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January 24, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-24

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 24, 2005

OPINION

+ + + U 420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.comr

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
Democracy is
also based on the right
to choose your religion,
(and that is) against the
rule of God."
- A voice attributed to Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, a leading Iraqi insurgent and al-
Qaida operative, in a voice recording released
over the Internet, as reported yesterday by
CNN.com.

SAM BUTLER TiE SeAPBOX

fYMO OoROPTION
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Growing pains
D.C. LEE BLACK LA)MONDS AND PEARLS
ast semester, I spent balance to the editorial page. Now that my Americans for Freedom, The Michigan Review
most of my edito- tenure at the Daily has come to an end, I hope and College Republicans - organizations
rial space criticiz- the editors continue to solicit more conserva- where the question is not whether the Univer-
ing fad liberalism and the tive-minded columnists so that a little balance sity should use affirmative action to ensure that
lack of intelligent discourse becomes true balance. It won't necessarily be historically disadvantaged races have equal
on campus. The results, to a watershed moment in the impressive 114 year access to higher education, but instead whether
many, were astounding. history of this paper, but it will set a precedent the grading curve should be more generous
Responding to my column that others, including the University's hiring now that the University is admitting "higher
The problem with fad liberal- committee, could follow. caliber" students.
ism (09/13/2004), Rob Mur- Much has been written about the biases of When I .was a sophomore, I wrote a letter
phy commented on the Daily's website: "Finally, university professors, and it's no secret that to the Daily disparaging the school's affirma-
the Michigan Daily displays some balance on the more than three-quarters of these individu- tive action policies that even read at its best can
Op/Ed page! It's a miracle!" Similarly, respond- als are registered Democrats. Anyone who's only be described as disgraceful, petty and most
ing to my column Wrong candidate, wrong country, sat through a few classes at the University or importantly, reactionary. It's almost a blessing I
wrong time (11/01/2004), Jeff Wilson commented pretty much any other university can attest to can't find it in the Daily's online archives, but
on the Daily's website, "Wow!! A voice of reason that. The problem, however, is not the number it goes something like this: Affirmative action
does exist at the Michigan Daily. I've been hop- of registered Democrats behind the lecterns; is inconsistent with an elite school's mission to
ing for almost 20 years and it's finally happened. it's the preaching behind the lecterns as if they educate the best and brightest students possible
Thanks." were pulpits. Often, only one side of the issue because it favors minorities who aren't prepared
Others, though, were infuriated by my is presented, and the dissent that is encouraged for rigorous coursework over white students
commentary. In response to my column Ran- creates a false impression of genuine debate. who are. But then again, how can I complain,
dom thoughts on Kerry, Edwards and Bush '04, More often than not, the issue is not whether because without affirmative action, the curve in
(10/11/2004), Jane Myers, a University Medical the pro-life movement makes a reasonable econ. wouldn't have been the same.
School administrator, sent me an e-mail insist- case for the discontinuation of legal abortions, Read that again, and then imagine having
ing that I was "filled with mindless hatred." but instead whether women under the age of your name printed next to it. If ever an apol-
Shaun Godwin, an Ann Arbor Project organiz- 18 should be forced to obtain parental consent ogy were in order, this is certainly one of those
er, commented on the Daily's website that my before obtaining an abortion. times. We can't get anywhere without a common
column Borders employees, unfit for command This false impression of genuine debate, understanding, and we can't have a common
(09/27/2004) was "recycled slander." coupled with professors who foster this envi- understanding unless we have open avenues for
In short, the result of last semester's com- ronment, chills the opinions of more conser- intelligent, rationale discourse. For what I have
mentary was a mixed bag. But that, to me, vative-minded students in the classroom and failed in this respect, I am sorry. But for what I
is a good sign. If reasonable, and sometimes creates an alternative environment equally have succeeded in this respect, many thanks to
unreasonable, minds can disagree, that means detrimental to intelligent discourse. These stu- those who've made it possible.
there's hope for intelligent discourse on cam- dents tend to react to, rather than think through,
pus. When the Daily hired me to be a colum- the issue presented, and everyone suffers as a Lee can be reached at
nist, the editors were looking to add a little result. These students get involved with Young leedc@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Not al in Washington many, many more peaceful people were there that "Rather than blaming only the adminis
w e pto attend the inaugural events in celebration tration," I "also faulted the public." I would
were protesting Bush of the next four years. like to clarify the content of my remarks.
I know many here at the University and In saying that Bush's inauguration for a sec-
To THE DAILY: in Ann Arbor are angry about the outcome ond term indicates that there is "something
In response to the two inauguration arti- of the election, but as a country, we need to deeply wrong with the United States," I was
cles published last week, I am not surprised move past the angry rhetoric and accept the pointing to the fact that the criminality of the
or disappointed in the bias shown by this fact that George W. Bush is our president, as Bush administration is not simply a matter of
so-called newspaper. In the article on Thurs- he clearly won with more than 3.5 million the individuals that compose it. This admin-
day (Students prepare for Bush's inaugural, popular votes over Sen. John Kerry's vote istration reflects definite social interests, in
01/20/2005), there was some balance of view- total. In the future, it would be nice to be able particular the interests of a small minority of
points where many different opinions about to read the Daily for more than just a laugh at the population that controls the vast majority
the anticipated trip were reported. However, the one-sided coverage and actually be able of the country's wealth. The responsibility for
in the article published on Friday, (Protest- to read a credible news story with both sides the Bush administration lies in the American
ers in D.C., A voice opposition, 01/21/2005), represented. ruling elite, although it is indeed our respon-
the bias is obvious. As a student who went Jeston La Croix sibility to build a movement that is capable
to Washington to attend actual inaugura- LSA junior of opposing this government and this ruling
tion events, it is misleading to the readers elite - a movement and political party com-
and those who just want the truth about what Daily article did not clearly pletely independent of the Democrats. It is not
went on in Washington to report only the a matter of "faulting" the public, but rather of
protests and the sob stories of those who had -Tep esent speaker's intent drawing the public's attention to the deeper
confrontations with the police. roots of Bush's criminal regime.
Just from the pictures and video of the pro- TO THE DAILY: Joe Tanniru
tests, some of the protesters were throwing In the article on protests of President Rackham
things at the parade. The truth is that there Bush's inauguration (Protesters in D.C., A2 The letter writer is a member of Students for
were a few protesters in Washington, but voice opposition, 01/21/2005), the author states SocialEquality.
VIEWPOINT
The counter-inauguration

