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September 27, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-27

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 27, 2006



Cl4le l Citl gttn ttilg

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors Managing Editor
413 E. HURON
ANN ARBOR, Ml 48104

[4. IL/
Catch a Xenophobic Conservative Day

An easy pill to swallow
Wal-Mart's price drop a band-aid for medical costs
Though some perceive Wal-Mart's citizens, many Americans have inad-
latest pricing gimmick as noth- equate financial resources to access
ing more than a PR pick-me-up, preventive health care, such as doctors'
the discount chain's recent price rollback visits and screenings. Wal-Mart cannot
marks the first of its kind. Last week, act as the sole defense in the battle to
executives announced Wal-Mart pharma- overcome pricey drugs. Without access
cies will sell a variety of popular gener- to affordable health care, many Ameri-
ic drugs at a maximum of four dollars cans will still be beleaguered by high
per monthly supply. The drug incentive medical costs.
began this week in Tampa, FL, though While pharmacies backed by large
Wal-Mart hopes to stock all its pharma- corporations are able to negotiate lower
cies across America with these four-dol drug costs with pharmaceutical compa-
lar generics soon. Wal-Mart's plan will nies, Medicare can't use its sheer size to
certainly do more than just boost sales bargain for lower drug prices. Republi-
and mend its image - it will make some can legislators - who would be quick
prescription drugs more affordable for to point to Wal-Mart's drug plan as an
consumers. However, even if the four- example of the free market addressing
dollar trend swept through pharmacies the nation's health care crisis - made
nationwide, making prescription drugs sure that the legislation enabling Medi-
more affordable is only one element of a care to offer prescription drug coverage
comprehensive set of health care reforms also forbade Medicare from negotiating
America needs. for lower prices. Remedying that error
Wal-Mart has been sure to highlight would save money - and the savings
that the official list of generic drugs could be used to narrow the "dough-
offered at four dollars a month totals nut hole" in Medicare drug coverage.
291 medications - though some pre- Currently, participants must cover the
scriptions are counted multiple times full price of their drugs once the total
for different dosages and forms. None- cost - to the plan and the consumer
theless, Wal-Mart's pharmacy plan does - reaches $2,250; coverage doesn't
include 90 of the most popular antibiot- pick up again until the consumer, often
ics, antidepressants and other prescrip- a retiree on a fixed income, has paid
tion drugs commonly found in medicine more than $3,000 out of pocket.
cabinets across America. Other super- Wal-Mart's plan has shown the mar-
store chains, such as Target, are already ket can provide part of the solution to
imitating Wal-Mart's latest price-slash- high drug costs. But it is not a solution
ing concept. to the lack of affordable health care.
The discount on generic drugs will A four-dollar prescription is useless to
benefit consumers - including Wal- those can't afford to see a doctor. While
Mart employees, who need cheaper Wal-Mart's plan may relieve some costs,
drugs thanks to their poverty-level America's health care system will need
wages and inadequate health insur- far more comprehensive change to pro-
ance. Not only do insured individuals vide universal care. Recent census data
have the option to purchase the four- show the number of uninsured is ris-
dollar drugs and sidestep the hassle of ing, while the proportion of the popu-
dealing with insurance companies, but lation covered by an employer's health
uninsured consumers will be able to plan is falling. Access to health care, it
buy some prescription drugs at afford appears, is rapidly becoming a luxury
able rates. good - and that's a failing that no sin-
With nearly 50 million uninsured gle corporation can address.
Send all letters to the editor to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

hunters: If
you were
out early
this morn-
ing looking
around for
that prom-
ised illegal immigrant hunt,
don't fret - Catch an Illegal
Immigrant Day has only been
postponed until the end of the
month. The University's chapter
of Young Americans for Freedom
will be the proud sponsors - and
don't worry about the details;
they will actually provide both a
volunteer immigrant and a net.
YAF gets points for shock
value. We all know that our soci-
ety responds particularly well to
this type of in-your-face public-
ity, and I suppose YAF can't be
faulted for taking advantage of
our societal need for sensational-
ism. Still, as person who thrives
on intelligent debate, I just lost a
little more faith in the far right.
Now I'm not a knee-jerk lib-
eral - I think it's great when
a conservative friend can make
me question my own views and
look at today's issues in a dif-
ferent light. I wish we had more
conservative activists at the
University, because as Sandra
Day O'Conner says, "a, robust
exchange of ideas" always makes
for an enhanced discussion. I
want to listen to the right, even
the far right - but events like
Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day
make me want to shut myself up
in my little liberal closet and
never come out.
This event is not so differ-
ent than last year's "Conserva-
tive Coming Out Day," which
was another insensitive attack,
this time on members of the gay
community coming out to their
family and friends. It's times
like these (or rather publicity

