees,"
Peterson said. "In other words, the purpose
of our benefits package is to keep the best
employees working in Michigan."
So, supposedly, we're not looking to make
sweeping social change - we just want our
gay employees to stick around.
It's far from the beacon of light to the
world that Hayden envisioned, but at least
the University will take on causes worth
fighting for. If it has to pretend to be fight-
ing for the economy and GM, so be it.
Schrader can be reached at

Mental masturbation = the lack of dialogue
R ecently, I inad- own personal beliefs cannot rationalize the I believe abortions are a necessity. As
vertently became presence of an omnipresent being when there doctors in Africa and India, my parents saw
involved in a are so many ills in the world; however, I rec- the desperate circumstances in which chil-
discussion about Presi- ognize that many people feel differently. dren are raised. If the child and his family
dent Bush and Sen. John My convictions regarding legal abortions are going to lead a miserable life with little
Kerry's stances on abor- were strengthened when one of my friends opportunities, is it fair to bring that child
tion. In the liberal bubble was raped and became pregnant. She did into a world of poverty and misfortune?
that is Ann Arbor, I had not choose to have intercourse. She did not That so few people are willing to discuss
never had a first-hand incite the act. She is a victim of a very bru- abortions in a rational manner offends me. I
discourse about when tal and unbelievably heinous act. I cannot have not yet solidified my convictions, and
life begins and what that understand the hate one must feel in order to sometimes find myself swaying on them.
means to some people. I was mostly sur- justify raping someone. In a society which My objection to this national discussion is
prised with the conversation because even it is more common for people to ask if the that so few people with moderate views are
though I continue to believe in legal abor- girl was "asking for it" than to condemn the heard; similarly, few people who oppose
tions, I found myself agreeing with many of act, my friend cannot tell her family, much abortion are heard on this campus.
the points against the practice. less authorities, about the rape because of A couple of years ago, during a discus-
My support for legal abortions is predi- the repercussions she can expect from the sion, a right-leaning speaker stormed out
cated on the medical necessity of the pro- community. of the room because he said the discourse
cedure. Doctors and their patients should be Understandably, people are undecided at which he was a guest was "mental mas-
able to terminate a pregnancy if it places the about their stance on abortion. However, I turbation." He was correct in his assessment
mother in jeopardy. The dangers of making question the justification for forcing a woman that in a room full of like-minded people,
abortions illegal are apparent in areas where who was raped to have the child. Though the there is little dissent and little argument. I
abortions are not legal. Women are forced to topic is polarizing for some, many people do do not appreciate dumbing down issues to a
undergo unsafe and unregulated procedures, not believe either side is completely accu- right/left spectrum: I agree with Jon Stew-
which can lead to death or other serious rate. This second-guessing will continue art that the country's debate has devolved to
complications. regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court a shouting match to see who can be loudest
During our conversation, the anti-abor- rules (those who complain about this should about their point and that as Stewart put it,
tion, pro-Bush voter mentioned that his remember their own whining after Bush v. "It's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting
beliefs are based on his Christian values, Gore in 2000). America." However, that we are so limited in
because he believes that all life is a gift from The nature of the choice to have an abor- our discussions at the University to include
God. While I can respect his convictions, tion is much more personal than can be dic- opposing viewpoints is an example of said
exceptions to the rule must exist. tated by such rules. I do not know when life self-gratifying mental masturbation.
I do not comprehend any God who would begins and know that even if I did, I do not
will someone to be raped and then forced to have the authority to dictate my beliefs on Chirumamilla can be reached
raise a child conceived in that encounter. My someone else. at schiruma@umich.edu.

Bracelets reduce fight
against cancer to a 'fad'
I am a fan of Lance Armstrong. And cancer has
touched my life more closely than it has most oth-
ers. Yet I do not wear a yellow bracelet. This is not
because I claim to be a nonconformist; I'll be sport-
ing my North Face jacket this winter like (almost)
everyone else. I choose not to wear a yellow bracelet
because their pervasiveness symbolizes not just the
desire to be fashionable, but also society's tendency
to reduce paramount causes into mere fads.
My intent is not to attack the Lance Arm-
strong Foundation's LiveStrong campaign. I
believe it is a noble one, and Alana Kuhn is right

was taken aback by the number of LiveStrong
bracelet wearers avoiding our collection buck-
ets. "How could people who publicly declare
their support for cancer fundraising turn their
backs?" I wondered. Then I remembered: This
is just a fad. Wearing a bracelet does not com-
mit the wearer to anything; wearing a brace-
let is evidence only that the wearer is hip to
the latest fashion. While associating the fight
against cancer with trendy bracelets may
increase profits, it devalues the cause. It makes
the cause seem trivial. The fight deserves sup-
port regardless of whether it is fashionable.
Ross Jensen
LSA junior
Peskowitz should attack a

write an article criticizing something that is
not doing anyone any good. Perhaps he could
attack the very UGG boots he mentions in his
article. Leave the little rubber bracelet that is
doing so much good alone. One of Peskow-
itz's main arguments against the bracelets is
that they may one day give off a "foul cloud of
odor." I doubt that rubber bracelets will ever
give off such an odor, but maybe it would be
good if they did. Then everyone who has been
wearing a bracelet can go out and buy another
one, raising another $12 million dollars for
cancer research. As for the celebs that Pes-
kowitz has noted have submitted to the "con-
formity" of wearing the bracelets, I think it is
amazing. These people could go out and buy
themselves diamond bracelets, but instead
thr'ra oennrtnf a AInwn, Priar.n ounnnrt of


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