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February 01, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Tuesday; February 1, 2011

4- Tuesday, February 1, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

ELAINE MORTON

. E-MAIL ELAINE AT EMORT@UMICH.EDU

STEPHANIE STEINBERG
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MICHELLE DEWITT
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

KYLE SWANSON
MANAGING EDITOR

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The disillusioned Tea Party

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
FROM TME."A,'
Rethink gun legislation
Repealing weapon restrictions isn't responsible
The tragic shooting in Tuscon, Ariz. has proponents
and opponents of gun control laws speaking up. The
debate has even made its way to Michigan in the form
of new gun control legislation that would lift restrictions on
where concealed weapons can be brought. The bill caters to
the misguided assumption that more people owning guns
will make people safer in an emergency situations. Allowing
guns in more locations jeopardizes the safety of.Michigan
residents. The state Senate needs to eliminate this bill and
consider more responsible gun legislation.

State Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville) had
been a sponsor of a bill in 2000 that relaxed
permit requirements for concealed weapons.
The current bill would overturn restrictions
on concealed weapons in hospitals, casinos,
churches, schools, college residence halls and
classrooms and entertainment facilities with a
seating capacity of more than 2,500 persons.
The bill was introduced last week in the Sen-
ate by Green and is being reviewed, according
to a Jan. 26 Free Press article.
There are aspects of the bill that, regardless
of one's view on gun control, are simply dan-
gerous and irresponsible. Allowing parents,
administrators or any adult to have a gun on
school property could have horrible conse-
quences. The risks of allowing weapons into
places where people are drinking, where large
crowds are gathered, or both, could be cata-
strophic. This type of legislation does nothing
to protect Michigan residents from potential
dangers and creates risky situations where
violence gainst-innocent bystanders could be
possible.
The argument for revising Michigan's gun
laws is that they conflict with the constitu-
tional right to bear arms. But this logic is
flawed and takesgunpossession laws to adan-
gerous extreme. Michigan's current law ban-
ning guns in schools - and other places where
gun possession is inappropriate - isn't in vio-

lation of the Second Amendment. Therefore,
being permitted to carry a gun in a school isn't
an inherent constitutional right. The proposed
bill is creating rights that don't currently exist
and potentially puts Michigan residents in
harms way.
In the aftermath of violent, tragic events -
like the Tuscon shooting - it can be difficult
not to react in an extreme way. Those in favor
of gun control are calling for increased legis-
lation limiting where guns can be brought to
ensure safety in public places. Those opposed-
to gun control legislation are calling for - as
in the case of the bill proposed in Michigan -
fewer regulations on where concealed weap-
ons can be carried to ensure that people can
protect themselves. But both of these respons-
es are reactionary, and the aftermath of a trag-
ic event isn't the time to consider this type of
bill. Time needs to be taken to establish safe
and effective gun control legislation.
One of the only places where concealed
weapons would be banned under Michigan's
proposed gun legislation is in federal build-
ings, which happens to be where Green works.
It's not difficult to understand why he feels
comfortable with a law that keeps his work-
place safe. But for Michigan residents who
aren't comfortable with guns in their build-
ings or on their campuses, more responsible
gun legislation needs to be considered.

ast Tuesday, President
Barack Obama delivered the
annual State of the Union
address. Shortly after, as is tradi-
tion for the party
that doesn't con-
trol the execu-
tive branch, the
Republicans
issued their
response to N
Obama's speech,
selecting Wis-
consin Rep. Paul DARWEI
Ryan to address CHEN
the American
people.
In most years, after these two
speeches happen, both major political
parties rest their cases, and the politi-
cal pundits of news networks start
their analyses. However, this year is
different because someone apparent-
ly asked the Tea Party folks to weigh
in on Obama's speech too. Who asked
for their opinion?Not the GOP. House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)
said sternly that "Paul Ryan's giving
the official Republican response."
The speaker for the Tea Party was
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn),
who seemed to be distracted by
something off-camera during her
address. However, her policies were
even more off. In her remarks, she
talked about how Obama needs
to "stop the EPA from imposing a
job-destroying cap-and-trade sys-
tem." The extent to which the GOP
has flipped-flopped on this issue is
amazing. if you can remember back
just two years ago to the 2008 presi-
dential election, the McCain-Palin
ticket said explicitly that cap-and-
trade was a "market-based system to
curb greenhouse gas emissions." In
other words, cap-and-trade is a con-
servative solution to environmen-
tal problems. Again, in their words,
"it allows the market to decide and

