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September 21, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

OPINION

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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
44'We were
wasting our time
sleeping and
engaging in idle
chit chat."
- Suspected terrorist Abu Ali, denigrating
what he perceived as a lack of commitment
by fellow al- Qaida members with whom le
shared a house, during an interview with
Saudi interrogators, as reported yesterday
by The Associated Press.

Jesse
Levine

THE THUMBS HAVE IT

Michigan
Student
Assembly

The Michigan Student Assembly president
was handed his first defeat when the as-
sembly shot down his proposal to create
an MSA-City Council liason in a voice
vote.
The assembly breaks with its president to
down a proposal aimed at improving
relations with the city. Coming soon: The
Ann Arbor Couch Ban, version 2005.
With most of the Gulf still reeling from
Katrina, Rita's knocking on the door. At
least this time, we know what a direct hit
can do to a city that lies below sea level.

Gulf
Coast

Serving America
JEFF CRAVENS JAYH lAWK BLuES
F or the last week, I We've seen our share of wars and crises but given the choice, some Americans inclined
have been getting lately, but what has Bush done? In response to to combat might replace those who only enlist-
reports on relief Sept. 11, Bush told us to carry on as usual, to ed for economic reasons.
efforts in the Gulf Coast show no fear and to keep consuming. During I'm imagining the effect of this requirement
from my friend, one of Iraq, he gave the rich a tax cut and asked us to on three groups of people: those who are com-
' thousands of Red Cross pray for the troops. Meanwhile, poor and dis- passionate and socially invested in this coun-
volunteers in the region. proportionately black citizens were paying with try, those who are compassionate but ignorant
While indulging myself their lives for the war, much the same popula- of social problems and those who are selfish,
going to bars or watch- tion who suffered in Katrina. My friend said usually privileged and ignorant of social prob-
ing football games with of the survivors: "Some of them may have just lems. The latter group - which I hope is very
my housemates, I have lost their clothes, but they were poor to begin small - is a lost cause. Like Bush during
been reminded that many Americans are lending with." Bush's response to crises is similar to his Vietnam, they'd have enough money or know
a hand to those in need. The rest of us should response to most social problems: laissez-faire. the right people to avoid service, or else they'd
step up and take a greater stake in this country. As we saw on live television, this "hands-off" grudgingly complete their service. The first
In Jackson, Miss. where my friend is sta- policy, in the case of the poorest and weakest group would have worked for a good cause any-
tioned, the Red Cross is giving individuals citizens, is tantamount to violent neglect. way, but this requirement would provide them
$360 for a head of a household and $300 for We must up our personal ante in this country, a greater pool of allies and resources to draw
each additional family member. Most of these especially because our leaders aren't asking us upon. The second group is the most important:
people - unlike some further South - are no to. One way to do that is through agencies like generally good people, but through status or
longer living in shelters and are now trying to the Red Cross or in programs like Americorps. circumstance they end up following the sta-
get their lives back together. The Federal Emer- Americorps, sometimes called the domes- tus quo. These are the people who desperately
gency Management Agency, which apparently tic Peace Corps, connects more than 70,000 need to go down into the trenches. They need
nobody has seen or been able to get in touch Americans to nonprofit organizations to meet to go to Detroit, New Orleans, Baghdad - and
with in Jackson, is supposedly helping provide the country's needs in education, public safety, not for two hours a week to tutor or for a week
permanent housing. As the relief phase moves health and the environment. Formally estab- over spring break, but for at least a year. I say
into the rebuilding phase, more volunteers will lished in '93, Americorps combined Volun- at least, because some of these people, after
be needed to extend housing, health care and teers in Service to America, a program created teaching in an inner-city school or working in
employment to Katrina survivors. by Johnson in '64, and the National Civilian a shelter, will not leave. They will see that they
President Bush said in his speech last week Community Corps. VISTA creates permanent have a continuing duty to their fellow citizens.
that "We will not just rebuild, we will rebuild infrastructure to raise individuals and commu- Many people would criticize the type of
higher and better." Sounds good to me - like nities from poverty. requirement I have proposed and for different
most of the rhetoric Bush uses - but I don't Another way to get people invested in this reasons. Some of their criticisms are valid,
believe him and never will. country, something I've been pondering for a and implementing such a requirement would
Historically, wars and crises have invoked while, would be a one-year national service be an incredible public policy challenge. In the
a greater sense of duty for the average citizen. requirement. Here's how it would work: Every meantime, don't let Katrina become another
In response to the Great Depression, Franklin young man and woman, preferably before the tragic storm that we throw money at and for-
D. Roosevelt ordered the establishment of pro- age of 23, would be required to spend a year in get about in a year or two. This is a chance for
grams like the Work Project Administration the military or any number of social welfare us to personally commit ourselves to a better,
that created jobs and permanent infrastructure. programs. Programs might include tutoring at more decent society.
