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November 30, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-30

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 30, 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.

The scale is
truly awesome."
- British architect Lord Foster, referring to
Beijing's soon to be built airport - expected to
be the largest in the world - as reported yes-
terday by the British newspaper Telegraph.

S1 $tN4GTHIAT TKEft IS NO power THAT CA jMAM1-rE :MIr ~ r:
I WO~'EP~ W~1oCAN ~N~RA~ m~MO~tiQ HE .suY.~IQt~

A Thanksgiving wish

t hard to take
Thanksgiving seri-
f ously. The holiday
is more a celebration of
food and football than a
sober day of reflection.
Not many other countries
could pull off dedicating
a day every year to feast-
ing in honor of how good
we all have it. There's gaping inequities in the
United States, but not many of us would trade
places with the residents of most other coun-
tries in the world, let alone the residents of
anyplace in the world for the first few thousand
years of human existence.
Thanksgiving marks the time when radio
stations become obsessed with squeezing
every Christmas song ever written onto the air-
waves as many times as possible for a month.
On television, we are treated to an all-you-can-
eat buffet of cheap and cheesy made-for-TV
holiday specials. And entering a mall is like
participating in a sparkling festival of holiday-
season hyper-commercialism complete with
lots of shiny decorations.
Then we have to endure the hollow attempt
to make the holiday meaningful when some-
one decides everyone at the Thanksgiv-
ing table needs to say what he is thankful
for. And there is much to be thankful for.
Another person at my Thanksgiving dinner
who was unique in that his cypicism was as
intense as mine was thankful that the Lions
were not going to play that Sunday and ruin
another one of his weekends, especially
after Thursday's catastrophe. And there is

more for me to be thankful for: My name
is going to move up a couple lines in the
Daily's masthead in February ("Lowliness
is young ambition's ladder."). The Univer-
sity recently mailed my brother a letter of
acceptance into the College of Literature,
Science, and the Arts (Just wait until I can
control page 1.).
But for most of us - college students
I mean - Thanksgiving is not a time to
ponder what we are thankful for or what
is truly important to us in life. For a lot of
us, Thanksgiving is just another trip home,
another reason to see all the people we don't
see when we're away at school.
These are the same people we talk about
incessantly to our friends and acquaintanc-
es at school - all of our great high school
friends and how wonderful high school was
because of them. And then when we see them,
we're underwhelmed and spend most of the
time talking about our college friends.
The people who were so important to us in
high school no longer are. We can't find the
time for them, and even when we do, conver-
sation with them is now awkward and diffi-
cult, not effortless and flowing as before.
Even though we extol the virtues of home
to everyone at college, it's not so great when
we're actually there - usually, it's unbear-
ably boring. We try to impress the people we
knew before college by telling them about
how much cooler our college friends are
than our high school friends, by trying to
show them how much nicer our clothes are
now than the ones we wore in high school,
how we've accomplished so much and have

become so important in the short time since
we were in high school. Sometimes we tell
people we knew in high school that we hated
the whole experience, and we're so glad it's
over. But trashing high school is just another
way college students distance themselves
from their high school selves.
And while we're home, we drive down the
same streets that we drove down every day
when we were younger. And we remember
our old routines and our old teachers. We
look back at high school with unwarranted
nostalgia. It was not perfect, and neither is
We're incredibly insecure about this
imperfection and our own imperfections,
but we hide our insecurities in our attempts
to impress everyone at home. Some of us are
still teenagers, most of us aren't old enough
to buy alcohol, but we try to come off as
completely put together and self-aware.
In truth, none of us are really done grow-
ing and figuring ourselves out. That's the
point of college, although it's not clear
the college experience is really helpful for
everyone in this regard. There's nothing
magical about spending four years away
from home, except that every now and then
you do meet friends who help you figure
out what kind of person you want to be and
who make you feel like a better person for
having known them. It is these friends, not
the food or the presents, that we should be
thankful for.
Pesick can be reached at


