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February 20, 2007 - Image 4

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4 -Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

"Are you sure you're not having a bad day? And
tomorrow you'll feel differently about it?"
- Los Angeles Salon owner ESTHERTOGNOZZI in conversation with Britney Spears last week, shortly before the pop
star decided to shave her head, as reported yesterday by CNN.com.





Unsigned editorials reflectthe official positionof the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
SDS redux
New society has a monumental legacy to fulfill
A fter a nearly 40-year absence from Ann Arbor, Students for
a Democratic Society marked its return to the University
last week. With its protests of the draft and the Vietnam
War, SDS was once at the head of the New Left movement and the
catalyst for social change. This new edition of SDS has a long and
storied reputation to live up to, and it remains to be seen if the group
has fully committed itself to it, or if it will simply fall into irrelevance,
like so many other supposedly activist student groups.


Founded in Ann Arbor in 1960, the origi-
nal SDS operated until1969 under its mani-
festo, the Port Huron Statement. Dealing in
inspiring rhetoric and aggressive political
protest, it preached the agenda that came
to define a generation. It united an entire
nation of college students in the cause for
establishing the New Left and did so by
being vocal and being everywhere. As of
now, however, SDS is back in name only. It
must accomplish some tangible goals where
other student groups have failed to do so.
It is crucial for SDS to return to the ide-
als it held 40 years ago. The potential to
enact social and political change and fur-
ther participatory democracy cannot be
ignored if SDS is to have a profound impact
on campus. The group's members must rec-
ognize that the name Students for a Demo-
cratic Society means something special at
this University, and that it cannot go about
its goals in a half-hearted manner.
To be a group of action, SDS must clearly
define its goals. A starting point of advo-
cating temporary workers' rights and
denouncing the war in Iraq is just that - a
start. Before too long, the group needs to
consider other issues of significance to this

specific campus. In that vein, the issues to
be dealt with today may vary from what
SDS focused on in the past, and the orga-
nization must be flexible enough to act
The University became the seat of influ-
ence for social change in the 1960s and
could certainly be again. Times have
changed since then and the new SDS will
have far more resources to establish itself~
and make a difference quickly. Gaining'
support and visibility on campus needs to
be the first priority, because an SDS that
makes its presence known right away is far
more powerful than one that languishes,
for years without students even knowing:
of its existence.
viable grassroots activism has long been
absent from university campuses, and it
should be the charge of SDS to rekindle
that flame, not just to add to the litany of
meetings, sponsorships and events that
are the epitome of empty student activ-
ism. SDS's greatest achievement could be
the revival of one of the nation's sleeping
giants of progressive social change. It will
tarnish the work of its predecessors should
it aim for anything less.

am informed by newspapers that
we are about four years into the
I war in Iraq. But in my mind it has
been only 11 months, three weeks and
two days. That is the amount of time
this war has taken my friend Lucas away
from his family and friends. Regardless
of how you count it, it seems that the
days of this grand misadventure might
be numbered.
Last week, members of the U.S.
House of Repre-
sentatives went -
on the record to
oppose the war.
Here at the Uni-
versity, Students
for a Democrat-
ic Society, the
group famous for
mobilizing thou-
sands of college
students against MARA
has reemerged. GAY
But until some-
one can explain how this plan or that
protest is going to bring Lucas home,
it's all meaningless to me.
Always on the periphery of our com-
munal privilege, Lucas never com-
plained aboutthe financial struggles his
family faced. Instead, he thrived among
a group of friends who skied, summered
and lunched our way through a West-
chester, N.Y. adolescence. He belonged.
It was not until the second semester
of college that the reality of Lucas's sit-
uation became apparent: He could not
afford to return to school. For the first
time there was a separation between
us.I flew back to Michigan to study and
Lucas joined the army. He was sent to
Iraq last March.
In a column last Thursday, Whitney
Dibo described the attitude of detached
recognition this campus has adopted
toward the war (T&D department 'Con-
quers' with class, 02/16/2007): "I had
watched the astronaut attempted mur-

