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4A - Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

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

0

JOSEPH LICHTERMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

ASHLEY GRIESSHAMMER
and ANDREW WEINER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

JOSH HEALY
MANAGING EDITOR

Right now the best way that I can impact the world
is through entertainment. One day, and that day will
come, I can impact the world through politics.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson saidin an interview with The Huffington Post
about his interest in potentially getting involved in politics.
A comprehensive platform

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.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
A tCS tSe arm
Aracista dvertisement
Negative political ads subtract from campaigns
uper Bowl advertisements are expected to be funny and eye-
opening, but ads that are openly racist are something new.
Last Sunday, football fans around the state of Michigan looked
on with amazement as a political advertisement degraded a specific
group of individuals. Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra's campaign to
be the Republican nominee to face Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) in the
November election turned brutal after a clearly racist advertisement
was aired during the Super Bowl. Hoekstra's campaign team cre-
ated a commercial targeting Stabenow's spending, calling her "Deb-
bie Spend-It-Now," and turned the focus on China and Asian peoples.
Political candidates should focus on promoting themselves through
campaign ads and not try to offensively defame another candidate or
culture. No political advertisement should offend a culture.

For most undergraduates on
campus, the upcoming elec-
tion will be our first as eli-
gible voters. And
while many of
us haven't yet
formally had our
political say, we
have undoubt-
edly constructed
our own set of
political ideas.
I myself have SARAH
developed a ROHAN
political atti-
tude which most
would define as liberal. However,
like all things politics, it's never
quite so simple.
I have at the forefront of my mind
aproblem entirelyseparate from, and
yet utterly pertinent to, my political
concerns for America: the Middle
East. Such a concern makes politics
far more than a simple issue of bi-
partisanship. So, while I tend to be
left-leaning in my social values, my
attitude toward Israel more closely
resembles a conservative outlook..
This concern, however, is just
a personal example of a univer-
sal issue which young voters will
grapple with for the first time this
November. There will rarely ever
be any one candidate who embodies
the entirety of one's political ethos.
We must consider what issues mat-
ter to us most and how we deal with
them when they seem to conflict.
To make an educated decision,
one must be an educated voter. It's
all too easy to define a candidate
by only one of his many political
positions. For example, students
often see Ron Paul as the candidate

who supports the legalization of
marijuana. Oftentimes, however,
the same voters will know little
to nothing about his job-stimulus
proposals. To vote for a candidate
without knowing his positions on
all but a few issues is to inadequate-
ly exercise your right to vote.
As young people, we tend to
be more shortsighted, concerned
mainly with issues dealing with
the here and now. Young voters
are more likely to pay attention to
policies concerning social liber-
ties, such as gay marriage, military
action, job. availability and drug
policies. It's easy to ignore issues
like social security and Medicare,
which will only affect our genera-
tion in the distant future. But, as
voters, we must remember that
whomever we elect will have a say
in these important issues which
affect not only our fellow citizens,
but will likely one day affect us too.
Finally, as inexperienced voters,
we stand in a unique position. Too
often we hear more weathered vot-
ers restrictively define themselves
as either Democratic, Republican
or Independent. Having not yet offi-
cially committed to any party, first-
time voters should take the time to
consider candidates independent
of their party affiliation. In other
words, vote for policies and posi-
tions rather than parties.
Few of us yet possess the burdens
and responsibilities of a mortgage,
paying taxes and facing the costs
of raising children. And though the
issue of healthcare is extremely
important in this election, most of
us do not yet have to worry about
funding our own healthcare cover-

age. As voters acquire these respon-
sibilities with time and age, their
interests tend to shift from "what
is.best for the country" to "what
is best for me." Before it's too late,
let's reflect on and decide what we
believe is best for our country. We
should cultivate a habit of voting
for the well-being of society at large
instead of the well-being of our own
special interests.
Voters should
consider all of a
candidate's ideas.
This upcoming election, I will
have to decide whether to re-elect a
president whose social values closely
reflect my own, but whose attitudes
toward Israel might be less aligned
with mine than those of other. can-
didates. Another student on cam-
pus who identifies with Ron Paul's
stance on marijuana legalization, but
who believes in aggressive foreign
policy, will have to make a choice
as well. I can't tell students which
of their often-conflicting opinions
should take precedence and which
should be swept to the side. What I
can suggest is that students become
versed in the many complex and
varied policies of each candidate. In
this way, first time voters can best do
justice to their own opinions and to
those of their fellow citizens.
- Sarah Rohan can be reached
at shrohan@umich.edu.