Christianity rests outside
the two-party system
As a Christian, I take exception to a letter
which appeared in the Daily (Democrats don't
follow Christian values, 11/22/2004) attack-
ing the assertion that the Democratic Party is
more in line with Christian morality than the
Republican Party. The first problem with this
letter is how easily the author tosses around
the word "blasphemy." Blasphemy is a very
serious charge in Christianity and it is highly
inappropriate to use it in this context.
I also take issue with several of the writer's
stances on more substantive issues. First, he
quotes Ronald Reagan, calling generosity "a
reflection of what one does with their money,
not what one advocates the government do with
his or her money." While it is true that one's
handling of one's own money is key to the defi-
nition of generosity, it makes little sense to say
that that is the only form generosity can take.
True caring for the poor and disadvantaged in
society means using all of the tools at our dis-
posal to improve their situation.
The author also asserted that the Democratic
Party was dishonest regarding "No Child Left
Behind." Even if we grant that the Democratic
Party was dishonest in it's rhetoric regarding that
act (something I would be hesitant to do), that
does not necessarily mean that the Republicans
are any better. President Bush has consistently
misled the American people regarding the situ-
ation in Iraq ever since the war became an issue.
Both parties engage in political maneuvering.
Lastly, I take issue with the author's use of
the commandment "Thou shalt not kill." He
brings it up in the context of abortion, an issue
which is hotly debated even within Christianity.
What the author ignores, however, is the situa-
tion in Iraq. According to a very solid statistical
study done by the leading British medical jour-
nal The Lancet, nearly 100,000 more people
have died in Iraq since the invasion began than
would have died at the pre-invasion death rate.
The great majority of these deaths have been
caused by aerial bombardment. I believe that
pro-war Republicans would do well to remem-
ber that "all they that take the sword shall per-
ish with the sword" (Matthew 26:52). The best
conclusion to draw from all this is not that the
Democrats are "the Christian party" or that the
Republicans are. Rather, what we should real-
ize is that neither party fully exemplifies the val-
ues that Christians hold dear. Christian political

communities in Ann Arbor. Last year, we
established, the Progressive Arab-Jewish
Alliance, a group established by members
of both communities working together
toward ending the Israeli occupation of
Palestinian land, which the group saw as
the root of violence in Israel and Palestine.
SAFE also maintains a regular relationship
with members of the Ann Arbor Jewish
community, such as Jewish Witnesses for
Peace. So we would have to disagree that
no dialogue exists between Palestinians
and Israelis (Group Leaders invite 'U' to
discuss Arab-Israeli conflict, 11/28/2004).
The discussion has been going on. Fur-
thermore, SAFE does not feel that "it is
time for the discourse to leave the pages
of the Daily and enter the tangible world.
Last week's letters to the editor, although
heartfelt and rich with passion, have not
accomplished anything." Although we
wholeheartedly agree that it is important
that the discourse enter the real world, we
see no reason why taking the discussion
out of the Daily would somehow promote
this, for it seems that it would accomplish
the opposite. It is absolutely necessary that
the discussion continue both in the Daily
and outside of it because it is only through
a democratic dissemination of ideas and
views that real change becomes possible.
It is also crucial that all students at the
University be given access to these ideas
so that they can form a balanced opinion
with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli con-
flict and the role students should play with
regard to University investments in com-
panies that make a direct profit from the
Israeli occupation. We welcome, as always,
discussion between groups and the advance-
ment of a democratic exchange, and we feel
that all students should have access to that
exchange through the media.
Terek Dika
Dika is an LSA senior and vice chair of Students
Allied for Freedom and Equality
Daily's coverage of GEO
remains unbalanced
I recently submitted a letter in response
to an editorial supporting the Graduate
Employee Organization in its quest for
more benefits at the expense of students

sage conduit rather than a news medium.
Though it may have come as a surprise
to those in the upper floors of the Daily's
Ivory Tower, CBS anchor Dan Rather's
recent announcement of retirement merely
represented the fallout that he now faces
for peddling a personal vendetta rather
than acting in the best interests of it's
base. Sadly, I feel as if the Daily parrots
the misguided belief at CBS that their own
personal message ... e.g. a message of 'the
fair and balanced reporting of issues ...
which are in line with the altruistic beliefs
of the intelligencia" ... is the message that
is best for the people.
Instead, the Daily chose to publish it's
usual slew of "To the Daily Letters", ones
which address no issue and present no real
challenge to any of the recent ideas the
Daily has chosen to peddle. Pro-Israel or
Pro-Palestine letters (a staple even when I
was a student), or some letter to the tune
of "I think XYZ is displaying an extreme
level of ignorance on some issue" (which is
undoubtedly code for "XYZ does not agree
with me on said issue) continue to be par
for the course on the Opinion pages of the
It is a good thing that you do not inform
students that a GSI at the University of
Michigan makes over $40,000 adjusted dol-
lars annually. It certainly does not come
as a surprise that students aren't reminded
that in addition, GSI's can receive close to
$33,000 in tax-free dollars towards tuition.
Nor does it come as a surprise that readers
are not reminded that GSI's currently enjoy
full health care benefits with no premiums...
something even I don't enjoy (though I do
enjoy my 50 hour work week). With facts
like those, the childish whines of the GEO
for more childcare (excuse the pun) seem
utterly drowned out by the collective howl
heard from the masses of Michigan families
struggling merely to give their own children
the chance at a Michigan degree.
Keep up the good work. The New York
Times continues to look for excellent
writers who can continue it's mission of
informing the world of half of truth, all of
the time. Thankfully, even New Yorkers
have a choice ... something that University
students looking for a balanced campus
newspaper seemingly do not. I am com-
forted, however, by this fortunate truth:
That the University is not a cave; the stu-
dents are not kneeling huddled masses and



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