One of us
der story unfold on CNN all weekend,
but flipped channels during the Iraq
war updates. What would (a war pho-
tographer) think of my watching E! last
night, trying to figure out how exactly
Anna Nicole Smith had died?"
I must admit that this concept of
separateness - the ridiculous notion
that we are somehow removed from the
throes of this war because it is not us
doing the fighting - has sustained me
in this past year. It is this separateness
that has assuaged the guilt of a friend
and helped to justify her inaction.
Congress is not going to ask us to
make change, to stop a war or to cre-
ate a movement. It has never worked
that way. Powerful people - whether
they be presidents, senators or simply
members of older generations whose
ideas have passed their time - are
afraid of progress. They hope that we
are pacified by reality television and
Britney Spears's underpants. They
want us to remain immobilized by the
divisions of class and race we have
It's nice that the House has decided
to rebuke the president for his failed
crusade in Iraq. But really, the debate
being held in Congress is little more
than political posturing.And not unlike
other times in American history, it's up
to the youth to stop this war.
The University must weigh in on the
war in Iraq, not by protesting its exis-
tence (too late) or by exploiting it as a
political pawn for partisan gain, but by
organizing and demanding change.
The return of SDS to Michigan is
promising. I want to believe that it will
invigorate the debate and bring an end
to this war. But it cannot do so until we
acknowledge that the war in Iraq is as
much a part of our generation as "The
Real World" or MySpace.com. We can-
not wait for Congress to solve the quag-
mire it helped create. The revolution
may indeed be televised, but it will not
be broadcast by C-Span.

Yes, the idea of separateness is allur-
ing, and in the moments when I feel
particularly guilty, I have often looked
to it for relief. But for someone so far
removed from the classrooms of Angell
Hall, Lucas bears a striking resem-
blance to you and me. He still has his
Facebook.com account. I check up on
him from time to time, browse his pho-
tos of the endless desert and the cam-
ouflaged madness. Lucas's activities as
posted on Facebook include, "Building
sandcastles with Michael Farracaro." I
smile, encouraged by the thought that
what was always a wicked sense of
humor may survive Iraq.
Youth must stop
this war - for
their own sake.
Also on his Facebook profile is a
quote from Matisyahu, the. popular
Jewish reggae musician who happens
to be from our hometown of White
Plains, N.Y.:
Now death is all that's left toponder
I wander off hoping to catch my
And hold it, mold my memories from
untold scripts
And roll up in a tornado twist, now
I'm certain
There's a pertinent reason I'm on this
Seasons change in White Plains, but
we remain alert..
Lucas - like all our peers in Iraq
- does not belong to the ivory tow-
ers of academia. But he does belong to
our generation. Eleven months, three
weeks, and two days in, I just needed
to make sure someone else knew it, too.
Mara Gay can be reached
at maracl@umich.edu.

Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns,
Sam Butler, Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg,
Emmarie Huetteman, Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell,
Gavin Stern, John Stiglich, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek

'Make Ann Arbor Bright'
to fight campus crime
In response to last week's news article
about campus crime (Students robbed at gun-
point, 02/13/07), I'd like to point out that crime
is one of the major issues that the members of
Make Ann Arbor Bright are working hard to
alleviate. Crime has started to run rampant on
campus. Streetlights in Ann Arbor are critical
to the safety and peace of mind for University
students and their parents. Most people at the
University travel home late at night, and the
only protection they can hope for is light to
guide their way.
Campus blue light emergency phones
deter crime effectively. The addition of light
poles will do the same for the most poorly-
lit areas. In particular, the triangular inter-
section of East University Avenue, Tappan
Street and Prospect Street is in dire need of
up to six streetlights. Ann Arbor is not ful-
filling its ordinance requiring a streetlight
for every 180 feet in this intersection.
Make Ann Arbor Bright is addressing this
problem and has already successfully lobbied
the City Council to approve what is known as
a "special assessment district" in this area.
These districts have been set up only because
Ann Arbor has suspended the addition of
street lights due to financial problems. Make
Ann Arbor Bright has accomplished the pos-
sibility at least of adding six new street lights
but with one obstacle in the way: Ann Arbor
will require many years of funding for these
street lights to be installed.
The group intends to further lobby the
Department of Homeland Security and the
Department of Energy in order to see wheth-
er either will grant funds for this project.
Make Ann Arbor Bright is also considering
going to the University Board of Regents to
see if it would provide this funding because
the issue of lighting in off-campus areas
mainly targets students of the University.
Tyrone Schiff
LSA sophomore