Political campaigns have recently become
more negative and demeaningtoward oppos-
ing parties and candidates. The ads have
started a dangerous trend that offends both
parties and individuals involved. Accord-
ing to a National Public Radio report, nega-
tive political advertising in campaigns has
become bigger than ever and continues to
increase. In the 2000 presidential election,
neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore ran neg-
ative advertisements. But today, these nega-
tive ads flood our televisions and computers,
demeaning opposing candidates and their
parties. Campaigns are no longer aimed at
promoting an individual candidate, but rath-
er at putting down the opposition.
Hoekstra's commercial against Staben-
ow's spending record is blatantly racist and
offensive. It shows a young Asian woman
riding her bicycle through a rice paddy field,
while speaking broken English. Surprisingly,
she has no accent whatsoever, yet still speaks
poor English in choppy sentences. These
racist tactics are unacceptable as a means
of political propaganda. In no way should
candidates be running racist advertisements
that are demeaning to an entire culture and
ethnic group. Commercials can change the
way thousands of individuals view certain
groups or think about a different culture.
Political advertisements are aired publically
for thousands of viewers to see, and employ-
ing racist ideas is not acceptable. Political
campaigns need to refocus their advertising
on promoting the candidates and sharing
information with the public.

Not only are negative advertisements like
Hoekstra's offensive, but they are not a pro-
ductive means of campaigning. By degrading
certain individuals and offending a group's
culture, political advertisements don't gain
the positive support they are hoping for.
If candidates began creating informative
advertisements, they would be backed by
hope and encouragement, rather than by fear
and hatred. Unfortunately, negative adver-
tisements have a stronger effect on people
than positive advertisements, but this isn't a
reason to insult another culture.
Political campaigning in the United States
has gotten out of control. Huge sums of
money are spent creating negative advertise-
ments to poke fun at opposing parties and
candidates. Candidates waste thousands of
dollars to hurt the opposition rather than
inform the general public about their own
goals and ambitions.
Political candidates need to focus on creat-
ing informative advertisements that promote
a specific candidate, rather than offending a
certain party or culture. It is unacceptable
to use racist tactics and ideas in advertise-
ments that can prove to be tremendously
degrading to individuals from different cul-
tures. Political advertising campaigns in the
United States are more negative than ever
and in return, we're not learning anything
new about a candidate's objectives and ideas.
Campaigns need to start focusing on inform-
ing the general public, rather than bashing
their opponents and offending individual
cultures in the process.

FOLLOW DAILY OPINION ON TWITTER
Keep up with columnists, read Daily editorials, view cartoons and join in the debate.
Check out @michdailyoped to get updates on Daily opinion content throughout the day.

A real woman

01

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Laura Argintar, Kaan Avdan, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Harsha Panduranga, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne
Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Seth Soderborg, Caroline Syms, Andrew Weiner
JESSE KLEIN|
Grade us consistently

On the first day of my creative writing class,
I couldn't find a seat. The class was full. I was
forced to steal a desk from another classroom.
After the usual introductions and icebreakers,
my teacher said, "It will be very difficult to get
an A in this clags. You will have to really wow
me." I could feel the classroom emptying.
Creative writing is a class that most people,
including niyself, take because they want to. It
only fills a creative expression requirement for
LSA students. When people were asked why
they wanted to take this class, the answers
were some form of "I like writing and I had
time in my schedule." But when he said that
it would be hard to get an A, all the students
started regretting their decision to take this-
'fun' class.
At the next class, I had no problem finding
a seat. The phrase "it will be hard to get an A"
guaranteed that at least one third of the class
would drop by our next meeting.
Students work hard to find teachers that
will boost their GPAs. They look on ratemy-
professor.com or maizeandbluereview.com,
The Michigan Daily's own teacher review
website. Students look for teachers who give
out lots of As or they ask friends who they
think are the easiest teachers. If things aren't
what they expected when they enter the class,
they drop. And those who stick with it get
punished with low grades for not taking the
easy way out.
I took the class because I had always want-
ed to take a creative writing class, and I'm not
going to lie, I thought it would be a little bit of
a GPA booster. Once my GSI told me it would

