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October 29, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-29

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 29, 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.

We look forward
to the end of
the election ...
Halliburton is proud
to serve the troops. "
-, Wendy Hall, a spokeswoman for
Halliburton, dismissing the latest round ot
investigations as political maneuvering, as
reported yesterday by The Washington Post.




Wh+Sin +he baclatnce. 4his elec+ion~.

A date to remember

his coming Tues-
day, the Demo-
cratic Party has
another romantic date
scheduled with the nation-
al electorate. Four years
have passed since their
last disastrous outing, and
the party has spent every
waking minute since
absorbed in a painstaking grooming process,
frantically trying to spruce up before its next
rendezvous with the American public. If this
date was going to run any smoother, party
leadership understood that John Kerry would
need to come to the table fresh and dressed
to impress - devoid of the unshakable image
flaws that beleaguered Al Gore from the very
beginning of his stint in presidential politics.
In an effort to distance itself from the
haughty elitism often coupled with the Gore
campaign, the party softened Kerry's typically
refined rhetoric and unwound his top-drawer
persona. His stump speeches were infused
with colloquialisms, and campaign photo-ops
became opportunities to masquerade the Ivy
League pedigree as a down-to-earth, gun-tot-
ing outdoorsman. The senator's domestic agen-
da was recrafted to accommodate moderate
voter trends, and the party would repeatedly
invoke his war-hero trappings as fortification
against the GOP's national security blitz.
After four years of careful image polishing,
opposing Democratic camps have begrudging-
ly locked arms in support of the party's new
leadership icon. But buried behind the forced
smiles and layers of election-tire makeup is
an insecure and apprehensive party, an institu-
tion cursed by internal discord and fatigued by

years of soul-searching. Far from any ordinary
political defeat, a second consecutive cold
shoulder from the electorate would bring the
Democratic Party's self-esteem troubles full
circle, the likely result - a dramatic political
identity crisis.
The subsequent infighting would be vicious.
The Left would paint the center as heretical,
claiming it abandoned the party's base when it
was in dire need of defense. It would admon-
ish defectors who backed the war effort, and
hoist Howard Dean as an overlooked messiah.
For their part, moderates would~ deride their
fringe counterparts for being recalcitrant,
likely accusing them of diluting the potency
of the party's national security platform. With
chilling reminders of the dark days of the post-
Dukakis transition in the air, moderate lead-
ers would scour speculative shortlists for the
party's next leading light, a magnetic politi-
cal innovator who could steer the party back
toward the middle. Unfortunately, there are no
more Bill Clintons on the bench. In fact, one
would be hard-pressed to find any candidate
on the tentative Democratic roster that could
mollify the party in the turbulent years of a
second Bush term. To be sure, what the party's
shortlist lacks in political aptitude, it more
than makes up for in divisiveness. Take long-
time up-and-coming senator from Indiana,
Evan Bayh. As the party's token neoconserva-
tive, Bayh has positioned himself so far right
on Iraq that the very notion of his nomination
could send Barney Frank into cardiac arrest.
It's no better in the middle. I don't care how
groundbreaking her domestic agenda is, in the
aftermath of a national security routing, party
moderates would swallow glass before offer-
ing up Hillary Clinton in '08.

Much less is at stake for Republicans. The
party's sweeping mandate extends well outside
the confines of the Oval Office, and regard-
less of the outcome of the presidential race, is
expected to further swell after Nov. 2. In all
likelihood, an expanded vote margin in the
U.S. Senate will add yet another notch to the
GOP's belt of prominent strongholds - soon
to supplement a death-like grip on the U.S.
House, a federal court system swarming with
conservative judges, and the governorships
of the four largest states. For the self-assured
Republican Party, a loss for Bush would most
likely be blamed on exogenous factors and
promptly dismissed as an ill-fated anomaly in
a blossoming era of conservatism.
But for a party starved of political valida-
tion, a Kerry victory would take the form of an
electoral Godsend - the late-night kiss from
the voting public the party has sought after for
nearly a decade. But if the Democratic Party
is not invited upstairs after Tuesday's big date,
the 90210-style self-deprecation and melo-
drama that would ensue would be enough to
hamper any sort of constructive or forward-
looking re-alignment process. Another defeat
at the hands of a strengthening GOP would
bring the party's image uncertainties full cir-
cle. A Democratic Party consultant, who for
obvious reasons requested to remain name-
less, articulated i best in an interview with
The New York Times. He said if Kerry loses,
"Democrats will go back to 'What does it take
to win?' - except this time, it will be, 'Oh my
God! What does it take to win?"



