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November 29, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-29

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 29, 2004

OPINION

0

+ 420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, Ml 48109
La a u 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 Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
I am asking you,
I am demanding that
you stay here until
the end."
- Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor
Yushchenko, addressing a crowd of supporters
demonstrating in the capital city of Kiev, as
reported yesterday by The Associated Press.

SAM BUTLER '.",c~v~
U nd r r ar ecesr4 v% a vk i two. 3yc?
P~ ec tpn On e < t d c ar d - tn Sso gceoo C M 3 a 4

Mindless hatred, from one so young and privileged
D.C. LEE BLACK DIAMONDS AND PEARLS

f a liberal arts col-
lege is supposed to
prepare its students
for comparative social
and cultural discussions
in the study of linguis-
tic practices, perhaps the
College of Literature,
Science and the Arts has
succeeded. One need
only enroll in Cultural Anthropology 272:
Language in Society to learn "how our lin-
guistic perceptions influence the ways we
recognize social differences ... based on
ethnicity, race, class and gender." But if a
liberal arts college is supposed to prepare its
students for the real world, where employ-
ers place a premium on reading comprehen-
sion and analytic ability, perhaps LSA has
failed.
Two months ago, on Sept. 21, a couple of
honors students in LSA responded to a column
of mine with a viewpoint in the Daily. In their
viewpoint, these two bright individuals criticized
my column for characterizing young Democrats
as political fashionistas - those who supported
Kerry not because they understood the issues,
but because it was hip, cool and trendy to support
the Democratic nominee. They then proceeded
to list the reasons why many students support
John Kerry. Score one for the College Demo-
crats, right? Wrong.
One need only read my Sept. 13 column,
'The problem with fad liberalism,' to understand
I was not characterizing all college-aged sup-
porters of Kerry as fad liberals. In fact, the
point of the column was to offer "one possible

explanation" for the voter gap among the 18-
to-25-year-old-college-educated demographic.
This one -possible explanation was that some
students - emphasis on some - supported
Kerry not because they understood the issues,
but because it was hip, cool and trendy to sup-
port the Democratic nominee. Of course there
are many informed students who understand
the issues and who had legitimate reasons for
supporting Kerry, but they were not the focus
of my analysis. The counterargument offered
by the two honors students, which essentially
lists the reasons why some informed college
students supported Kerry, is thus inapposite.
In a less rational, though equally irrele-
vant, response to one of my columns, a Uni-
versity Medical School administrator wrote
that "It's a real pity to see one so young
and privileged as you so filled with mind-
less hatred. I hope you can stay enrolled at
Michigan long enough to gain a respect for
the facts, an ability to reason logically and
perhaps even to gain a bit of compassion.
Stop watching FOX. Start thinking." Score
one for the University administration, right?
Please.
What we have here is a failure to com-
municate. How can there be reasonable and
intellectual discourse on campus if the most
thought-provoking criticism of another's work
relies on distorted premises and unsubstanti-
ated name-calling?
The University, for all its self-congratulato-
ry acclaim as a bastion of intellectual debate,
is partially to blame for this failure. Consider
the requirements for an LSA degree: first-year
writing, upper-level writing, foreign language,

race and ethnicity and distributional require-
ments. What is astonishingly absent from this
list is a logic class or its equivalent. Quanti-
tative reasoning, a distributional requirement
that by definition involves numbers, not words,
is no substitute for a class in formal logic or
the art of persuasion.
In fact, the first-year writing requirement is
the only requirement that comes close to prepar-
ing students for the real world, where employers
place a premium on reading comprehension
and analytic ability. According to the LSA
website, "The goal of the First-Year Writing
Requirement is to teach students the discipline
and skills needed for college writing. Without
these skills, college students can find it difficult
to master the art of argument and to achieve
the academic sophistication that University of
Michigan courses demand." But based on the
countless e-mails I receive that either ignore the
text, distort words or flat- out call me names,
only one conclusion can be drawn: Either the
University demands unsophisticated academic
analysis and low mastery of the art of argument
or it has failed in its goal of teaching students
the discipline and skills needed for college writ-
ing.
Ultimately, the University is responsible
for its students' educational development. If
it's going to parade its Marshall and Rhodes
Scholars in front of everyone, it should also
acknowledge its failure to teach many stu-
dents the basic skills necessary for life out-
side of Ann Arbor.

