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January 25, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-25

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 25, 2005

OPINION

UP420 MAYNARD STREET
'AbEl HillaANN ARBOR, MI 48109
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
<'<There is an
ecological time bomb
ticking away.
- Stephen Byers, former British transport
secretary, referring to a recently published
report on the dangers of global warming, as
reported yesterday by The Independent.

f
C'P*\EK\EJ 14lHe I6irse/.. 4
~i4l

ALEXANDER HONKALA FETi)Cu CHUMBuCKET

0
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{.

America's paradox: selling democracy for tyranny
JASMINE CLAIR THE MEANING OF PROGRESS

President Bush,
Your inaugura-
tion speech was
great! Filled with hope for
the oppressed all around
the world, your words pro-
vided a progressive vision
Xproving the existence of
compassionate conserva-
tives. And I know that
you meant every word.
Especially when you said that "All who live
in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The
United States will not ignore your oppression
or excuse your oppressors."
Your words were so passionate and there-
fore I feel obliged to tell you this: You don't
have to go to Iraq to find the oppressed
because there are large communities of
oppressed people right here in America.
I know it's hard to see them aboard Air
Force One or through the tinted windows of
your limousine fleet. And this is probably
why you've never noticed that some of the
most oppressed and impoverished people in
this nation live within a five-block radius of
your big white house.
Perhaps those tall pillars impede your
view, but the sight of all the homeless people
loitering the nation's capitol is embarrassing.
Though we boast about saving the world from
oppression, we are not able to save ourselves
from poverty, illiteracy and high gas prices.
OK, well maybe I can live with the high
cost of gas for a little longer, but what about
the people dying because of the high cost of
health care? Freedom extends to life, lib-
erty and the pursuit of happiness. However,
how can one be happy without a home or
have a quality life without proper health
care coverage?
Now perhaps these are problems that the
individual should be solving instead of the

government. However, if this rationale is used
in America, it should also be applied abroad.
There are plenty of Iraqi insurgents dying (lit-
erally) for the chance to solve their country's
problems without U.S. help. They're strap-
ping themselves up in explosives and flirting
with the lives of our soldiers, hoping that one
day they will be free and able to handle their
own affairs.
I'm also having a hard time understanding
why is it OK for our soldiers to fight for these
ideals abroad , when they aren't guaranteed
the same liberties at home. Further, the less
I hear of terrorism and the more I hear of the
rising death toll, I tend to forget why we are
over there in the first place.
Within your speech, I noticed that the
words "terror," "terrorist," and "terror-
ism" never appeared. But I did hear "free-
dom" and "tyranny" quite frequently. Has
the "war on terrorism" been renamed to
"the war on tyranny?" This was confusing
because initially I supported intervention
in Iraq for the purpose of finding weapons
of mass destruction. And even when they
weren't found, I supported the humanitarian
effort to remove Saddam Hussein.
But I simply cannot support coercing the
Iraqi people into a democracy. Freedom
entails being able to choose your own gov-
ernment. America fought for its indepen-
dence and our founders were at liberty to
choose our government. Iraq should have
the same pleasure.
Americans have been brainwashed to
despise absolutist tyrannical governments
because of their seemingly oppressive and
immoral natures - think Adolf Hitler. How-
ever, tyranny is a sibling of democracy. And
within thisdemocracy exists a hypocritical,
past of tyrannical behaviors as well.
For example, just as Hitler was responsible
for the Jewish internment camps in Nazi Ger-

