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October 03, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-03

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4 - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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



Another strong showing i Is it...is it really you?
from the Wolverines,
bringing their record to

Oh, Michigan Football, I thought
you'd never come back!
It's ok,
I'm here
I'm here.
>een 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 authors.
Protest the pipeline
U.S. shouldn't endorse the Keystone XL project
At a time when jobs are scarce and fuel prices are high, Ameri-
cans are expecting positive action from the government.
With this in mind, many people are putting their support
behind a project involving an oil pipeline that runs from Canada
through the middle of the United States. However, the proposal is a
short-term solution with risks that far outweigh the potential bene-
fits. While the pipeline would create thousands of temporary jobs, the
environmental threat in the event of an incident is a major concern.
The U.S. Department of State should not allow this project to move
forward and should instead focus efforts on investing in renewable
forms of energy.

Engage in meaningful debates *

There have been nationwide protests
against this project, primarily on the basis
of environmental concerns. The Canadian
oil company TransCanada has proposed to
build the oil pipeline from Canada through
Nebraska, Oklahoma and other states down
to Texas. The pipeline would be close to
2,000 miles in length and is expected to
create an estimated 20,000 jobs during the
construction process. Recent reports say the
project will most likely be supported by the
State Department, but it is unclear whether
the department will approve it.
The oil pipeline, called Keystone XL,
would be a politically safe source of oil for
our country. Canada and the U-S. are on
good terms and receiving oil from Canada
would decrease the nation's dependency on
the Organization Of Petroleum Exporting
Countriesi However, the oil pipeline poses a
multitude of environmental threats. While
officials behind the project have stressed
that all safety precautions would be taken,
history has shown that safety precautions
are often insufficient.
For example, a little over a year ago, a pipe-
line constructed by Enbridge Energy spilled
more than 843,000 gallons of oil sands crude
near Marshall, Mich. To this day, a 35-mile

stretchofthe KalamazooRiverremainsclosed.
And no one can forget the horrific BP oil spill
that devastated the Gulf of Mexico last summer
- a disaster which isnstill being corrected.
These risks are not worth the benefit of cre-
ating temporary construction jobs. Many resi-
dents in the pipeline's path want the project to
be approved because it will create jobs, but the
pipeline could threaten the livelihood of farm-
ers in the pipeline's path in the event of a spill.
The creation of jobs should be high on the
Obama administration's priority list, but it
should not come at the expense of the environ-
ment. Rather, the nation should focus on creat-
ing alternative and sustainable forms of energy.
The pursuit of sustainable energy would create
jobs for the scientists and engineers who work
to develop the resources. The goal should be to
create jobs while simultaneously moving away
from petroleum dependency.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton - likely
with input from Obama - will ultimately
have to decide whether to endorse this proj-
ect, and the people protesting the issue
should make their voices heard. The oil pipe-
line project should not move forward, and
the nation should instead work on developing
alternative forms of energy that can create
jobs for the future.

Anyone who walked through
the Diag yesterday was
subjected to poster-size,
horrifying pic-
tures of dead
fetuses covered
in blood, which
were courtesy
of Students for
Life - the Uni-
versity's pro-life
student orga-
nization - and HARSHA
other organiza- NAHATA
tions. I, for one,
was disgusted at
the images and the entire concept.
I am pro-choice. But regardless of
mypersonal beliefs, myproblemwith
the protestors wasn't their stance,
but how they chose to portray that
Yes, the Constitution protects
Americans' right to free speech and
to peacefully protest, but it doesn't
require anyone to listen to baseless,
hateful attacks. Comparing abortion
to Nazism and then pasting life-size
pictures of bloody fetuses next to
Nazi symbols is an abuse of this right,
not to mention completely obnoxious.
The main argument here - or
what I could gather amid countless
pictures of convoluted babies - was
that killing unborn fetuses is akin
to genocide, the likes of which were
seen in the Holocaust or Darfur. Not
only is this comparison nonsensical,
but it is also offensive and insult-
ing. The Holocaust, Darfur, Rwanda
- these are examples of genocide.
They are some of the greatest and
most tragic humanitarian crises of
the last century. Millions of people
have been, and are being killed, in the
most painful ways. The Holocaust
alone spanned over 15 countries and
claimed more than 10 million lives -
resigning millions more to torture,
intense human suffering and psycho-
logical trauma.
Abortion simply isn't on the same
scale. It can't be logically likened to