encourage the lowest-cost compli-
ance options." Bachmann slammed
the GOP presidential ticket's envi-
ronmental policy. Of course, Obama
now wants to implement something
similar to it, which some people
think makes it "socialist."
Bachmannalsospokeaboutrepeal-
ing Obama's health care legislation
"and allowing all Americans to buy
any health care policy they like any-
where in the United States." Except,
of course, no insurance companywill
take you up if you're sick and need
help desperately. She also said the
United States is "a nation that cur-
rently enjoys the world's finest health
care" and that she believes in "excep-
tionalism in America." Let's put aside
the American exceptionalism and
look at the "finest" health care sys-
temwith statistics. The World Health
organization ranked the American
health care system 37th in the world
in 2000 (they have stopped ranking
since then because of the complex-
ity of the task). The New England
Journal of Medicine reported that in
2006, "the United States was number
one in terms of health care spending
per capita but ranked 39th for infant
mortality, 43rd for adult female mor-
tality, 42nd for adult male mortality
and 36th for life expectancy." Based
on these numbers, it seems that the
United States is only good atspending
money.
However,thepointthatcaughtmy
attention was Bachmann's remark
about "exceptionalism in America,"
which seems to be a litmus test now-
adays if you want to bea Republican.
In order to be conservative, you have
to gush about America's greatness at
every opportunity. Former Alaska
Gov. Sarah Palin has blasted Obama
many times about how he is always
"apologizing for America." In other
words, America is so exceptional
that there is nothing it has done that

deserves an apology. Really? Go tell
that to Native Americans, African
Americans, Muslims, the Japanese
and the Chinese. Since when did
apologizing become a sign of weak-
ness?
Bachmann's
response was
off-kilter.
I'm not saying that Americans
should be ashamed of where they
come from and what they do. Howev-
er, being excessively proud of things
that you have no business being
proud of is just stupid. More impor-
tantly, it hinders progress where it is
needed. When Bachmann says our
health care system is the greatest in
the world - and many GOP leaders
echo this sentiment - it clouds the
debate over what actually needs to
be done to improve the health care
industry. In addition, leaders of
other countries are angry with our
exceptionalism rhetoric because it
often carries a religious undertone
with it - "God bless America"- and
implies that America doesn't have
anything to learn from other coun-
tries. This is precisely the wrong
approach to improving this great
country of ours. The patriotic thing
to do is to take what other countries
are doing well and adapt their ideas
to improve America.
Bachmann and the Tea Party
were off-kilter with the camera on
Tuesday. Too bad that's not all that
was wrong with their State of the
Union response.
-Dar-Wei Chen can be reached
at chendw@umich.edu.

, ..

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Teddy Papes, Roger Sauerhaft, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner

SCOTT KURASHIGE 1
Racism shouldn't define protests

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM

The 'U' must cut its losses
and end Survival Flight
TO THE DAILY:
Medical professionals and scientists who
are unaffiliated with the University have
overwhelmingly embraced modern simula-
tion methods to complete the training that
the University Survival Flight director states
animals must be used for (Viewpoint: Sur-
vival flight needs animal labs, 1/20/2011). It
has been disappointing that our faculty and
administrators have been willing to ignore
and distort this when attempting to describe
and defend Survival Flight's cruel exercises
on cats and pigs. Thankfully, the student
bodyunderstands this and the Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly voted overwhelmingly last
semester to end these animal labs. The Uni-
versity now just needs to swallow its pride
and join the many others who have already
made this compassionate decision.
Jonathan Coren
Ross School of Business sophomore
Lt. St. Amour's remarks about
sexual assault were offensive
TO THE DAILY:

talkpoor lightingin wake of crimes, 01/26/2011).
Included in this article were comments from
Lt. Mark St. Amour of the Ann Arbor Police
Department on how to avoid becoming a vic-
tim of crime. While it's true that there are
techniques that can help one evade being tar-
geted - like walking in groups - Lt. St. Amour
went beyond this and uses victim blaming in
regards to sexual assault.
Victim blaming is when one puts the respon-
sibility of avoiding sexual assault on the survi-
vor, rather than the perpetrator, by saying that
the survivor could have and should have done
something to avoid the assault. Victim blam-
ing is saying that when a woman was wearing
revealing clothes or was flirting, she was ask-
ing for it.
In the case of Lt. St. Amour, blame was placed on
female alcoholconsumption.Hespecificallystates,
"Sexualassaults-alotofthemthatIread-involve
alcohol,soFEMALES,watchyour alcohol."
This statement is unacceptable and never
should have been printed. It singles women
out as being responsible for sexual assaults,
when it's NEVER the survivor's fault. Why
shouldn't men also watch how much alcohol
they consume? Are they impervious to misfor-
tune while drunk?
Lt. St. Amour's remarks are offensive to not
only sexual assault survivors, but those who
support survivors and advocate for an end
to sexual violence. In a campus and city that
prides itself on its safety and inclusiveness,
comments such as these shouldn't be said,
much less printed.

