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November 09, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday. November 9, 2004

OPINION

+ ++li 420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, Ml 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

x.

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
You're in the
ballpark."
-Army Gen. George Casey, after being
asked if the size of the U.S.-led offensive in Fal-
luja was between 10,000 and 15,000 troops, as
reported yesterday by Reuters.

0
0

CiOLIN DIiiALY ~b:N iA\~

When is a good time to start living?
STEVE COTNER RED ALERT

AN

here is a tele-
phone pole at
State and Wash-
ington that is all staples.
The wooden trunk is like
any other, except that
there isn't any wood left
to see. The tallest person
got it above our heads,
the smallest person got
the bottom, and everyone else punished the
middle with their staple guns. There aren't
any fliers on it now - there isn't room for
one more staple - so it just stands there,
looking at you as you pass by.
I looked back at it the other day. It must
have been the peculiar mood I've been in
lately. I didn't see a face in it or anything,
but I do think I sensed something. I thought
of all the fliers that must have covered it
over the decades. A Free John Sinclair rally
in 1971. A vigil for Che Guevara. No nukes.
No war. Maybe the Ann Arbor Nazis posted
on it in the early '80s. Maybe students posted
against them. I think this pole said not to go
to Iraq. I think it probably said a lot of things
that people would not believe. But now it's
just staples, and it looks like it's kaput.
It was on the day after the election when
I saw this. I had woken up that day on the
Daily couch with a hangover. I imagine a lot
of people needed something to help them
sleep that night. When I woke up, it was like
New Year's Day - messy hair, disoriented,
wondering if I had missed anything - but it
was what New Year's would be if we knew

none of our resolutions would come true.
On my walk home I stared at the tele-
phone pole. I wondered what it meant. Are
we done with politics? Have we used up
everything the way we used up this pole?
Most of us bottomed out in some way on
Nov. 3, whether it was an alcoholic stupor
or just a calm reassessment of how each of
us is living life. The closer to the center a
person was, the more devastating was Ker-
ry's loss - Ann Arbor's liberal contingent
held a vigil for Kerry that night. The radi-
cals kept on trucking, meeting in the Union
on Friday to discuss building a culture of
resistance. Their ideas included a calendar
and another meeting. It wasn't very excit-
ing stuff, but I've learned that it never is.
No one has any energy now. The would-be
radicals lost it somewhere in the torpor of
an anarchist potluck - about the same time
their eyes took on that zombie-raccoon look
- and the liberals lost it with Kerry.
I think what the telephone pole really
observed, in its silence, was the failure of
words. Everyone on the left has been talk-
ing for a very long time. If our president
decides to kill people, the Left talks about
it. The Left snaps its fingers when someone
makes a good point. The left puts up neon
fliers and says come to our meeting, so we
can talk. The Left invites Noam Chomsky
to campus and climbs outside on a window
ledge, just to hear him. The Left sits cross-
legged and drinks tea boiled from roots.
The Left knits hats for each other. Then the
Left pulls out a joint, listens to hybrid folk-

pop music from the Andes mountains, and
talks.
I believe the Left is operating on the
Dalai Lama principle. There is an admi-
rable spirit in all of what it does, and if
I've had a good breakfast, sometimes I join
in. But I think the Left is working on the
premise that all of its shuffling about will
eventually flick a switch in some young
person's head, and he will grow up to be
the next Martin Luther King, Che Gue-
vara, John Lennon, Nelson Mandela and
so on. I call this the Dalai Lama principle
because it is based on a kind of mystical
faith in someone else's agency. The Left
talks about things, plans things, organizes
people in large groups. But no one is put-
ting himself out there as the one - the one
to do what needs to be done.
In saying this, of course, I'm just talk-
ing too. And perhaps people will complain
about this whole premise, saying we don't
want dominant personalities, we want coop-
eration. But the Left needs to get back to
some more basic traits. It needs someone
who can cock a smile. It needs someone who
can wink. It needs charisma - the thing
that makes women want to dance with you,
young boys want to be like you and old men
be nostalgic. It needs to remember what life
is for and then make living it irresistible. It
needs to remember we're the only ones who
can do it.

