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January 19, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-19

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 19, 2006

OPINION

G9be idtihwn t"ailg

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
She wanted
to be there.
She felt that
her fate was
there."
- Jackie Spinner of The Washington Post, on
journalist Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped in Iraq
on Jan. 7, as reported yesterday by CNN.com.

KIM LEUNG TH T L-O sBM
4 a ' -
R ,~
witN

a

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.

The tricks they use
JESSE SINGAL TFEM T IL TiDE

6

s is frequently
pointed out,
Republicans
have a huge advan-
tage,communications-
wise, over Democrats.
This is due in no small
part to their ideologi-
cal control over AM
radio, which serves as
a primary source of
news and opinion for millions of Americans.
But it also has to do with the argumentative
style they have developed over the past few
years, a style that has since filtered down to
various pundits, talk show hosts and that
annoying kid in your econ class. When you
listen to the GOP's big guns - people like
Sean Hannity who attract legions of adoring
fans - you will find that they use the same
tactics over and over. These tactics, needless
to say, have little to do with the argument at
hand.
I'm going to list a few of the most popular
such conversational tools. Next time you're
arguing with a conservative, see how many
you can spot him or her using. In no way am
I saying that every conservative engages in
unfair tactics when arguing; certainly there are
intellectually honest conservatives who genu-
inely care about ideas and debate. But when
you watch the mainstream representatives of
the conservative movement, you can't help but
notice them use these cheap tricks.
Ad hominem ad infinitum - This one's
really annoying. An ad hominem attack is
one that discusses not the topic at hand, but

rather attacks the speaker or an entire class
of people he belongs to (ad hominem means
"to the man"). So if I'm arguing with a Diag
activist wearing a Che Guevara shirt over
some aspect of globalization, and I respond to
one of his points by saying, "Well, of course
you'd say that. You're wearing a Che shirt,
and anyone who wears a Che shirt clearly
doesn't know anything about politics," then
I have used this technique. Notice that what
I'm saying has nothing to do with the argu-
ment over globalization - instead I'm taking
the easy way out by attacking a broad class
of people.
It's a sneaky trick. Following the 2003
Massachusetts court decision that allowed
gay marriage in Massachusetts, Bill O'Reilly
responded with what I consider an awe-inspir-
ing example: "Secularists want few judgments
made about personal behavior. Traditionalists
believe judgments are necessary in a disci-
plined society." This had nothing to do with
the issue of gay marriage itself, the merits or
flaws of which O'Reilly was not addressing;
instead, in an attempt to skirt the actual issue,
he issued a broad, ultimately ludicrous attack
on secular people in general.
The terrorists care what you think - If
my first example is annoying, then this one
is downright insidious. We have been told
in recent years that certain dissenting opin-
ions aren't just wrong - they're helpful to
our enemy. This charge has come at every
important moment since Sept. 11. First those
who questioned the Patriot Act were aiding
our enemies, then those opposed to invading
Iraq were aiding our enemies. These days, it's

those who question the administration's strat-
egy in Iraq who are pouring cocoa for Osama
bin Laden.
This logic implies a very curious world-
view on the part of certain Republicans
- one in which Baathist insurgents are moti-
vated not by a desire to return to power in
Iraq, but rather by President Bush's falling
approval ratings; one in which the real cure
to Al Qaeda's apocalyptic vision of a unified
Islamic state is not effective counterterror-
ism measures, but rather unfailing agreement
with Bush. It just doesn't make much sense.
It's what the people want - Time to roll
out the opportunistic populism. When Repub-
licans are arguing for a position that can't be
rationally defended, this is their favorite tac-
tic. Because when we focus on what the peo-
ple want - not on what's the best, most just or
fairest solution - anything can make sense.
Bush's innermost strategic circle is masterful
at this. Though they actively fight the will of
the people in certain cases (physician-assist-
ed suicide in Oregon, medical marijuana in
California), when it comes to something like
gay marriage, they will constantly refer to
tradition, to the will of the public.
So the next time you get into a political
argument with a conservative (or a liberal, for
that matter), keep him on point - name-call-
ing, attacks on patriotism or the point of view
of the majority do not constitute a good argu-
ment. A defensible position should not have
to rely on such cheap rhetorical tricks.
Singal can be reached
atjsingal@umich.edu.