Pointing out Church's
intolerance not unfair
In response to Daniel Phalen's letter to
the editor in Monday's Daily (Daily opin-
ion unfairly criticizes Church's intolerance,
02/19/07), I would like to point out the absur-
dity of the idea that the Catholic Church's
intolerance was "unfairly criticized." It
should strike readers as contradictory that
Phalen wants them to be more tolerant of the
Church's intolerance.
The harsh truth is that the practice of not
allowing same-sex couples to jointly adopt is
both discriminatory and intentional. And it is
not surprising. The Church has a longstand-
ing tradition of being more concerned about
everyone's sex lives than discrimination.
Equally unsurprising is the forced
retirement of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.
Although it is possible his retirement was
simply due to his age, the Church has shown
its willingness time and again to retire or
excommunicate priests and bishops who
challenge its power. Even child molesters in
the Church do not get this harsh treatment
- as long as they publicly support Catholic
Phalen espouses the black-and-white atti-
tude of the Catholic Churchwith phrases like
"Catholics are typically not in the business
of choosing between the lesser of two evils,"
and "The Catholic Church is concerned with
ideals ... Problems arise when we settle." But
the problem is that the Church is concerned
with ideals at the expense of facts. The reli-
gious Right claims that adoption by gay peo-
ple has a negative effect on society, but no
evidence is ever given, and it is too seldom
asked for.
We must be intolerant of the Church's
intolerance as long as necessary. Only then
will its position on homosexuality become,
untenable, just like its past positions on slav-
ery and fair treatment of women.
Brian Wagner


South Dakota's take on abortion

Since Roe v. Wade was decided
in 1973, state legislatures across the
country have worked to narrow the
scope of the ruling. The South Dako-
ta state legislature, however, spent
the last year seekingnot to revise the
landmark case, but to overturn it.
The legislative battle began last
March when South Dakota's Repub-
lican Gov. Mike Rounds signed an
almost complete ban on abortion.
Exceptions to the ban were granted
only if two doctors determined the
mother's life to be in danger.
Notably, the law did not allow
abortion in the case of rape or incest.
Rounds admitted when signing the
bill that the ban would not take effect
for some time because of expected
legal challenges. South Dakota politi-
cians were quick to legislate into the
private areas of their constituent's
lives in exchange for the chance to
appear before the Supreme Court.
Before the law could take effect
in July of 2006, abortion advocates
collected enough signatures to place
the issue on the November ballot.
The ban was defeated by a 56- to
44-percent margin, leading many to
believe the issue was settled.
Earlier this year, however, law-
makers reintroduced the ban
with what they called be several
improvements. Exit polling showed
that many who rebuked the ban in
November did so because they con-
sidered it overly harsh not to grant
exceptions to victims of rape and
incest. The reintroduced bill deals

with this concern, but in a clinical
manner that is sickening in its lack
of respect for the trauma induced by
rape and incest.
If passedthe newlaw would grant
exceptions for victims of rape, but
onlyifrapevictimsfile apolicereport
within 50 days of being attacked and
later turn over the aborted fetus for
DNA testing. For incest, the rules
are even more stringent - victims
must name their attackers on the
police report and again provide the
aborted fetus's DNA to support the
claim. Forcingvictims to file a police
report not only thrusts them into
a legal battle before procuring an
abortion, but it also creates an atmo-
sphere of distrust. The DNA clause
only adds to this.
The South Dakota legislature
is so concerned with preventing
false claims of rape and incest that
women must prove their claim sci-
entifically. Planned Parenthood
estimates that only 39 percent of
all rapes are reported to police,
and while it is certainly important
to improve that number, requiring
a police report in order to have an
abortion is not the way.
Women often do not feel safe
reporting rapes to police. Statistics
support this fear. Ifa woman reports
a rape, according to Planned Parent-
hood, there is only a 16.3-percent
chance her assailant will spend even
a day in jail. Coupled with the fact
that 66 percent of women reported
knowing their attacker, it is clear

why filing a police report remains
difficult for some women. Victims
of rape should be encouraged to
cooperate with the police, but until
the system changes to provide more
protection and assurance, requiring
police reports to terminate a preg-
nancy that is the result of rape is an
undue burden.
The law is even more insensitive
in cases of incest. If victims must
name their abuser and then turn over
DNA evidence to support their claim,
many abused girls will choose to suf-
fer in silence. Incest is an emotion-
ally complicated cycle of abuse that
tears families apart. As with rape,
it is important that the percentage
of reported cases of incest increases
and that the perpetrators are brought
to justice, but lawmakers should not
force women to bring a pregnancy to
term becausethey are notyetreadyto
reveal their abuser.
South Dakota lawmakers are
clearly concerned with the life of the
unborn, but they seem less concerned
with the quality of life of the living.
While filing a police report concern-
ing an incident of rape and incest may
seem like an easy formality, for many
victims it is an insurmountable chal-
respect and dignity when makingthe
difficult decision to abort a pregnan-
cy. South Dakota's proposed abortion
ban give them neither.
Amanda Burns is a LSA senior and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.


chinese New Year's was this mean first there's Babe , Then WHEN O WE GET OURS?
weekend, I can't believe they there s Babe: P cg in the 'ty
would name the whole year Nowthis!
after a stupid pigI blame Reaan
" q
8 aaC
I II--1r

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