0

Cotner can be reached at
cotners@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Columnist makes unfair
attacks on the political
values of the Right
TO THE DAILY:
I hesitate to call Sowmya Krishnamur-
thy's most recent column An Open Letter to
America (11/05/04) a waste of space, as I feel
this would dignify her commentary.far too
much. The sheer arrogance of her column,
the assumption that a majority of the popu-
lation didn't make an informed decision, but
rather sunk into a collective stupor, reflects
why Democrats continually fail to connect
with the vast swaths of the electorate they
need to win.
What does Krishnamurthy do to insult
voters who supported President Bush?
Blame him for leading the nation into the
war with Iraq. Certainly a terrible crime,
one that merits a vote for change, except
that John Kerry supported that same war.
Oops.
Unable to pin Bush down on the major
policy issue of our day, Krishnamurthy
resorts to the least sophisticated tools of
political discourse: personal attacks. Bush
is a former alcoholic who has a DUI and
might have tried cocaine. The operative
word there is "might." Never mind if the
crime is alleged and that all of these errors
in judgment occurred 20 years ago or more;
they should still disqualify Bush from
the presidency. The only recent misdeed
that Krishnamurthy can cite is that Bush's
daughters have gotten into some trouble with
underage drinking. If Krishnamurthy truly
believes this should delegitimize Bush's
presidency, her next open letter should be
to the undergraduates here at the University,
telling them that their parents lack family
values and are unfit for high office. If any-
one lacks values, it is Krishnamurthy. Her
evident frustration with her inability to win
a policy argument causes her to flail about
in desperation and hurl whatever insults she
can throw at Bush in the hopes that some-
thing will stick. Krishnamurthy's argument
quickly degenerates into the ugliest of per-
sonal attacks, reflecting poorly on her argu-
mentative skills and even more poorly on
her own morals.
To justify her own complete lack of
scruples Krishnamurthy argues that Bush's
moral positions are hypocritical and that

not inform political positions is completely
ridiculous. Krishnamurthy's attack is based
on her own morals. She doesn't like the
president's values because they are based
on a Judeo-Christian value system. Sorry,
not good enough.
As for the assertion that Bush is a hypo-
crite who cannot honestly promote family
values, if Krishnamurthy really wants to
drag up 20-year mistakes and alleged mis-
deeds, she can be my guest. See how many
take her seriously when she shows the jour-
nalistic integrity of a tabloid columnist. I
know many good, intelligent, thoughtful,
moral people who supported Bush in his
re-election effort. If they did so because
of "moral values," it was because they saw
him as a man who kept to his word, who
possessed the strength of will to defend
Western liberalism against Islamist funda-
mentalism, who would not suffer accommo-
dation with a radical, totalitarian ideology
that cannot coexist with our way of life.
Those are values that any decent American
can support. Krishnamurthy's casual dis-
missal of this possibility demonstrates the
hubris that has led to two straight Demo-
cratic presidential losses against an oppo-
nent that should have been easy to beat.
Rather than confront inconvenient facts
or assemble a thoughtful argument against
Bush's policies, Krishnamurthy tries to
prove her position by insulting Bush's char-
acter, his intelligence, his morals - there
is little Krishnamurthy won't tear down
through her visceral need to attack Bush.
As long as Democrats continue to disregard
the fundamental goodness and intelligence
of the millions of people who live between
the ccasts and outside of university towns,
they will continue to lose elections.
To the editors of the Daily, I say that I
have no problem with an anti-Bush writer
being supported by University funds. What
I do resent is the use of those funds for a
writer with such a complete lack of intel-
lectual honesty or rhetorical skill. Do your
readers a favor and don't let junk journalism
get past stage one of the editorial process.
Editors note: The Daily is financially inde-
pendent of the University, as it is funding by
advertising revenue.
Jay Rapaport
LSA junior

give more of their money to the govern-
ment.
I look forward to his column in support of
abolishing the mortgage interest tax deduc-
tion. This clearly discriminates against
renters in favor of homeowners and thus
must clearly represent the nation's hatred of
apartment dwellers.
What? Americans don't hate apartment
dwellers you say? Perhaps society has sim-
ply chosen to recognize the special societal
benefits of high homeownership by giving
it special legal recognition?
On Tuesday, I believe that - Adams's
caricature of hate-filled Republicans aside
- many Americans went to the polls and
decided that there is something uniquely
special and worthy of legal recognition
when a man and woman commit to mar-
riage. I believe that many'Americans felt
that the only way to prevent a handful of
judges from rewriting the institution of
marriage was by the people acting first to
preserve it. Neither of these motivations is
inherently unreasonable. And neither rep-
resents the victory of "hate."
Rather than denigrate those with differ-
ing political views, we should all learn to
listen to them. And we should all, especial-
ly those on the Left, continue to believe in
the goodness, and greatness, of the Ameri-
can people.
Zachary Emig
MBA student
Columnist jumps to
extreme conclusions
To THE DAILY:
I'd like to address Daniel Adams's
column (The anger of the drowning man
11/8/04). Dan, it would take too much space
to address all the ways in which you've
shown yourself to be closed minded, so I'm
going to boil down my complaint to you in
this way: You refuse to acknowledge that
those on the Right who disagree with you
may have legitimate viewpoints worthy
of your respect. In fact, you don't seem to
believe that intelligent people can reason-
ably disagree (or maybe you don't think
there are intelligent conservatives). While I
too wanted President Bush out of the White
House, I think it's really presumptuous and
arrogant of you to assume that those who
disagree with you did so on the grounds

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