4A - Thursday, October 6, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
4A - Thursday, October 6, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
fi ichigan al
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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EDITOR IN CHIEF
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS
The world is immeasurably better because of Steve."
- Apple's board of directors in a statement
regarding the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Unsigned editorials reflectthe official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Laws shouldn't keep voters from the polls
Big changes could be coming to the polls for the 2012 elections,
worrying both voters and politicians alike. In what is being
touted as an effort to prevent voting fraud, many states have
recently passed laws that require voters to present government-issued
photo identification at polls. Some states have also enacted laws that
shorten early voting periods and restrict timing of voter registration
drives. There is little evidence these policies would have an effect on
curbing voter fraud in the United States, and these laws are likely to
only stop eligible people from voting.
A tale of two students
The Brennan Center for Justice at the
New York University School of Law released
a study this week that analyzed 19 laws and
two executive orders pertaining to voter
identification in 14 states. The study suggests
that voting could become more difficult for
more than 5 million eligible voters in 2012
under the new laws, and the number of states
adopting new voting policies is rising.
According to the study, five states passed
laws seeking to decrease the number of
opportunities voters have to cast their ballot
before Election Day. This disregards the fact
that some churches organize voting drives on
Sundays prior to the standard Tuesday Elec-
tion Day to encourage members of their con-
gregations to cast their ballots. Maine and
Ohio no longer permit voters to register on
Election Day, even though about 60,000 new
voters registered in Maine on Election Day
in 2008. In response, residents in Maine and
Ohio are lookingto overturn these laws.
The biggest concern is that these laws
could potentially prevent minorities, young
people and the poor from voting. While some
politicians have claimed the new laws are
necessary to prevent voter fraud, they cite
little evidence to prove incidents of fraud
Americans struggle to get to the polls
with the current regulations in place. The
2008 election broke voting records with a 64
percent voter turnout and 130 million votes
cast. If one of the most polarizing elections
in recent history can't even get two-thirds of
eligible voters to the polls, then making the
process even more challenging could serious-
ly reduce the number of ballots cast in 2012.
While states have ensured they will pro-
vide free identification cards if the laws
are passed, the likelihood that all voters
who need them will seek them out is slim.
Instead, these people - an estimated 3.2 mil-
lion eligible voters - will most likely decide
not to vote. If the U.S. is to function as a true
democracy, where all eligible voters are rea-
sonably able to vote, then these laws should
not be passed.
The investigation into fraudulent voting
should continue and states should take rea-
sonable measures to address any problems
they may discover. However, if these laws
are simply an effort to deter certain voters
from heading to the polls, then they should
be repealed immediately and prevented from
taking effect in the future.
There are two types of suc-
cessful college students:
One excels within the tradi-
tional path; the
by drawing his
these two types
through the ,
stories of hypo-
- Ryan and Josh. ERIK
Ryan came to TORENBERG
college with a
simple plan: To
be the best. And he does exactly that
by achieving a 3.9 GPA while study-
ing economics and leading a major
organization on campus.
These activities take up most of
Ryan's time. Old hobbies fall by the
wayside. He can't do everything, but
he does have an active social life.
His accomplishments and easygoing
personality earn him many friends.
They relish when his name comes up
in conversation: "Oh, you know Ryan
too? Yeah, he's great! How do you
Ryan works hard. He often gets
little sleep. But once in a while, he
makes time to let go: He watches bad
sitcoms. He fights with his ex-girl-
friend. He goes out to black out.
Still, Ryan leaves his mark on cam-
pus. He mentors many students in
matters personal and professional.
He develops close relationships with
influential professors and alumni.
Their approval encourages him to
work harder, be better.
Ryan doesn't choose this path
because he is passionate about it. He
doesn't always enjoy those problem
sets, those sleepless nights.
Ryan chooses this path because
it fits his personality. His identity
has roots in academic excellence
and future professional success, so
he achieves what he believes to be
absolutely necessary - one hell of a
And the pieces fit. He has a natural
aptitude for economics. He found his
organization early on, but he could
have had a different major, joined a
different organization and achieved
just as much.
In hindsight, Ryan was very proud
of his college experience, and deserv-
edly so. After graduation, he chose
between high-paying positions at
highly respected companies.
Most importantly, Ryan never let
success get to his head. He remained
jovial, caring and honest.