stunts like these) that close my
mind to the right-wingers on our
The ironic thing is immigra-
tion isn't even an issue split
clearly down party lines. Politi-
cians on both sides of the fence
agree that some kind of reform
is needed, given the estimated
11 million living people with-
out documentation in the United
States. However, few are suggest-
ing a remedy of total deportation
- except, of course, people like
Michigan State University's YAF
chair Kyle Bristow, who said
Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day
is "a game the U.S. government
needs to play about 13 million
times." What a shame to take an
issue that has the ability to bridge
the gap between Democrats and
Republicans and polarize it.
Forget the name for a moment.
What is the purpose of this event?
Campus YAF chair Andrew Boyd
says he wants to educate people
on the topic of immigration. And
maybe he does. In my opinion,
though, Boyd and his YAFers are
losers either way. If people don't
show up for Catch an Illegal
Immigrant Day, the group will
look like ignorant xenophobes
who isolated themselves from
the campus through a startlingly
offensive event. If people do show
up, it will be another victory for
overwrought sensationalism.
At the end of the day, YAF's
major fault here is dehumanizing
a very human issue. The immi-
gration problem is not about
rounding up bunch of illiterate,
low-wage workers and sending
them back to where they came
from. It's an extremely nuanced,
multifaceted issue - complete
with severe implications for our
economy and workforce. Con-
sider a couple that has been liv-
ing in the United States illegally
for 25 years, with college-age
children who are American citi-
zens - does this family merit
deportation? These are the com-

plex situations politicians must
consider when they think about
But say that YAF, even after
considering the many layers of
the immigration issue, still want-
ed to come out strongly against
any type amnesty for illegal
immigrants. There are many
ways to make a splash without
alienating liberals, centrists and
thoughtful Republicans alike.
There is poignancy to an
approach that clearly articulates
the rationale behind a posi-
tion taken, and does not simply
seek to shock and offend. And I
can respect conservatives who
approach discussion with liberals
in this way. With Catch an Illegal
Immigrant Day however, YAF
has only succeeded in perpetu-
ating the left's already negative
perception of the extreme right.
Even the College Republicans
have rightfully come out against
YAF's event, wanting to distance
themselves from it as much as
possible. If College Republi-
cans are serious about not being
lumped with the sponsors of
Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day,
they should paint a sign or two
and protest in the Diag alongside
College Dems who will no doubt
be out showing their disgust.
Maybe YAF and other right-
wing extremists don't want reach
across party lines to make prog-
ress. Morgan Wilkins, the mas-
termind behind the Catch and
Illegal Immigrant Day, said in
an interview with The Michigan
Daily that College Republicans
are "naive" to think they can
even enter into dialogue with
Democrats. But we certainly
won't get anywhere by heating
up the culture war with inflam-
matory eventslike this; which
only serve to widen the chasm
between the far right and well,
everyone else.
Dibo can be reached at


T-shirts don't stop genocide


Daily gives gay-basher on
Diag too much publicity
I found the article on Michael Venyah in
the Daily yesterday extremely frustrating
(Anti-gay speakers ignite volatile crowd on Diag,
09/26/2006). This despicable man's attempt at
publicity has succeeded largely because of the
Daily's decision to print this front-page story,
complete with an offensive color photograph.
It's bad enough that students have to stoop
to this man's level by flicking cigarette ash,
taunting and basically egging him on - but by
the Daily's interview and photograph, Venyah
has been encouraged to come back and do it
all again. He now has exactly what he came
-here to get.
Megan Nestor
Architecture and Urban Planning
Hypocritical Wilkins should
go back to Kentucky
I read the article about Morgan Wilkins
with interest (Confessions of a young conserva-
tive, 09/25/2006). What caught my eye is that,
regarding her pregnancy, the writer stated that
"...she chose to have the child" and "Wilkins
said that deciding against having an abor-
tion..." (emphasis added). I find these to be
the most operative words of the article.
Thank goodness that, thanks to the liber-
als that she disdains, Wilkins had a choice to
make regarding whether to abort her pregnan-
cy or have a baby at 15. It was something that
she decided to do. How hypocritical is it of her
to freely make this choice for herself and then
to dedicate her life's work to taking that very
choice away from other women?
She states that " ... conservative policies
were the correct ones." I might add that they

are the correct ones - for her. What she and
other conservatives fail to understand is that
a liberal philosophy leaves room for many
viewpoints, including conservative ones. A
conservative philosophy leaves no room for
interpretation and makes no allowance for dif-
ferent viewpoints. There is only one right way,
and if you don't agree, that's just too bad.
Wilkins, please go back to Kentucky and
live your life as you see fit according to your
personal values. I don't need you carpet-bag-
ging your way across my city and telling me
that my values aren't good enough. If it were
not for liberals, you would probably still be in
that gutter that you so valiantly climbed out
of twice in your life and wear like a badge of
Robert Levine
Ann Arbor
In religion, hate is the
message of a minority
As I stood in the Diag earlier this week to
listen to the two preachers spout their message
of hate, I noticed that a good portion of the
crowd was made up of Christians who were
horrified at the way their faith was being por-
trayed. In an almost apologetic way, they were
explaining that this is really not what Christi-
anity was about. I wanted to take the oppor-
tunity to point out, during the holy month of
Ramadan, that the situation is analogous to
the unfortunate use of al-Qaida and the like
as representatives of the peaceful religion of
Islam. The important thing for us to remember
is that there is no inherent hatred or violence
in these faiths - only in the hearts of a tiny
minority of so-called "followers."
Ryan Jaber
The letter writer is an LSA senior
and a cartoonistfor the Daily.