many, America had internment camps of its
own for Japanese Americans during the 1940's.
It's not my intent to compare the devastating
effects of the two incidents or to minimize
their consequences, but rather to highlight the
tyrannical tendencies of our homeland. Within
democracies, a tyranny of the majority often
tramples upon the wishes of everyone else.
Within our very own American democracy
exists tyranny as evidenced through the gay
rights proposals that not only banned same
sex marriages, but also any compromising
relationship of that nature. Further, the racial
profiling of Muslims and Arab people along
with actions justified through the Patriot Act
are two more of the many other instances of
democratic tyranny.
Therefore, democratic governments also
display inhumane and unjust tendencies.
In the former Yugoslavia during the 90's,
nationalist leaders decided to use democrat-
ic means to determine the borders for the
different ethnic nations through a referen-
dum. In order to claim more land for them-
selves, some decided to slaughter people of
different ethnicities in order to maintain a
majority in the democratic process.
Due to these examples, I'm not too optimis-
tic about the upcoming Iraqi election in which
Iraqis will choose one president from a field
of close to 100. Instead of saving Iraq from
tyranny, maybe we should be trying to save
the world from our own tyrannical practices of
demanding democracy across the globe.
In short Mr. President, we can no longer
afford to have soldiers dying for ideals that we
know nothing of.
The most compassionate of the conserva-
tives,
Jasmine M. Clair
Clair can be reached
atjclair@umich.edu.

0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Guidelines for OSCR
amendment process
TO THE DAILY:
Thanks for covering the amendment review
process regarding the Statement of Stu-
dent Rights and Responsibilities. However, I
need to correct some inaccuracies that were
reported (Committee will vote on student code,
01/13/2005).
Please note that the Office of Student
Conflict Resolution does not serve as the
first stage of approval for any proposed
changes to the Statement as was reported
yesterday. Nor does the Student Relations
Advisory Committee only consider pro-
posals "accepted" by OSCR.
According to the procedure established by
the University Board of Regents, the Michigan
Student Assembly, the Senate Advisory Com-
mittee on University Affairs and the Executive
Officers of the University may submit amend-
ment proposals to the SRAC.
Amendment proposals are posted on
the Internet for input from University commu-

nity members.
SRAC hears directly from the lead-
ership of MSA on their amendment pro-
posals.
Open forums are held so University
community members may provide input on the
amendment proposals.
Additional feedback is provided to
SRAC from OSCR, which has the responsibil-
ity for administering the Statement.
The General Counsel reviews each
proposal to ensure legal compliance.
SRAC submits to the President their
recommendation on implementation for each
amendment proposal.
The final decision on whether to imple-
ment a proposal is the president's.
I believe it is crucial for the University
community not only to understand the
amendment review process, but also to
fully engage in the debate on whether the
amendment proposals are desirable for our
community. Please weigh in by linking to
http://studentpolicies.dsa.umich.edu/review.
Keith Elkin
Elkin is director of the Office of Student Conflict
Resolution.

WAN NA WRITE?
SHARE YOUR OP' INIO
MASS MEETING
WEDNESDAY JAN
AT 6 P.M.
420 MAY AW ST

01

VIEWPOINT
Democracy comes to Iraq - what about D.C.?

BY EMMA LEVINE AND MARGARET MCCARTHY
Later this week, Iraqi citizens will have
the opportunity to place their vote for rep-
resentatives in the government's recently
fashioned parliament. In doing this, they
will join citizens across the globe in shar-
ing the ability to exercise a fundamental
democratic right: choosing elected govern-
ment representatives. Yet, in the shadow
of the White House, District of Columbia
residents are denied full voting rights and
representation in Congress. The people of
Washington are citizens of a nation that
claims to be the standard bearer of democ-

to discover that much of the student body
is largely uniformed about the political
inequalities faced by Washington residents.
Many hold misconceptions about Washing-
ton, imagining it as a city simply composed
of government buildings - not a vibrant,
metropolitan area that is home to more than
500,000 residents. Washington residents
hold the same responsibilities as residents
of the state of Michigan or any other state,
paying the second highest income tax in the
nation, as well as the second highest fed-
eral tax per capita. Washington has a larger
population than both Alaska and Wyoming.
Unlike Washington, these states (and every

U.S soldiers fighting to establish democratic
freedom in Iraq. Ironically enough, upon
their return home, Washington soldiers are
unable to enjoy these very same freedoms.
They are called upon to perform the high-
est form of civic duty, risking their lives to
give Iraqi citizens a voice in government,
while their own voices remain silenced on
the floor of the U.S. Congress.
As the United States seeks to promote
democracy around the world, we must recog-
nize and rectify the inequalities here at home.
Moreover, we cannot boast of the strength of
our own democracy while so many U.S. citi-
zens remain disenfranchised. In the words of

.. _ ...

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