Josh, the second case, finishes col-
lege with a GPA of 3.3 in the same
major as Ryan. The class work does
not inspire him to strive for perfec-
tion. He is too curious and too stub-
born. He is determined to prioritize
his education over his grades.
Josh stumbles with his extra-
curricular activities too. He joins
a group, immerses himself in it and
then leaves when he feels he has
maximized the ratio of personal
benefits to time put in. He becomes
an extracurricular nomad. To oth-
ers, it seems like he is all over the
But Josh keeps exploring opportu-
nities. He begins to notice patterns,
certain aspects he enjoys about his
experiences and ones that he does
not, and applies such recognition to
his future endeavors.
Josh dedicates most of his time to
his passions: He reads voraciously.
He experiments with filmmaking.
He pursues these side projects with
peers who share similar interests,
many of whom become his close
He creates his own social scene.
Certain things that once seemed
integral to his college experience -
football games, party culture, social
status - suddenly become less sig-
nificant. The vicissitudes of college
life allow him to detach just enough
to realize what exactly has lasting
importance: losing yourself in a pas-
sion, a project, a person.
In hindsight, this path, albeit
circuitous, also fits Josh's person-
ality. When others inquired about
his ostensibly random decisions, he
would say that he simply followed his
intuition. Josh knew he had a unique
skill set that could not and should not
be boxed; he just needed to find a way
to put it all together.
Josh would also choose between
quality options after college - ones
that matched his interests, values
and desired career path.
Strive to be the
best version of
Ryan and Josh are intriguing case
studies because they challenge our
perception of success. We typically
differentiate between outer success
- money, lifestyle and reputation -
and inner success - mastering our-
selves, pursuing wisdom and having
meaningful relationships with oth-
Ryan equates success with
achievement: He receives a high
mark in anything assigned to him.
The grade is more important than
what he does or how he does it.
Although he knows that outer suc-
cess doesn't necessarily equal inner
success, he believes attaining the for-
mer will make attaining the latter a
Josh equates success with per-
sonal excellence: He pursues his pas-
sions and lets his conscience judge
his performance. This satisfied con-
science is more important than any
external measure of achievement.
Although he is aware that attaining
inner success doesn'tnecessarilylead
to attaining outer success, he doubts
the converse is true - that aiming for
the latter will facilitate the former.
Regardless, he would not do so even
if he could.
It all leads to this: Whereas Ryan
strives to be the best in everyone's
eyes, Josh strives to be the best in his
own: the best version of himself.
- Erik Torenberg can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LET TERS T H I IOR SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM
Where to draw the line with
the First Amendment
TO THE DAILY:
Monday's article in The Michigan Daily
(Pro-Life group displays controversial images
on Diag, 10/4/2011) showed that many students
reacted to the enormous and graphic images of
aborted fetuses with outrage and disgust, ques-
tioning why the University even allowed such a
display by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform
and Students for Life. The First Amendment
empowers and encourages a critical and con-
structive response to the shocking protests on
The First Amendment necessarily and
intentionally protects even the most abhorrent
speech in order to protect the free expression
of all individuals in our society. If government
laws or University rules are used to silence the
speech of one group, they can be used - and
have been used throughout our nation's history
- to silence any speech found objectionable.
Still, as important as it is to maintain our
commitment to free speech, it is imperative to
The 'U' should not have
allowed the Diag exhibit
realize that such blatant attacks on women's
rights are aimed primarily to instill fear and
guilt in those confronted with reproductive
decisions. We must stand by our commitment
to free speech while continuing our dedication
to the protection and advancement of repro-
It is undeniable that this week's incen-
diary pro-life demonstration facilitated a
vibrant community discourse; our campus
is freshly abuzz with discussion of both free
speech and abortion rights. In order for our
University to remain a dynamic community
that promotes a free exchange of ideas, the
Diag and its other public spaces must remain
open forums. If the Diag is to be a place for
any dialogue, it must be place for all dialogue,
no matter how unpopular or disturbing. Our
response to the hateful speech ever-frequent
on our campus must be a re-dedication to
these constitutional rights that are threatened.