Chaos. Anarchy. Looting. Violence.
These are words you associate with any political activ-
ity that you want to discredit in the eyes of mainstream
America. That's why it's essential to challenge any
attempt by the media or politicians to frame the political
protests in Egypt usingsuch terms.
We must understand why this language is particu-
larly loaded. It connects sweeping generalizations of the
Muslim world with racist fears that many Americans
associate with the urban "riots" of the 1960s, the 1992
Los Angeles uprising and the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina.
In places like Detroit, as with cities across America,
thousands of suburbanites still wrongly believe that
everything was fine in the city until violent, extrem-
ist and hate-filled blacks forced them to flee during the
1960s. The reality is that a situation that the white middle
class viewed as normal, stable and prosperous was pre-
mised on job discrimination, housing segregation, politi-
cal disenfranchisement and police abuse against people
of color.
While not a solution, the uprisings drew overdue
attention to a dehumanizing and often violent system
that millions of Americans overtly or tacitly supported.
That's why political activists called them "rebellions"
rather than "riots." But then-President Richard Nixon's
conservative call for "law and order" fed on anxiety and
prejudice.
In Egypt, a popular protest movement that has been
widely supported by diverse and peaceful sectors of
society is seeking the downfall of the three-decade long
Mubarak dictatorship, which has quashed democratic
opposition while reaping billions of dollars in American
aid.
Yet, with millions of Americans paying, at best, curso-
ry attention to these events and the history leading up to
them, many will view Egypt primarily through the lens
of fear and misguided self-interest. Scenes of looting and
burning will be easily taken out of context unless we act
quickly to counter these trends.
In one of his trademark mash-ups of Islamophobia,
McCarthyism and xenophobia, Glenn Beck has been
warning radio listeners that revolution in Egypt "sets
the entire Middle East on fire." This will trigger "the
communists and the Muslim radicals" taking over all of
Europe. He then implies that sleeper cells will awaken to
destroy Americafrom within.
Egyptian blogger Mona Eltahawy chastised CNN -

one of the less extreme but still complicit outlets por-
traying "chaos" and "anarchy" through narratives and
footage provided by Egypt President Hosni Mubarak's
state-run media. Indeed, many Egyptians are convinced
that the Murbarak regime is instigating violence ina des-
perate hope that Egyptians will welcome a return to his
authoritarian control.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is franti-
cally trying to change its course after first defining the
Mubarak regime as stable and then issuing equivocat-
ing statements calling for restraint on "both sides" -
one being the largely unarmed protestors and the other
being the heavily armed state police who have shown a
pattern of jailing, beating and sometimes torturing dis-
sidents.
No matter the outcome, the uprising in Egypt, follow-
ing the revolution against the United States-backed dic-
tatorship in Tunisia, has upended a pillar of American
foreign policy and caught our government flat-footed.
While steering clear of former President George Bush's
neoconservative hubris, Obama has yet to enact new
policies to matchhis loftyrhetoric about partnership and
understanding.
As my colleague Juan Cole, professor of middle east-
ern and south asian history, has pointed out, American
foreign policy in the Middle East has been stained by
"domino theory" logic - the fear that Islamic terrorists
might take over one country and expand their control
one-by-one to other countries in the region. Just as dur-
ing the Cold War, this has meant supporting autocratic
and repressive regimes while squandering opportunities
to build democratic alternatives.
This crisis provides an opportunity for all Americans
to wake up and accept responsibility for transcending the
failures of the past. We need to reject racist images that
depict legitimate protestors as savages who must be cor-
ralled.
Instead of fearing democracy, we must recall former
President John F. Kennedy's famous words: "Those who
make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revo-
lution inevitable." More than any previous generation,
those coming of age in the Obama era can now witness
the cost and consequences of a strategy predicated on
support for friendly dictators.
Scott Kurashige is an associate professor
of American culture and director of the Asian/
Pacific Islander American Studies Program.

0

Last week, The Michigan Daily featured an
article discussing the debate over additional Nicole Corrigan
lighting in the Oxford area (Police, students LSA freshman
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