the calculated killing of an entire
ethnic group or to the destruc-
tion of entire communities, villages
and nations. Saying it is the same
as genocide trivializes the sever-
ity and the significance of what we
define as genocide. Concentration
camps, civil war, ethnic cleansing,
poverty, disease, rape, child soldiers,
the destruction of families - every-
thing that comes with genocide is
on a whole different level of human
suffering than that brought on by
abortion. Calling the two similar is
insulting to the victims and survivors
of actual genocide.
Nowadays it seems like Nazism is
a go-to buzzword for angry people to
describe opposition. Putting a swas-
tika next to anything you don't agree
with won't validate your argument
or prove your point. In fact, doing
so does nothing but spread hateful
propaganda. Abortion is a very heat-
ed and politicized issue - dividing
people along intensely partisan lines.
And, in this situation, calling some-
one who disagrees with you Hitler or
an evil incarnate doesn't change his
or her mind. It only makes the issue
more polarizing.
A protest like the one on the Diag
doesn't make a point. It doesn't edu-
cate people or make them see the
issue in a different way. It doesn't
win support for the cause it propa-
gates. It doesn't even substantiate a
legitimate claim. It's a publicity stunt
- an attempt to get the attention of
innocent passersby and in the pro-
cess spread fear and hate.Itisa show
of bigotry and an opportunity to look
down upon and unfairly attack indi-
viduals with opposing views.
The sad thing is that family plan-
ning - or lack thereof - is an actu-
al issue. It is an issue that should
be raised, discussed and debated.
According to the latest statistics from
the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 83.7 percent of abortions
were performed among unmarried
women in 2007. A 2009 study by the

non-profit Alan Guttmacher Insti-
tute reported that while the overall
abortion rate in the United States
dropped from 1994 to 2000,the abor-
tion rate for women below the pover-
ty line rose by 25 percent. Moreover,
minorities continue to have dispro-
portionately high abortion rates.
The exhibit in
the Diag didn't
make a point.
There is a larger, underlying
social and economic issue at play
here - the circumstances that com-
pel people totake the drastic step of
aborting a child. This is an issue that
merits rational and intellectual dis-
cussion and an issue that requires
attention and solutions. As one of
the chalked responses to the protest
on the sidewalk read, "Respect the
right; reduce the need." Now, that's
a serious discussion worth having
and one that people shouldn't mind
engaging in.
But this side of the abortion debate
is lost behind absurd slogans and
propaganda. The preposterous claim
that anyone who isn't pro-life is in
effect a murderer oversimplifies the
issue tremendously. It takes awayany
room for debate or discussion and
doesn't do justice to the true com-
plexity of the issue. We can't have
substantial discussions about abor-
tion if this politicized rhetoric con-
tinues to be the norm. If the goal isto
raise awareness about an issue, do so
seriously and with well-structured
arguments, not by likening abortion
to the Holocaust.
- Harsha Nahata is an assistant
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at hnahata@umich.edu.



Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Patrick Maillet,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
Be what you want to be

Focus on relationships

efore heading home last
Thursday night, my friends
and I walked to Cafe Ambro-

As a University student, I am often asked
what I'm studying. You might think it's a sim-
ple question to answer, but I feel otherwise. I
am a classical archeology major, I love what
I'm studying and I have no problem telling
people about it. But here's the scary part. Hav-
ing an unconventional major prompts more
people to follow the first question with anoth-
er - what is my plan for the future?
I come from a family in which almostevery-
one I'm related to (and that's more than 200
people I personally know) is an entrepreneur,
a doctor or an engineer - making my choice
of major highly unconventional. Not follow-
ing the tradition is like asking for disapproval.
And as far as the question of the future is con-
cerned, my answer is that I simply don't know.
There's so much one can do in life, which
makes it hard for me to make up my mind
and choose just one career path. If I decide
to become an archeologist, I'll be in graduate
school two years from now and will almost
definitely be getting a Ph.D. sometime down
the line. But is that really all I wantto be?
Before declaring a classical archeology
major, I spoke to an adviser at the Univer-
sity and told him that I had always dreamed
of becoming an archeologist. What I didn't
tell him is that as a kid I had also dreamed of
becoming a photographer, a journalist, a doc-
tor, a historian, a psychiatrist and a lawyer.
Now surely these were childish musings, as
everyone around me thought, but as I grew
older I became more and more fascinated by
all there was I could do. I'm still not sure what
I want to do after graduation, and that's start-
ing to get a bit scary now that I've entered my
junior year.