Singer can be reached at

What this vote means to me
Dear President Bush and george's comments were undoubtedly a racist start with the Civil War's concessions of freedom,
Sen. Kerry, assault upon the people of Detroit. Pappageorge citizenship and voting rights. Which were all, one
We have troops over simply disguised his racist attitudes with a partisan by one, dismantled through state statutes, inviting
in Iraq right now fighting costume. But it's not Halloween yet, and worse, we back the shackles of slavery. Only this time, they
for Iraqi democracy. You all can recognize you under those white sheets. were invisible. So when my great-grandpa asked
always give them your high- Too many blacks have had their lives "sup- why he couldn't exercise his constitutional right to
est regards alongwith thanks pressed" so that I can retain my right to vote. vote. The law simply answered "because you're
and praises. On Election Gunned down on his doorstep by the Ku Klux illiterate." More recently, in the 2000 election, our
Day, poll sites will become Klan, Medgar Evers sacrificed his life to pre- uncles were denied their voting rights, only this
battlegrounds. Fighting to serve my voting privileges. And there exists time they received the response "because a felon
preserve civil liberties through poll watching, I'm many invisible faces whose stories that were has your name ... well sort of ... different middle
going to lace up my combat boots (Nikes) and never told, who died for the same cause. Their initial ... but it could be you!"
put on my camouflage (Nov. 2 T-shirt) along houses bombed, their bodies shot up and their The 15th Amendment, the Civil Rights acts
with many others in order to preserve democratic churches burned down. and voting rights act, all failed to protect the
rights here in America. And I'll be expecting both This will not be forgotten on Election Day. And rights of blacks during the 2000 election. Pap-
of your thank you cards in the mail. how could it? It was our mothers and fathers who pageorge has already indicated that the problem
A lived and endured the struggle; it was aunts and will only be worse during this election. Politi-
My vote, the black vote, was paid for uncles who fought off police dogs and their friends cians seeking to retain power all across the coun-
with the blood of my people in a who were washed away with fire hoses. try will continue this trend on Nov. 2.
continuous struggle for black vot- Our grandparents were the victims of racist However, the value of the black vote exceeds
ing rights that should have ended with the 15th American policies, told that they were too illiter- the importance of any presidential election. This
Amendment. Therefore, as a native Detroiter, ate to vote, yet denied admission to educational Nov. 2 has more meaning than simply wheth-
I feel personally assaulted when people such institutions (this university included) to expand er John Kerry or George W. will be the next
as state Rep. John Pappageorge (R-Troy) give their academic horizons. president. Especially because neither one has
warnings such as "If we do not suppress the And just to clear up the confusion, affirmative adequately responded to the dilemmas unique to
Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time action is not merely a reparation for the horrors of the black community. Flaky affirmative action
this election" to his party affiliates. slavery. Race was used as a demerit toward my stances and riding the caravan of love from
This statement was not merely a "bad choice grandparents, and now race is used as a merit for church to church just doesn't suffice.
of words;" it was a threat, a warning that the me. The University's admissions policies attempt Therefore, this election marks another chap-
upcoming elections will once more be marked to alleviate a problem that they actively participat- ter in the continuing struggle that America has
by conflict and racial tensions. So just as mem- ed in creating. Despite this, the policies are dis- subjected blacks to for hundreds of years. Next
bers of the Student Non-violent Coordinating guised as diversity billboards, just as civil rights Tuesday, the polls will be the battleground and
Committee fought to register black voters dur- gains are spun into romantic tales of America's not even John Pappageorge will be able to sup-
ing the '60s, on Election Day I'll be in Detroit, fight for democracy and justice for all. press this bloody vote.
watching the polls, continuing the fight for Embedded within the black consciousness is I'll see you at the polls.
civil rights, in a struggle that so many lives a collective memory of all the unfilled American
have been lost over. promises made to us. It started with the 40 acres Clair can be reached at
With an 83 percent black population, Pappa- and a mule, but if that's too radical for you, we can jclair@umich.edu


Out-of-state students
ignorant about local issues,
should not vote on them

more about the issues that face the voters
than those of you who have simply been
reading the Daily for the past six weeks.
When the Daily presents the issues facing
the voters, as it did in the voting guide, there
is a noticeable slant and failure to provide

idents should have the right to express what
they want the future course of their state to
be, not temporary residents who will likely
have left the state in five years. So be you
Republican, Democrat, Green or Libertar-
ian, please do not vote on issues that you do

n: _.<..


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