Has any-
body read
that Nazis
a are gonna
march in
New Jersey?
Y'know, I
read this in
the newspa-
per. We should go down there,
get some guys together, y'know,
get some bricks and baseball
bats and really explain things to
Socialite: There is this devas-
tating satirical piece on that on
the op-ed page of the Times, it is
Isaac Davis: Well, a satirical
piece tn the Times is one thing,
but bricks and baseball bats
really gets right to the point.
A scene from Woody Allen's
n Spanish class the other day,
I couldn't help but notice
the T-shirt a girl in my class
was wearing. No doubt my eye
gravitated in that direction in
part because she was one of the
prettier girls in the room, but
also because the shirt was bright
green and emblazoned in white-
script with the words "Stop the
Genocide in Sudan," fixed above
a similarly stark white drawing of
what looked to be a destitute, non-
Arab African woman. We could,
I suppose, debate the chauvinism
inherent in the depiction - the
stereotyped "African" look of the
woman, the use of a woman as
a victimized symbol, etc. - but
frankly, I'd rather continue my
Our paths inadvertently
crossed in the hallway - that
romantic kismet of coinciden-
tal direction - and I figured I
would say something nice about
her shirt, something to the effect
of how "awesome" it was and
inquiring where someone could
purchase one. I'm no Don Juan,
but I nonetheless thought my
overture to be sincere and ami-

She responded tepidly that she
got it in high school, but it could
still be purchased online at the
website of one of the count-
less nonprofit ventures whose
names are invariably composed
of varying placements of the
words 'save,' 'stop,' 'genocide,'
and 'Darfur.' All these syntacti-
cal variations supposedly dem-
onstrate a desire to surcease the
(by all measures) appalling acts
of genocide occurring before the
eyes of a disinterested world.
I'm skeptical of aid work, but we
were on the same page, which
is precisely why I had inquired
about the T-shirt.
Then I went a step further,
attempting wit in my trademark
frankness. I've always found
the volunteer International Bri-
gades of the Spanish Civil War
as embodying liberal activism:
That foreign nationals - from
myriad countries would volun-
teer their lives to fight fascism
in a foreign country demon-
strated to me both the zeal and
fortitude requisite of strong
liberalism. Those like George
Orwell, Stephen Spender (both
writers) and the American vol-
unteers of the "Abraham Lin-
coln Brigade" inspired my own
half-serious idea for a crack bri-
gade of young American liber-
als willing to arm and train to
fight the Janjaweed in Sudan.
It's something I had thought a
lot about recently (at least as
an alternative if I don't get into
grad school): Getting together
some committed liberals, hiring
a few old vets to instruct us in
weapons, map-reading and all
the part-and-parcel necessary
for training, and then heading
off to Sudan.
To be sure, it's a half-cooked
idea. Pampered college kids
probably don't make for good
soldiers. And some might say
that more violence is the last
thing the situation needs. But
these nonprofit aid groups aren't
doing shit to stop the genocide;
Sudan is basically a failed state,

vacated of its sovereignty if it
permits a sub-state militia to
troll its territories. There is suf-
ficient humanitarian and legal
cause for idealistic vigilantism.
What better way to fight a sub-
state militia than with a sub-
state militia?
So I mused: "I think we should
just form a band of trained vol-
unteers to fly to Sudan and
fight against the genocide. Like
Orwell in the Spanish Civil War,
Not even a smile from her.
Just a grunt.
I tried again, saying, "Seri-
ously, we'd go over and kick
some Janjaweed ass."
Still nothing.
Perhaps she mistook my joke
for irreverence towards the
admittedly serious situation.
Surely that wasn't my intent.
But more importantly, there is
a distressingly repressed facet
of liberalism that the event
demonstrated: Contemporary
liberals in Clinton's mold (i.e.
Rwanda) have entirely balked at
the notion of resisting - as in
using force - against totalitar-
ian or genocidal regimes. The
Camus-Orwell branch of vigi-
lant liberalism is all but extinct.
The post-1968 delusion of paci-
fism and nonviolence has reared
an entire generation of milque-
toast liberals bereft of any of
the fortitude or resolve vital to
the liberalism of the past. In its
stead, they have placed complete
faith in nonprofit aid work and
the fumbling mess of interna-
tional deliberation characteristic
of the United Nations
I don't want to put a bumper
sticker on my car to stop geno-
cide in Sudan. And I don't want to
wait for the money I send to an aid
organization to percolate through
its bureaucratic coffers before it
translates into real change.
I'm for bricks and baseball
bats over "devastating satire" or
ineffectual diplomacy.
Martina can be reached
at rmartina@umich.edu.



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