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January 07, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 7, 2005

OPINION

U'420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
£i&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
America's troops
and citizens are at a
greater risk because of
administration policies
that are tantamount to
torture."
- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), as
reported yesterday by The Associated Press,
during the Alberto Gonzales confirmation
hearing for attorney general.

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SAM BUTLER THE SOwAPx

O,
*7,+ + to

The Democratic doldrums
SUHAEL MOMIN TOKEN WIsDOM

urfing the Inter-
net, it becomes
evident that every
computer-chair pundit
has his favorite crackpot
theory about why John
Kerry lost the Novem-
ber election. The con-
spiracy theory wing of
the Democratic Party
argues that Ohio voting machines were
rigged, exit-poll aficionados suggest that
bible-thumping evangelicals turned out
in record numbers and those with a deep
understanding of the American soul stipu-
late that Kerry was simply too French.
With every crackpot theory comes a solu-
tion that promises to solve the Democrats'
problems: Demand more recounts, find a
southern candidate, play the morality card,
don't speak Old European languages.
After dredging through Internet pun-
ditry for sufficient time, the sad truth will
dawn upon you: As a collective unit, the
Democratic Party doesn't know up from
down right now. The party has no leader,
no direction and most dangerously, no
long-term goals. If the Democrats wish
to identify their party as the anti-Repub-
lican opposition, they will always remain
an opposition party, never controlling the
reins of government.
The anger that energized the Kerry cam-
paign in 2004 was generated by the polar-
izing, dogmatic politics and policies of
our current president. The events of Nov. 2
have ensured that similar sentiments will
stew among Democrats for, at least, anoth-

er two years. That anger must turn into a
policy vision; Anti-Republicanism is a
failed electoral strategy. While passionate
anti-Bush feelings drove Kerry to monu-
mental victories in Washtenaw County and
Hollywood, it did little to entice moderate
voters. Instead, the many moderate Demo-
crats and independents who voted for Kerry
desired, above all else, a return to rational
government. The party should use the next
two years to turn that sentiment into a slo-
gan; re-paint the Democratic Party as the
party of responsible government.
Given that Bush's administration has
been mauled by ideological extremism, it's
not hard to draw up a list of irresponsible
policy decisions which are ripe for attack.
A dogmatic devotion to tax cuts has led
the vice president to announce, contrary
to all mainstream economic thought, that
budget deficits are irrelevant. We went to
war with insufficient troops because the
secretary of defense was preoccupied with
creating a smaller yet smarter military.
Nothing can explain what led the presi-
dent to nominate an attorney general who
authored memos legitimizing torture, a
federal appeals court judge who has said
he is on a personal mission from God in
the court and a federal district court judge
who has argued that wives should rightly
be subordinate to their husbands. Exploit-
ing these failures of Republican leadership
should not be difficult.
On many issues where Republicans have
failed, logical and marketable solutions
are not hard to find. Health care costs in
this nation are soaring, yet the current

president has done little either to address
the rising costs or to help protect the 40
million Americans who have no health
insurance. Government incentives could
encourage corporations to insure all work-
ers down to the most menial levels, sub-
stantively solving the health care crisis.
Unskilled workers living in America have
limited long-term employment potential,
but Republicans have taken no steps to
ensure such laborers have expanded access
to high-quality education or retraining
programs. Trade adjustment assistance
and similar programs would allow work-
ers displaced by trade and technological
advancement to move into more lucrative
sectors of the economy. Even the gaping
budget deficit, which really does matter,
could be partially closed by rescinding the
recent tax cuts.
In the end, people want results from
government. Empirically, the most popu-
lar politicians are those who accomplish
their goals and, as a result, improve lives.
Former President Bill Clinton left office
with stellar approval ratings because he
oversaw the longest economic expansion
in the history of this nation. If the Dem-
ocratic Party can make a credible claim
that it will do a better job of improving
life for the average American, it will be
able to re-claim power. Between now and
2006, finding a way to make that claim
must be the focus of the party's leaders
and thinkers.
Momin can be reached at
smomin@umich.edu