Bennett Stein, Molly Niedbala
and Jen Bizzotto
Members of the undergraduate chapter of
the American Civil Liberties Union at the
University of Michigan
GAP to campus - show hate toward racial,
ethnic and religious groups, they demon-
strated hate toward women. Essentially, to
compare the mass murders of people to abor-
tion indicated that they view all women who
are pro-choice as murderers. I am appalled
that the University, one of the most open-
minded places I could ever imagine, allowed
the act of hate crimes to appear on campus
for not just one, but two days. I can't even
understand why one of the University's stu-
dent organizations would think to invite
such a thing to the campus.
Aside from this, a member of the center at
one point actually insulted the demographic
it targeted - a.k.a. students themselves - by
refuting an individual student's argument
with the statement, "You're a college student.
You can't understand."
No one, pro-life or pro-choice, should
ever condone this "project." Ever. Especially
one of the most diverse universities in the
TO THE DAILY:
To the University of Michigan:
To be quite frank, I am disappointed in
my college for the first time since visitingthe
University about seven years ago.
I, and every student at this great school,
understand the importance of freedom of
speech and the right to peacefully assemble
- specifically on the Diag here at the Univer-
sity. This exercise of the First Amendment
on the center of the University is what makes
However, while members of the Genocide
Awareness Project cloaked themselves in
their right of exercising free speech, their
display was an act of hate crime - a hate
crime against the families and friends of
victims of the Holocaust, slavery, refugees
from the genocides in Cambodia, Darfur and
Not only did members of the Center for
Bio-Ethical Reform - which brought the
During the past few weeks,
campus has been saturated
with images of bloody fetus-
es, the voices of
ers. Like many of
you, during my
daily walk to and '
from classes I've
come across peo-
ple broadcasting EAGHAN
their message to DAVIS
of students who
cross the Diag each day.
The University is an easy target
for these people. Historically, Michi-
gan has served as a breeding ground
for liberal social and economic ide-
als. From activist John Sinclair to
former President John F. Kennedy,
some of the most important fig-
ures of the 20th century have used
the University as a launching point
for their ideas. Last year marked
the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's
establishment of the Peace Corps on
the steps of the Michigan Union. In
1965, more than 200 faculty mem-
bers canceled their classes and host-
ed "teach-ins" to protest the United
States's occupation of Vietnam. In
1969, America's first student renters
union was founded at the University
with the support of the United Auto
Workers. But why are any of these
events relevant today?
Over the course of our lifetimes,
we've seen the collapse of the Amer-
ican economic system, American
involvement in two wars - propa-
gated by an administration that
seemed more concerned with the
military-industrial complex than
American lives - and an emergence
of shall I say "scary" right-wing radi-
cals who call for a country governed
by religious ideals rather than civil
Today our country and campus
stand at the crossroads of an identity
crisis. Outside groups like the Cali-
fornia-based Center for Bio-Ethical
Reform - who on Monday and Tues-
day attempted to equate the slaugh-
ter of 12 million people by Nazis to
a woman's right to choose - are
omnipresent on campus. Last year,
the University garnered nation-
al media attention when former
Michigan assistant attorney general
Andrew Shirvell publicly harassed
and defamed Chris Armstrong, the
Michigan Student Assembly's first
openly gay president.
Many students on campus have
denounced these events, but out-
right counter-protest has been
minimal. I can assure you many
people with thoughts contrary to
mine are hoping for me to denounce
their right to express their ide-
als. I won't. Our country has been
built upon citizens' right to express
their opinions freely. I'm personally
impressed by the ability of right-
wing groups to organize and dem-
onstrate on campus - no matter
how ludicrous I think their ideals
may be. But without dissent, these
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Patrick Maillet,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
groups will become ever-present on
campus and eventually nationwide.
As history shows, groups who make
the University their focal point of
attack tend to influence the country
as a whole.
Don't ignore the
So, Michigan students, it's time to
react. Political tension in the United
States fosters democratic ingenuity.
It may not be 1960, but I think our
grandparents would contend that
Washington is as troubling today as
it was 50 years ago.
When you see something that
troubles you, you're probably not
the only one. Rather than passing
protesters and ignoring them, take
a stand. Many of my professors have
said that student activism is dead,
but I tend to disagree. The time, if
ever, is now for a rebirth of student
activism. If we continue to stand by
and passively allow fundamental
religious, social and economic free-
doms to be defiled, our prosperity
and our lives are bound to change. 0
It's up to us to determine how so.
- Eaghan Davis can be reached