BY CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
While attending a peaceful rally in Washing-
ton last Thursday morning to protest President
Bush's inauguration, I overheard a reporter ask a
participant if he thought that public protest is still
a viable model for social change. The reporter's
question was legitimate, and it stuck in my head
that afternoon as I stood in a tense crowd squared
off against a line of riot police, bracing for arrests
or more pepper spray.
After protests against the impending Iraq war
involving millions of people across the world on
Feb. 15, 2003, a New York Times reporter wrote
that "there may still be two superpowers on the
planet: the United States and world public opin-
ion." The anti-war movement has latched on to the
rhetorical device, but it is difficult to see the idea
of two superpowers as anything more than wish-
ful thinking. Bush wrote off the Feb. 15 protests,
the largest single day of demonstrations in world
history, saying "Size of protest - it's like decid-
ing, well, I'm going to decide policy based upon a
focus group." No protest could have prevented the

our capital in the snow on Inauguration Day. Most
of the day was exactly what I'd come to expect.
There was a rally complete with cheesy folk pro-
test songs and a tiny communist presence. There
were people carrying protest signs with slogans
ranging from the bitter (Bush scorecard: U.S.
casualties, 1400. WMDs found, 0) and the profane
(Fuck Off Bush, written in 14-inch letters) to the
comical (Kerry's daughters were hotter). There
was a march that filled the street as far as I could
see. Most importantly, there was an affirmation
that I am not alone in my beliefs.
Post-Sept. 11 security for the inauguration
meant that, without a ticket, I had little chance of
making it through a security checkpoint to watch
the parade, but I found a spot outside a ritzy hotel
that seemed full of IBM lobbyists and from which
I could jeer at Bush's motorcade. After the presi-
dent passed, I went over a block to another check-
point to find some friends, and ran into a stream of
red-faced protesters crying, holding their faces. A
few were vomiting.
Apparently, protesters around that checkpoint
started shaking the steel fence keeping them off
Pennsylvania Avenue as the motorcade passed.

stepping and giving a Nazi salute.
This wasn't about catharsis - this was combat,
and there wasn't really much point to it. As squad
after squad of riot police arrived and formed lines
across the sidewalks and street, the checkpoint was
shut down. Yet the entire time, the inaugural parade
passed on behind the security fence as if nothing
was happening. The police, the immediate target
of the protesters' wrath, had nothing to do with the
inauguration itself. I talked with a police captain on
the scene who pointed out that his guys were just
trying to do their job and weren't out to hurt anyone.
To their credit, the police did show restraint in the
face of what must have been infuriating provoca-
tion, and there were no further violence. The whole
affair was an exercise in misplaced fury.
I never heard the protester's answer that
morning about whether he felt that demonstra-
tions could still bring about change. What was
clear on the street that afternoon, however, was
that sometimes the potential for broad change
isn't important. There are a lot of people in
this country who feel that the political pro-
cess has failed them. Some protestors, echo-
ing allegations of voting fraud, were wearing

I ~"6 ~ L~J IJ1.~ ~

I I

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