Whether I'm really going to end up becom-
ing an archeologist - I don't know. But here's
what I do know. If I hadn't explored different
opportunities at the University, I probably
wouldn't have renewed or even discovered my
passion for a lot of things. At the University, I
can actually be many of the things I dreamed
of becoming. Only here can I be defined by
much more than what I'm studying. I can
be a dancer in a group, a photographer for a
newspaper, a member of Greek life, part of a
charitable organization and even an athlete
- though all that at the same time might be a
little overwhelming if I want to maintain my
grades. Four years, however, is enough time
for students to explore at least some of what
the University has to offer. And everyone
Today, in a world where more and more
of youth are looking to enter unconventional
careers, like teaching yoga, there are no lim-
itations to what a person can do for a living.
A college degree, some argue, does not hold
much value anymore in this volatile econo-
my. But there is nothing that can discredit
or replace the overall University experience,
which is priceless. The University admitted
only about 50 percent of its applicants last
year, a trend that it seems to have followed
over the years. Students should take advan-
tage of the more than 1,200 student organiza-
tions, 300 majors and about 3,000 courses that
are offered. Explore all you want; and take at
least these four years to be not what youshould
be, but whatever it is you want to be.
Aida Ali is a senior editorial page
editor. She is anS LSA junior.

sia on Maynard
street in search
of a late night
cup of coffee. It
was about 1:30
a.m., and when
we got there,
the coffee shop
turned out to
be closed. With
nothing else to
do, the four of us
leaned with our


backs against the window, ready to
part ways. But then, a curious scene
unfolded before us. Two-by-two,
stumbling couples walked past, evi-
dently coming from Skeeps, the bar
just a few yards down the street.
While many of them might have
been Jewish, let's just say it didn't
seem like they were going home to
celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
Many ofthese coupleswere clearly
just meeting for the first time - mak-
ing awkward small talk about the
frigid weather and discussing what
summer camps they went to. Admit-
tedly, my friends and I were witness-
ing only a sliver of campus life, but
the sight was illustrative of a grander
theme - and a significant issue - at
the University.
It's not a groundbreaking obser-
vation that random hookups are
commonplace on this campus.
Many students accept meaningless
hookups as the rule, with relation-
ships as the exception. And by now,
plenty of articles, essays and sorority
house dining hall conversations have
acknowledged and lamented this
fact. For whatever reason, college
students - and I'll admit, it's an over-
whelmingly male inclination - seem
averse to asking one another out on
dates or actually building meaning-

ful, romantic relationships.
A friend who graduated last year
recently told me that within just a
few months of post-graduate life,
she'd gone on more dates than she
had during her entire time at col-
lege. So is it possible that this trend
is just a college craze that will fade
with age?
Of course. But I'm not willing to
accept the cliches that boys will be
boys or that this, too, shall pass. As
"normal" as this trend seems to us,
it's clearly not constructive. Our col-
lege years are far too formative for us
to blithely accept unhealthy behav-
ior now in sight of healthier conduct
down the road. Young adulthood can
be tremendously lonely as we teeter
between our adolescent lives and
whatever "real" futures we expect
to come in adulthood. And random
hookups only exacerbate this emo-
tional solitude.
The conventional wisdom is that
guys promote this hookup culture
because they won't commit and that
girls just let it happen. But in defense
of my gender, I know plenty of men
on campus who'd gladly forego the
weekendhookup ritualforsomething
a little less fleeting, if only the oppor-
tunity arose. Though it's tempting,
I think it'd be a mistake to pin the
blame squarely on men. If it were so
simple a dynamic between males and
females, then the hookup crisis, as it
perhaps ought to be known, would
not exist in homosexual circles. But I
know plenty of gay men and lesbians
who play into the exact same routine
largely because they feel they don't
have any alternative. The reality is
that anyone who feels slighted by
the dating paradigm - heterosexual
girls in the mainstream imagination,
but also guys, and gays and straights
alike - probably has contributed to
their own predicament by allowing
others to call the shots. If a woman,

for instance, wants to regain con-
trol of the scenario, then she needs
to be less willing to give in to men's
advances from the start.
Random hookups
worsen emotional
This advice has certainly been
given before. And it's taken on a small
scale all the time. But the problem
with this is that one voice alone is
not enough to enact systemic change.
What we need is a mass grassroots
initiative to replace the hookup cul-
ture with a dating culture or at least a
culture of respect. En masse, women
need to withhold themselves from
guys insistent on one-night-stands
or purely physicalrelationships, until
said guys start realizing they need
to stop taking women for granted. I
know plenty of girls who have done
this already but only to personal
ends. If all women on campus took
this stand, men would have no choice
but to take heed.
I know this may appear frivolous,
and I may sound alarmist, but the
hookup culture is getting out of hand.
And though we have activists at the
University engaged in innumerable
social debates, this issue remains
untouched by any serious move-
ment or protest. It's time to channel
the University's activist heritage and
take a stand in unison. Because taken
alone, our attempts mean little. But
together, we can do it. or not do it, as
the case may be.
- Matthew Green can be
reached at greenmat@umich.edu.


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