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January 13, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-13

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 13, 2005

OPINION

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothiedaily@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
We cannot
become Republican
clones."
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), speaking
to the National Press Club, on the future of
the Democratic Party, as reported yesterday
by CNN.com.

COLIN DALY F~N ciiv> ;
FOR ONE PWS
A cGjOlc5.

01

The great white American superiority complex
JOEL HOARD O EIfYiA i

ver the past few
years, I've devel-
oped a habit of
watching and listening to
right-wing television and
radio programs - "The
O'Reilly Factor" and Pat
Robertson's "The 700
Club" have always been
two of my faves. But I don't
watch because I agree with their views (I'm one
of those liberals they hate so much for ruining
their country.) The real fun lies in the spectacles
they put on: how O'Reilly spins facts into "facts"
or just makes shit up on the spot, or Robertson's
astonishing ability to frame every political issue
within the context of the Christian Bible.
But lingering just below the radar, there exists
a man who makes the O'Reillys and Robertsons
of the world look like Marxists. He calls himself
Michael Savage, and his nationally syndicated
radio program "The Savage Nation" boasts a lis-
tenership in the millions. MSNBC aired a short-
lived television version of the program in 2003,
but that came to an abrupt end when Savage
called a homosexual caller a "sodomite" and told
him to "get AIDS and die."
In case that doesn't paint a clear enough
picture of Savage, his beliefs could best be
described thusly: White, conservative, Chris-
tian, heterosexual Americans are the only
worthwhile human beings on the planet, and
everyone else should die. He called for the
nuclear bombing of a random Arab capital,
has unedited, uncensored videos of Americans

being beheaded on his website and recently
said the 150,000 people killed in the tsunami
disaster in South Asia, many of them Muslims,
got what they deserved and they don't deserve
our help. After all, he asked, where was Sri
Lanka after 9/11?
Of course it's all an act to some extent, and
anyone with a conscience can see that Savage is a
hack and a nut job, but simply dismissing him as
such would be to pass on an incredible opportuni-
ty to explore what is presently America's number
one problem: its superiority complex.
Savage verbalizes what so many Americans
believe in secret or, at the very least, on a subcon-
scious level, which is that Americans are a super-
race that exist on a plane far above that of every
other nation. We have more money, our style of
government is superior, our religion is better and
so on. The rest of the world be damned.
It's inherent in the fact that so few Americans
make any effort to understand other cultures in
the least. It's in the way we look down our noses
at every nation that doesn't employ a U.S.-style
democracy. And, perhaps saddest of all, it's in
the way our government handles our foreign rela-
tions, represented in recent years most heinously
by the Iraq War.
Following the tsunami disaster, the United
States had a tremendous opportunity to show
the world once and for all that it cared for people
other than its own. Our offer of $35 million, was
dismissed as stingy by U.N. Undersecretary Gen-
eral for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland. So in
response to Egeland, we added a zero on the end
to make it a cool $350 million.

To the U.S., $350 million is next to nothing.
It's our way of saying that we helped without even
really helping much at all. I'm not for a moment
suggesting that the U.S. should be responsible for
bailing every impoverished nation out of every
jam they encounter, but when a disaster of this
magnitude occurs, we owe it to our fellow man to
help out as much as we can.
But that brings me back to my original point,
which is that we don't even view those affected
by the tsunami as our fellow men. We see them
as lesser beings or, to borrow Savage's term,
"sub-humans." If 150,000 Americans were
killed in a natural disaster, we would expect
the world to weep for us and observe a 40-day
mourning period. When it happens to 150,000
brown people in the middle of the Indian
Ocean, sure it's sad, but these things happen.
It's like Jon Stewart et al. say in "America
(The Book):" "2,000 Massacred Congolese =
500 Drowned Bangladeshis = 45 Fire-bombed
Iraqis = 12 Car-bombed Europeans = 1 Snip-
ered .American."
Now more than ever, Americans need to think
globally and consider what is best for the world
rather than what is best for America. I'm proud to
see that Americans have already donated millions
of dollars to disaster relief efforts, but money is
one thing, and respect is another. Only when we
hold true respect for all people can we make real
progress. Until then, as far as I'm concerned,
we're all a bunch of Savages.
Hoard can be reached
atj.ho@umich.edu

