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February 09, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 9, 2005

OPINION

~Iz fidiga Ui

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON GO
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Now, you
guys should be
applauding on
that!"
- Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, to
Republican lawmakers who welcomed her
anouncement of further tax cuts with silence,
during last night's State of the State address.

I -
Q-

4>
t~7
Lo .p

SAM BUTLER THEii SOAPBOX

Ending a state of ignorance
JORDAN SCHRADER PORT HUtRON STATEIFNT
ast year, Michigan Maybe I shouldn't assume the ignorance of the from campaigning for or against a ballot measure,
voters went to the electorate. After all, the initiative presents a unique but nothing prevents them from explaining their
polls and found a opportunity for public discourse on a crucial piece own policies or presenting both sides of a contro-
proposal to define marriage, of public policy - whether to use tax dollars in versy. Nothing keeps public officials from making
$ Some had read newspaper ways that benefit racial groups differently. this their chief topic of conversation, as University
editorials calling it divi- Until now, Michigan's affirmative action debate President Mary Sue Coleman has done.
sive and damaging. Some has played out in courtrooms. That setting limited By bringing forums to campuses, the University
had heard their union had the debate to a few voices, staying remarkably and its fellows across the state can educate voters
opposed it and mainstream on message - diversity, diversity, diversity vs. in some of Michigan's biggest cities. The students
politicians had distanced quota, quota, quota. Released into the public, the who establish such forums must invite voices from
themselves from it. But debate could broaden. all sides if they are to draw more than the people
most knew very little about it. For example, it could provide room for those who have already formed their opinions.
It sounded reasonable, though. Marriage who say we need affirmative action to mend the The University makes available plenty of fac-
between one man and one woman, just as it's discrimination against minorities woven into our tual information about its admissions and the
been since the beginning of time. No need to historical and social fabric. That's a more com- implications of MCRI. But that's seen mostly by
think about what that ambiguous phrase "mar- pelling argument than saying we need diversity the people who visit its website. Lawyers worry
riage or similar union" meant. because it makes us feel good. It could also make about going further than that and running afoul of
Next year, Michigan voters will probably go to room for those who argue racism won't end until campaign finance laws.
the polls and find a proposal to ban affirmative government stops assigning people to racial cate- "We do not intend nor can I envision us doing
action. Some will have read the newspaper edi- gories and judging them accordingly. I'd say that's some sort of media blitz or campaign," said
torials that will no doubt condemn it as divisive more compelling than pretending white people are Sally Churchill, the University's assistant gen-
and damaging. Some will have heard that their somehow systematically discriminated against. eral counsel.
union and corporate employer oppose it and many The only way MCRI will spark such a debate "I'm not sure there's a whole lot more we can
mainstream politicians have distanced themselves is if people learn what affirmative action means do. People have to understand that if they want to
from it. But most will know very little about it. and take an informed position, as thousands of defeat this or to pass it, they can't look to U of M
It will sound reasonable, though. Outlawing University students have. Bombarding them with to lead the charge."
discrimination and guaranteeing equal opportu- campaign commercials a month before the elec- Still, with such a stake in the issue, surely it is
nity. No need to think about what that ambiguous tion won't do the trick. Only a long-term cam- worth the legal risk for state universities to join
phrase "preferential treatment" means. paign of honest information will allow people to together and buy ads explaining their admis-
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative isn't on the evaluate the state's methods of brewing diversity. sions processes and dispelling myths. No need to
2006 ballot yet, but I have little doubt it will be. Fortunately, we have two years. mention MCRI; they could be more like the Big
The group convinced more than enough people So start now. The state of Michigan has two Ten ads that promote their schools' sportsman-
to sign its petitions. If it fails this time, its small years to explain the policies it uses to create a ship than campaign ads. You know, "good sports
but patient corps of supporters have plenty of time diverse body of employees and students. To make great fans?"
to try again, and the scenario I've just described make TV commercials putting them into easily There's still some hope that good information
will still play out in November 2006. Voters who understandable form. To set up debates across will make great voters.
haven't bothered to educate themselves will make the state between supporters and opponents of
a decision based on the associations triggered by affirmative action. Schrader can be reached
the ballot language. Campaign finance laws prohibit state institutions at jtschrad@umich.edu
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Daily's report on Sigma
Alpha Epsilon is unfair
TO THE DAILY:
Once again, the Daily is jumping through all
the hoops in a direct attempt to damage the char-
acter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. You somehow
allowed an article to reach your front page (SAE
may face expulsion from frat council, 02/07/2005)
that was filled with nothing more than lies, false
accusations and bogus claims. How can you con-
sider yourselves respectable journalists when you
cite one "anonymous source" for giving you all the
information you base your story on? You begin by
intentionally misleading your readers into think-
ing SAE members "broke into" two fraternity
houses last year when in actuality the break-in you
refer to at the beginning of the article is the same
Delta Kappa Epsilon incident you discuss at the
end. Though another fraternity admitted involve-
ment in that incident and the Ann Arbor Police
Department did not charge any SAE member
with any crime that night, this newspaper wants
its readers to believe that SAE was criminal in
its actions that evening. In possibly the greatest
outrage of all, this paper once again brings up an
alleged sexual assault that was deemed consensual
and never even investigated by the AAPD. When
the Daily first ran a story about that incident, it
was met with a slew of angry feedback, some of
which was published, but that doesn't stop this
newspaper from referring to it yet again one year
later. And to top it all off, your online version of
the article outlines SAE's charitable works, such
as the Mud Bowl, but that concluding sentence
was conspicuously left out of the printed version.
The bias this paper shows against my fraternity is
sickening and will clearly never end which makes
everyone wonder how the Daily can call itself a
reputable journalistic endeavor.
Drew Beres
LSA senior
The letter writer is a former president of
Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Dems' future is Dean,
blue-tinged Western states
TO THE DAILY:
In response to The Scream is Back (02/07/2005):
The problems facing the Democratic Party will
not be solved by moving to the center. The major
failing of John Kerry's campaign was that it did
not establish a consistent and strong message.