0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Gray writer does not have a
'special license to offend'
To THE DAILY:
I'm writing in regard to Steve Du Bois's
column in the Weekend Magazine (I'm just
like you, only gay, 1/6/2005).
Steve, you're gay. Fine. In fact,
wonderful. You've got the right to be gay
and be open about it. Personally, I don't
agree with your decision, but that is irrel-
evant, it is your choice. However, in accor-
dance with your request, I refuse to treat
you any differently than any other man.
Being gay does not give you special license
to offend. Unfortunately, I found certain
language in your column very offensive.
Imagine for just a moment that you were
straight. Such a phrase as "surely I like the
cock" might translate into "surely I like the
pussy." Something tells me women might
find such a line objectifying and offensive,
and hopefully, someone would say some-
thing about it. Being a man, I feel similar
about your words. Including brief anecdotes
in your articles of your sexual exploits - or
perhaps given your tone, conquests - is
unnecessary and makes other members of
your community feel more like targets than
people. Yes, you've got a constitutional
right to say whatever the heck you want in
this paper, but please don't abuse it. You
write for The Michigan Daily, which gives
you significant power to be heard. With that
power comes responsibility. I'm appealing
for maturity, decency, respect and sensitiv-
ity. In short, be a man.
To the staff of Weekend Magazine:
I'm not asking you to walk on eggshells.
Indeed, a large part of the Daily's appeal is
its boldness. However, I must ask that you
be consistent when deciding what is accept-
able in your paper. It is alarming to me
that the only cultural group it is currently
socially acceptable to offend is straight
white males. Believe it or not, we've got
feelings too.
Ryan Kotenko
Engineering Freshman
U.S. needs to increase its

compared to other industrialized democ-
racies is a false and dishonest discussion."
The statistics regarding the very Millen-
nium Challenge donations that Peskowitz
supports debunk this claim.
The Millennium Challenge, in the Mon-
terrey Consensus of 2002, states that all
governments are committed to a target of
0.7 percent of their GNP for developmental
assistance. The United States is currently
spending between 0.11 and 0.15 percent
Gross National Product on aid. That is the
lowest of all 22 donor countries!
In addition, Norway (0.92), Denmark
(0.84), Luxemburg (0.81), the Nether-
lands (0.80) and Sweden (0.79) have all
exceeded the 0.7 percent pledge.
I see this as a real opportunity for the
American Left. The tsunami of Southeast
Asia has made global aid a frontline polit-
ical issue in America. Most Americans
are not content with an isolationist poli-
cy when it comes to emergency response
and "third- world" development, and
were troubled by President Bush's lack
of urgency and world leadership when it
came to tsunami relief. While the subse-
quent $350 million donation was right on
target, that was after the initial pledges of
$15 million and $35 million were rightly
called "stingy" by the relief workers on
the ground in Asia. America should be
able to do the right thing without having
to be asked.
If the Left can call Bush to task on his
lack of complete support for the pledge
he made when he launched America's
Millennium Challenge Account in 2002
while simultaneously linking a smart,
compassionate foreign aid strategy to a
more effective war on terrorism, then you
can expect big gains for the Democrats at
the midterm elections.
Chad Rochkind
LSA Sophomore
Students should have to
take a gender and sexuality
requirement
To ThE DAILY:
T think the nrcnne~d gende'r and sexua1l-

and that not everyone keeps his birth sex.
You should see the connection I am making
whether you are gay or not.
While it is true that black Americans
have a history of slavery, oppression and
separatism, even if I accept the idea that
Americans may feel sorry for black Amer-
icans because of the visual and photo-
graphic reminders of racism, what Jason Z.
Pesick (Gay activists misinterpret civil rights
history, 12/14/2004) failed to recognize in
his article is that most civil rights move-
ments are actually based off the black civil
rights movement. Of course the gay rights
movement resembles the black civil rights
movement. It's the theory of organizations
- if I have a new organization that I want
to be successful, I am going to model it off
of previous successful organizations.
Pesick failed to point out one of the most
historic events, if not the historic event, of
gay history: the Stonewall riots in New
York. He did not mention Matthew Shep-
pard, who was killed simply because he
was gay. He did not point to the fact that
sodomy, and therefore a same-sex relation-
ship, was illegal in many states throughout
the United States until 2003. Nor did he
talk about the way in which men who iden-
tify as gay are treated in other places in the
world. Specifically, I am thinking about
Algeria or other Arabic countries where
homosexuality is punishable by death.
Moreover, people who identify as gay
do share a common historical experience.
Homophobia starts the instant you notice
me and presume that I am homosexual,
perhaps even before I have the chance to
defend myself. We know that some gays are
out while others are in. But the point is, if
I were driving through a homophobic part
of Alabama and if you, as a homophobe,
identified me as gay, you might attack me
the same way a member of the Ku Klux
Klan might attack me for identifying me as
black. I think you understand.
Madison Moore
LSA Senior

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