S

Lee can be reached
at leedc@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Live and let live,
have some pie!
To THE DAILY:
After hearing a host of views on Proposal
2, for purposes of clarity, I'd like to rephrase
the question.
To those who said that according to their
religion, homosexuality is a sin, I'd couch the
proposal like so: Do we wish to abandon the
pluralistic 'live and let live' spirit of our soci-
ety by dictating that rather than each of us fol-
lowing our own deepest beliefs, we all must
adopt a singular fundamentalist vision of what
is true and good? Without this spirit of toler-
ance, how will we keep from devolving into
another Taliban or Nazi Germany?
To those who said that same-sex unions
make them ill-at-ease, I'd pose this: How much
should we ask other people to sacrifice on the
altar of our discomfort? Should two women in
a loving, committed relationship separate out
of deference to our traditional view of family?
Should children forgo medical care because
one of their parents - the one with health
insurance - isn't a legally recognized guard-
ian? Should a man whose lifelong partner lies
dying in an intensive care unit be barred from
his lover's hospital room because their hold-
ing hands just doesn't feel quite right to us?"
A touch of cognitive dissonance seems a small
price to pay for a great many people's happi-
ness and well-being.
Finally, to those who feel that homosex-
ual unions threaten heterosexual ones, I'd
say, "Fortify those girl-boy relationships!"
Listen deeply. Relax and enjoy each other's
company. I personally guarantee that XX-
XY couples who follow a traditional fam-
ily recipe of sharing their lives with love,
laughter and lucidity won't even notice the
lesbians kissing on their doorstep. They'll
be too busy inside, eating apple pie and hav-
ing their own fun!
Jill Halpern
Lecturer
Croup leaders invite 'U to
discuss Arab-Israeli conflict
TO THE DAILY:
As the leaders of the pro-Israel groups
on campus, we would like to invite all those
interested in a dialogue concerning the Pal-
estinian-Israeli conflict to meet over some
coffee .Latelv there has been much talk on

appreciate differences in opinion, differenc-
es in appearance and differences in culture.
It is easy to be tolerant of such differences
during classroom discussions and when
socializing in the dorms. Why then is it so
difficult to be tolerant of each other and find
a common ground when dealing with the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict?
We all sweat before our exams, we all
party when Michigan wins football games
and we all love Ann Arbor. The pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian student groups on this
campus have so much more in common than
the Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle
East; there must be a way for us to find some
sort of middle ground. If we cannot find this
middle ground, how can we expect leaders
inn the Middle East to do so?
Currently, no dialogue exists between Pal-
estinians and Israelis. We are going to change
that. On Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m., we will be
sitting in the basement of Espresso Royale on
South University. We hope to meet many of
you interested in creating discussion and an
understanding between the Palestinians and
the Israelis.
Or Shotan
Orrin Pail
Jessica Risch
Shotan is an LSA freshman and chair of the Israeli
Students Organization. Pail is an LSA sophomore
and a co-chair of the Union of Progressive Zionists.
Risch is an LSA sophomore and co-chair of the
American Movement for Israel.
Fraudulent Ukrainian vote
illustrates the importance of
freedom, democracy
To THE DALY:
It is understandable that many Americans
were disappointed in the results of the recent
Bush/Kerry election. However, some of these
disappointed voters may have found comfort
in knowing that this election was generally
fair. The recent fraudulent election results in
Ukraine make me proud to live in the United
States - a truly free country. It is important
that we as Americans realize that the yearning
for freedom and justice in people all over the
world cannot be extinguished, be it in Venezu-
ela, Iraq or Ukraine.
Anna Koniuch
Alum
D -rri nila- !. -n \ l

same thing today that it did when it was rati-
fied. The Constitution is not a "living docu-
ment" and as such it cannot be re-interpreted
by each generation. He goes on to say that
there really is no alternative to original-
ism, as other paradigms for reaching court
decisions are too subjective to be classified
into a common idea. If the court were full
of originalists, Scalia argues, there would be
no conservative or liberal justices, only good
lawyers who know how to read a document
and apply it to cases without changing the
original meaning.
Although I now understand Scalia's beliefs
(whereas before I just thought of him as an
angry reactionary), I still strongly disagree
with him. The framers' original meaning
for the Constitution was for the document to
serve as a protector of the people from the
government. The Constitution was supposed
to be a tool of freedom. The very reason
the framers did not include a Bill of Rights
in the original document was because they
feared such articles would limit rights, mak-
ing people's rights only the rights they put in
writing and denying people the rights they
forgot.
However, Scalia uses the Constitution as
a tool of oppression. He refuses to give any
rights to the people unless there is explicit
backing in the Constitution. He embodies
the very fears the framers had about the
Bill of Rights. Scalia argues that if people
want abortion or gay marriage they should
pass laws on it. However, Scalia never sig-
naled whether or not a Supreme Court of
his making would let such a law stand. If
such laws were struck down, it would then
take constitutional amendments to make
these changes and any change to U.S. soci-
ety which is not explicitly legalized in the
Constitution.
Ultimately, Scalia abolishes the prin-
ciple of protecting the minority from the
tyranny of the majority. He rests the only
power to bring change in the hands of the
legislature, a body largely run on majority
control regardless of minority opposition.
In cases where the majority refuses to pro-
tect the minority, Scalia would not allow a
Supreme Court to step in and bring change
as it did in the past for segregated blacks
and women.
Originalism assumes that the found-
ers never intended the Constitution to be
a living document. Scalia argues that the
concept of a living document was unheard
of and simply never considered an option

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