a

VIEWPOINT
India Resource Center commends Coke coalition

BY AMIT SRIVASTAVA
I am writing to commend the significant work
done by the student Coalition to Cut the Contract
with Coca-Cola. The persistence of the coali-
tion has resulted in one of the most prestigious
institutions of higher learning - the University
of Michigan - serving notice to the Coca-Cola
Company that business is not as usual. The sus-
pension of Coca-Cola's contract at the University
is arguably one of the most successful actions
of international solidarity that the campaign has
experienced so far.
The actions at the University have put further
pressure on Coca-Cola, demanding that it clean
up its act in India.
The student-led campaign at the University is
part of a growing movement to hold Coca-Cola
accountable. In the last two months alone, more
than 3,000 people have marched in different parts
of India to demand accountability from Coca-Cola,
and many more demonstrations are expected in
the next month. The courts have started validating
the concerns of the communities in India through
their rulings, and even the state government of
Kerala has aligned itself with these communities

by challenging Coca-Cola's right to extract water
in the Supreme Court of India.
I continue to be disappointed by Coca-Cola's
response. The company continues to deny respon-
sibility for the crimes it has committed in India
and has embarked upon an ambitious public rela-
tions exercise to somehow "spin" the problems
away. The campaign to hold the Coca-Cola Com-
pany accountable will continue to grow until the
company embarks on genuine initiatives involv-
ing the primary stakeholders - the communities
- to solve the crisis.
I am also alarmed by the language adopted by
the University administration in its correspon-
dence with the Coca-Cola Company, repeatedly
crediting the company with acting in good faith.
Even a cursory consultation with communities in
India suggest otherwise - that Coca-Cola con-
tinues to act with arrogance in India while the
adverse impacts of its operations in India continue
to increase.
The campaign welcomes an investiga-
tion into the issues in India at any time - as
long as it is truly independent. The current
process is extremely flawed. Coca-Cola cre-
ated a committee to coordinate carry out an

independent investigation into allegations
against its operations in India and Colom-
bia, but in the initial meetings neither the
India Resource Center nor the communities
in India were informed, invited or consulted.
It was only after strong student intervention
that Coca-Cola was removed from the com-
mission. The commission has not yet met on
the Indian issues, and we are concerned about
the University placing too much faith in this
"one-sided" process. The commission enjoys
no credibility whatsoever in India primar-
ily because Coca-Cola has been consulted
at every step of the way, and communities in
India have been excluded.
I agree with the Coke coalition that the cam-
paign to hold Coca-Cola accountable is far from
over. I will continue to work with the coalition to
ensure that the University continues to remain a
Coke-free campus until the demands of commu-
nities in India are met.
Srivastava is a representative of
the India Resource Center. The India Resource
Center is a project of Global Resistance and works
against corporate globalization in India.

6

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

4

Ford employs more
Christians than gays
TO THE DAILY:
The American Family Association shouldn't
be scoffed at for holding a company accountable
for not upholding its values (A boycott for bigotry,
01/17/2006). Isn't that what this University is doing
in regards to the Coca-Cola Company? No, Coke
certainly isn't going out of business because of us,
and I doubt the AFA thinks it can (or should) shut
down Ford.
The bottom line is that Ford will look at this in
terms of profits. It has to make a choice between
the activists for traditional family values and
activists for gay rights. Quite frankly, there are a
lot more people out there who identify themselves
in support of traditional family values than there
are gay activists. In the 2004 election, all 11 state
constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage
passed. This does not point to Christians losing

merely representing the majority of Americans),
and they will continue to do so despite the Daily
belittling them.
Andrea Holowecky
Business senior
Christians boycotting Ford
just like 'U cutting Coke
To THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to the editorial regard-
ing Ford Motor Company and the American Fam-
ily Association (A boycott for bigotry, 01/17/2006).
Two segments of the article are of particular
concern to me. It stated that Ford should not be
concerned with the implications of the boycott
of their products because "it does not constitute a
legitimate threat to the organization's livelihood."
Boycotting a product because of moral or ethical
standards? That sounds eerily similar to the situ-

editorial board and, more broadly, many students
on campus are apparently oblivious to the situa- 4
tions's obvious resemblance. These students and
writers are very concerned with morals and ethics
in regards to the workplace and salary, yet pay no
heed to sexual morality. I would submit to scru-
tiny the moral system of anyone who supports the
Coke boycott yet disagrees with the Ford. Some
might reply with nonsensical statements such as
"sexual issues are personal" or "that they do not
affect anyone else," so the Coke boycott is worth-
while and the Ford boycott is not.
I would respond by asking anyone who thinks
that way to speak with a child whose parents
have gone through a bad divorce. Issues of sexual
morality and family have far-reaching implica-
tions, just as issues of corporate ethics do. It is
imperative to realize that moral issues, both eco-
nomic and sexual, should not be taken a la carte.
Second, the editorial says that the AFA and
other "self-proclaimed soldiers of the 'culture

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Reggie Brown, Gabrielle
D'Angelo, John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared
Goldberg, Ashwin Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Frank Man-
ley, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Katherine Seid, Brian
Slade, John Stiglich, Imran Syed, Ben Taylor, Jessica Teng.

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