During World War II, the entire country mobi- an inner-city-school, building houses on the
lized: Those who didn't fight often worked Gulf Coast or helping out at an AIDS clinic. Cravens can be reached at
extra hours in factories and rationed goods. Nobody would be forced to join the military, jjcrave@umich.edu.
Abortion? The least of our worries
MARA GAY C-1MMON SENSE
1ike conserva- informed about the availability of emergency condoms do not offer effective protection against
tives, I too contraception, revictimizing women at a time pregnancy or the AIDS virus.
would like to when they most need to be empowered. Embracing a woman's right to reproductive
see a grassroots moral The summer brought with it a pharmaceuti- choice is not political but pragmatic. If we know
resurgence in America. cal rebellion of sorts, with individual pharma- it is inevitable that youth will have sex (We do.),
Beginning, naturally, cists refusing to administer the morning-after pill then it must be rational to encourage them to do
with the acknowl- because of their moral or religious beliefs. Incred- it safely (It is.).
edgement that when it ibly, though an Illinois court recently riled that As the culture war rages on, just about every-
comes to reproductive prescriptions must be filled regardless of one's ide- body - from religious leaders, to right-wing
freedom, the nation's ological stance, other states' courts, like Colorado, zealots, to moderate poll-pleasers - has weighed
true moral majority have found in favor of the individual pharmacist. in on a woman's right to choose. And to be hon-
lies with 51 percent of the population - the And last month, while college students vaca- est, I'm having trouble understanding why.
150 some odd million Americans who own tioned, the Wisconsin state House of Representa- After all, many conservatives offer grand
a uterus. tives quietly passed a bill that would make it illegal ideological reasoning to justify the chipping
It is easy to get swept away by the Roe v. for the University of Wisconsin to prescribe, dis- away of women's rights. But they do not offer
Wade rumble. But as unlikely as it already is, pense or advertise any form of birth control or life-saving information to young girls about
the overturning of Roe v. Wade is not the climax emergency contraceptive. Dan .LeMahieu (R), how to prevent sexually transmitted diseas-
to the culture wars many believe it to be. the state representative who introduced the bill, es for which there are no cures. The great
Those who fear abortions will return to the claimed that "dispensing birth control and emer- majority are not willing to pay for child care
back alleys need not worry - a majority of gency contraceptives leads to promiscuity." While or welfare or health insurance for the babies
Americans continue to support the 1972 U.S. Wisconsin's Democratic governor promised to of babies.
Supreme Court decision, and the procedure veto the bill, the very fact that such a bill was even Though it has been turned into somewhat of
remains as popular as it is controversial - more considered threatens to usurp the rights of women a bumper-sticker cliche, the mantra holds true:
than 35,000 abortions are performed in this across the country. Keep your laws off my body. After all, even
country every year. Equally disturbing is the way in which the fed- those conservatives who do have a uterus do
In truth, abortion is little more than a red eral government has restricted access to informa- not necessarily possess the morals that every
herring in what has become a greater war on tion. Under the Bush administration, only those other woman must live by.
a woman's right to make informed decisions programs that teach "abstinence-only" sexual A woman's right to make informed deci-
about her body and her life. education receive federal funding. The policy is sions about her own body and her own life is
While partisans squabble on about John Rob- not only naive, but also dangerous - study after -unassailable. It is a very fundamental, very
erts's nomination to the Supreme Court and the study has found that students who complete absti- human and very personal right that must be
effect it may have on Roe v. Wade, few realize nence-only sexual education are no less likely to protected from the whims of party lines, reli-
that the chipping away of important reproduc- engage in premarital sex than their peers and are gious affiliation and politics. And it is a right
tive freedoms is already well under way. actually less likely to use a condom when they do whose protection is vital if we are to be able to
In January, for example, the U.S. Department so. This may be because a few abstinence-only say that America is truly free.
of Justice issued an official protocol for treat- education programs have even been found lying
ing rape victims. But nowhere in the protocol to students about the importance and life-saving Gay can be reached at
does i ensure or even suggest that women be ability of condoms - claiming for instance, that maracl@umich.edu.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

0

1

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Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Amanda Burns, Whitney Dibo,
Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Eric Jackson, Brian Kelly, Theresa Kennelly,
Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Dan Skowronski, Brian Slade, Lauren
~1 1,. cmra. q%.nJ ,-"Afl Tnuinr.

Language requirement
changes wifl help students
TO THE DAILY:

students won't be proficient after only two semes-
ters in one language, a student also may not be
proficient after four semesters in one language.
It all depends upon the student's willingness to
learn, and no one can force someone else to learn.

Education. Therefore, I lack the free time to pur-
sue my interest in Spanish, Italian, Chinese and
German.
I am extremely proud to have a student govern-
ment that is working for me and not afraid to initi-
..t_ -1,,,., - - . ... I - - t nr h n

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