To a certain extent, the chair acts as a spokes-
person, but did DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe
have any discernible effect on the 2004 election
beyond party organization and fundraising? How-
ard Dean's best qualities will shine in his new role
as the DNC chair. He's a great fundraiser and an
energizing force for the party. He's also not the far-
left liberal people tend to characterize him as. He's
a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility, some-
what pro-death penalty and opposes federal gun
laws. Dean is a moderate, but he's not a Repub-
lican.
The Democratic Party is not in the hands of
liberal ideologues. The most important figure in
the party, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
(D-Nev.), is a pro-life moderate. We don't need a
Southerner; we don't need a conservative. We need
a compelling, principled candidate who knows
what he stands for. And why attempt to pick up
voters in a region where people take offense when
a candidate disrespects a lasting symbol of slavery
and racism? Why not look to the Mountain West
and states like Montana (with a newly elected
Democratic governor and control of the state leg-
islature), Colorado (where the Democrats picked
up a Senate seat) or Nevada (Reid's home state)?
Let's stop worrying about the Bible Belt and get
back to taking strong stances on important issues.
Dean is a Democrat, through and through, and he
will provide a spark for a party badly in need of
one.
Brian Schacter
LSA freshman
War in Iraq sought
WMD, not freedom
TO THE DAILY:
In response to Dan Schuster's column about
the Iraqi elections (On the wrong side of history,
02/07/2005), I think someone should remind
him why we invaded in the first place: President
Bush was convinced (or managed to convince
America) that Saddam Hussein possessed weap-
ons of mass destruction and posed a dire threat
to our safety. The "freedom/liberation" idea was
an add-on at best. Now that the WMD search has
officially ended and there is no evidence to sug-
gest that Saddam possessed them, Bush has no
choice but to present a new "purpose" for the war.
Freedom! Liberty! Democracy! He gives valiant
speeches about how wonderful freedom is, and
who can argue? Who can say they're "against"
freedom?

'67) while trotting out parents of a killed-in-action
Iraqi marine at his State of the Union speech, both
of whom should be asking Bush if he'd be willing
to send his own daughters into harm's way for this
"great cause."
As for the elections, yes, they were inspiring,
but whether they were truly successful is question-
able. For one, Iraqis weren't voting for a president
or prime minister, they voted for a committee of
about 250 members who would begin to work on
drafting a constitution. Second, the names of the
candidates couldn't even be released until a cou-
ple of days before the election for fear of violence
(And the main Sunni candidate's name was left
off the ballot entirely). In fact, the "Independent"
Iraqi Electoral Commission, assembled by Paul
Bremer during the June "transfer of power," had
absolute authority over who could run and for-
bade certain candidates from running. Third, the
near-60-percent voter turnout that was lauded by
the Bush administration was an optimistic esti-
mation that is slowly being proven inaccurate as
more news emerges about the percentage of reg-
istered voters who actually went to the polls, the
inability of Iraqi exiles to cast their votes, ballot
shortages throughout the country, etc.
Generally, though, we should all be happy
about the election - at least Iraq is making some
progress, and, of course, it was inspiring to see
Iraqis defying the insurgents and going out to vote.
But we should not just assume that because the
elections occurred they were successful, or that
invading the country was the right decision. We
attacked a country without provocation, a country
which we now know posed no threat to our secu-
rity, increased anti-American sentiment (and thus
terrorism), turned a country into a war zone and
have caused the deaths of not only 1,400 Ameri-
cans but tens of thousands of Iraqis. Bush had bet-
ter hope it's worth it.
Claire Leavitt
LSA senior
Republicans want Dems
to move to the center
TO THE DAILY:
I had to laugh after reading the editorial page
on Feb. 7. There were not one, but two articles
(On the wrong side of history and The scream is
back, 02/07/2005) in which Republicans claim
to have found the solution for the Democrats
- to move toward the center! Would a football
team accept strategic advice from members of
an opposing team? Of course not! Democrats,

6

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