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Palestinian election not a
true, competitive race
To THE DAILY:
Nobody seems to have noticed the essen-
tial irony of the Palestinian elections: There
seemed to be no candidates, while the win-
ner, Mahmoud Abbas, was virtually assumed
to have won prior to the elections themselves!
Of course, there were candidates, such as Mus-
tafa Barghouti (brother of Palestinian politi-
cal prisoner Marwan Barghouti), who was
routinely detained, harassed and intimidated
by the Israeli military during the "campaign
process." On Dec. 26, for example, in East
Jerusalem, Israeli policemen removed the only
billboard that contained Barghouthi's presi-
dential election materials and detained the
campaign advertisement manager for interro-
gation. Barghouti is a grassroots human rights
campaigner, struggling for Palestinians' social,
medical and educational needs. Along with the
late Edward Said and others, he established the
Palestinian National Initiative in 2002, which
aimed to build democracy in Palestine and
worked toward reform, the cause of Palestin-
ian liberation and the right of return. Clearly,
he is not some riffraff you simply detain and
humiliate when you please, although this was
precisely the way he was treated by the Israeli.
military. Abbas, however, was given $20 mil-
lion in frozen funds by Israel as well a free
hand to travel throughout the Occupied Ter-
ritories without infringement. If this is how
elections are conducted in the Occupied Terri-
tories, then one can hardly call this a "historic
moment." Elections mean candidates in the
plural, not candidate.
Tarek R. Dika
LSA senior
The letter writer is the vice chair of Students
Allied for Freedom and Equality.
Editorial misses point;
banning Bible class would
be unconstitutional
TO THE DAILY:
The Daily's staff editorial entitled A Glar-
ing Violation (01/11/2005) is just that, a glar-
ing violation. The article talks about a course
being considered at Frankenmuth High School,
among others, that would teach the Bible as

knowledge. What would be unconstitutional
and a threat to the preservation of student civil
liberties is if this class were removed from
schools as an elective, in which case, schools
would be discriminating against those inter-
ested in the Bible, taking it out for no reason
other than to persecute those interested in its
studies.
Those crying out that such a course is
"an unambiguous infringement on the First
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution" should
take a closer look at the situation. The purpose
of the First Amendment was not to complete-
ly remove religion from government-funded
establishments, but to avoid imposing any one
specific religion on the entire country. So the
phrase "Congress shall make no law respect-
ing an establishment of religion," should not
mean that religion cannot survive in our liberal
society like some individuals bastardize it to
mean, but rather that our government cannot
make us follow or practice any one particular
religion against our will or establish a particu-
lar religion as the official one of our country.
And that is clearly not the intention of offering
the course in question.
I sincerely hope that the Daily further
investigates the situations on which it chooses
to write editorials, especially those as contro-
versial as the First Amendment and its place
in academia.
Anthony Hessler
Art and Design senior
Arguments presented for
abortion are flawed
TO THE DAILY:
In the letters to the editor by the executive
board of Students for Choice (Columnist misun-
derstands nature of abortion debate, 01/12/2005)
and Greg Malivuk (Abortion, beating with a
bat are different, 01/12/2005), there were some
common misconceptions mentioned that I
believe warrant further discussion. In the Stu-
dents for Choice letter, the writers spoke of
casualties beginning after the Hyde Amend-
ment, while casualties actually began after the
passing of Roe v. Wade.
An unborn fetus is not a potential person; it
is a person. The child has separate DNA from
the mother, and in half of cases, even has a
different gender. How is this not a person?
The writers' proposed solution to preventing
cases like that of Rosie Jimenez is to provide

In Malivuk's letter, he seems to make the
claim that the death of a fetus is more accept-
able due to its quick method. Were I to be
murdered, my reluctance would not abate
with the quickness of the procedure. Malivuk
also writes that "For many pregnant women,
(abortion) is the only available option." That
is simply not true. Adoption and - I go out
on a limb - raising one's own offspring are
wonderful, safe and rewarding choices.
The old argument of concern for the well
being of the child is outrageous. There exist
waiting lists of thousands of people waiting to
go overseas to adopt a child because there are
not enough here. Our campus leaders, regard-
less of ideological disposition, should be capa-
ble of much more logical arguments for their
case than those they presented in the Daily.
Gideon D'Assandro
LSA freshman
Affirmative action
contrary to the ideal of a
meritocratic society
TO THE DAILY:
I've read many articles defending affirma-
tive action from its opponents, but I've never
read one as vitriolic as Jasmine Clair's recent
column (Reforming the American Dream ...
I mean lie, 01/11/2005). In her piece, Clair
appears to have no interest in espousing any
possible virtues of affirmative action. Rather,
she seems only to be interested in depicting
those who disagree with her as selfish exploit-
ers who seem to rob the American proletariat
of its meager earnings and put it into social
and economic slavery.
But once one looks past Clair's anger, a
simple principle emerges; the principle that
people should not be treated as individuals,
but as just one small part of a larger race or
social class. What she seeks is not a society
where all men are created equal, but one
where the haves are sacrificed for the have-
nots. So what if a white or Asian person is
more than qualified to get into the University?
That individual's achievements shouldn't mat-
ter because these races are already over rep-
resented. The ultimate outcome of decisions
such as these is that achievement takes a back
seat to uncontrollable factors such as race
and economic background when determining
qualifications for admittance. So much for the

i

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