be basically impossible to get an A, the GPA I
was aiming for was thrown out the window.
But I didn't want to switch out. It was probably
impossible and waytoo much of a hassle for me
with my schedule, and I actually liked my GS.
Besides the fact that he decided to make a fun,
non-required, non-core class extremely dif-
ficult to succeed in, he was interesting, funny
and seemed to have a good grasp on how to
teach creative writing. I wanted this class tobe
a fun distraction from my other intense classes,
but instead it just became one more thing for
me to stress over. I can't enjoy the class as fully
as I would have because I know this class will
be another dent in my GPA.
Worse than knowing that my GPA will
suffer is knowing that the other people who
switched out moved to an easier section. They
will get a higher grade in the course and will
look like better students than me. I am getting
punished for sticking with my assigned teacher
and not-working the system to get the highest
GPA possible.
I am not advocating grade inflation. Instead,
I am just advocating for a change in the system.
A change that would make grading scales more
universal for each specific course. The Univer-
sity should look at the grades all G5Is or profes-
sors give out in a specific class. If there is a huge
discrepancy between different sections year
after year, something needs to be done. Some-
thing needs to change so students in every sec-
tion have the same chance at getting an A, B or
C. It should be fair.
Jesse Klein is an LSA freshman.

ne of the most disappoint-
ing revelations of growing
up, at least for me, is that my
life really isn't,
and won't be,
straight out of a
chick flick. No,
my biggest prob-
lem in life is not
having to bribe
my way into law
school " to get
back together ADRIENNE
with my ex-boy- ROBERTS
friend, or break-
ing up with an
attractive and successful man in ten
days so that I can finish a.story for
a world-famous magazine, all while
maintaining a lady-like demeanor
and wearing gorgeous clothes.
No, like many other college stu-
dents, my life is much less glam-
orous. My days are filled with
awkward encounters, frequent cups
of cheap coffee, saying the wrong
things at the wrongtimes and gener-
ally being broke. So when I saw Kris-
ten Wiig portray Annie Walker in
"Bridesmaids" as a single, struggling
and swearing 30-something woman,
I could see myself in her more than
in any other character portrayed
in those predictable romantic com-
edies.
While Wiig was praised for
her role, a growing concern arose
because of the portrayal of women
as ridiculous, loudmouth losers. In a
Jan. 29 Detroit Free Press article by
Georgea Kovanis, women are criti-
cized for losing themselves when
they are crass because it "is very
male in tone" and "we are following
in the footsteps of men." This senti-
ment has been expressed by many:

Women with strong personalities
are viewed as intimidating and
manly.
Kovanis is correct in the fact
that this new-found freedom of
language is a step toward territory
previously claimed by men. But I
think it's totally wrong to think
that women just want to emulate
men and not form their own iden-
tity. Of course, we all need to know
when and where not to use this lan-
guage, but honestly, it can be liber-
ating.
Off-color jokes made by women
demonstrate a certain power that
women are gaining. Think Tina Fey,
Chelsea Handler and Amy Poehler.
These women use dirty humor fre-
quently and they speak their minds.
They are also respected by men and
women alike. Yet, there seems to
be a disconnect between comedic
and strong women in Hollywood
and the attitudes toward women in
everyday life.
The problem does not lie in how
funny or how lame women's jokes
are. Instead, there seems to be a
deeply rooted fear of women with
bold personalities. When Jodi
Kantor's book, "The Obamas," hit
shelves last monththere was a mass
outcry over the fact that this book
described Michelle Obama as an
angry black woman who was overly
protective and harsh. In reality, the
book provides examples of Obama
not wanting to move her children to
the White House before the end of
their school year and having some
difficulty adjusting to her new life.
This sounds like an honest depic-
tion of many women today, not a
crazed and vicious first lady.
Many women have always been

strong, sometimes angry and a little
bit vulgar. Representing women like
this in movies and television, and
now in biographies, is new. The atti-
tudes and personalities of women
are not. Women are not trying to act
like men. They are just becoming
more comfortable showingwhothey
There is a fear of
females with big
personalities.

are and what they think.
It's one thing to think comedic
and strong women are funny from a
distance, but it's another to respect
women who aren't actresses and
celebrities. Women can't continue to
live vicariously through the people
on our TVs. We should be proud of
the people we are with our closest
friends and family, not the inhibited
persona that we share with the rest
of the world.
Yes, women are generally poised,
collected and put-together. But it
would be inaccurate and unfair to
only portray that image. Sometimes,
we have loser tendencies, and that's
okay. There are many Annie Walk-
ers in the world, and the more that
this is accepted, the easier it will be
for women to express themselves
publicly like we do with our best
friends behind closed doors.
When it's appropriate, of course.
After all, we do have standards.
- Adrienne Roberts can be
reached at adrirobeumich.edu.

01

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