4A - Thursday, January 12, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam
4A - Thursday, January12, 2012 The Michigan Deity - michigandaily.com
( l e Iicl ig n +. ily
Edited and managed by students at
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109
and ANDREW WEINER JOSH HEALY
'EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
EDITOR IN CHIEF
I know they call it football, but really, did Alabama
have to take it so literally?"
- Los Angeles Times opinon writer Paul Whitefield said about the number of field goals
in Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU in the BCS National Championship on Monday.
Te pivotal outhvote
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 email@example.com.
A fair shot
Campaign contributions shouldn't sway elections
Jt takes a lot to win a presidential election in the United States.
Candidates need a platform, supporters and a staff - but most
of all they need money. The 2010 Supreme Court ruling Citizens
United v. The Federal Election Commission removed any and all lim-
its on contributions from businesses to Political Action Committees.
These super PACs permit corporations to indirectly fund political
campaigns limitlessly, they threaten to drown out the voices of the
people and allow companies to manipulate politicians and influence
elections. The ruling hurts many of the quality candidates who don't
have enough cash to keep up with other candidates, and the citizens
of the U.S. deserve an election that isn't impacted by finances.
Presidential candidate, former Utah Gov.
Jon Huntsman's financial moderation may
be hurting him in the polls. Huntsman has
suffered several attacks from former Massa-
chusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP front-
runner, and he finished a distant third in
the New Hampshire primary. Former House
Speaker Newt Gingrich's PAC, Winning Our
Future, just received $5 million to finance
negative advertising against Romney in
South Carolina. Huntsman isn't in the same
type of financial position to further his own
The upcoming presidential election will
be the first impacted by the Citizens United
ruling, and its effects are already visible. It's
no coincidence that Romney was the biggest
spender. His Restore Our Future super PAC
spent more than $700,000 on attack ads. Rom-
ney's attacks on Gingrich, who finished fourth
in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire Pri-
mary, significantly affected the former front-
runner's campaign. Gingrich also spent more
than $700,000 less than Romney. It seems
that the winning candidate won't necessarily
have the most appeal or best ideas, but he will
have the largest bankroll. A significant portion
of these funds come from support of the gas,
tobacco and casino industries.
It's unfortunate that the Supreme Court has
allowed such pervasive corporate influence to
affect our political system. The court's deci-
sion was based on the theory of "corporate
personhood," which dictates that corporations
are individual entities deserving of representa-
tion. The Citizens United decision was made
to protect political speech, but it has effec-
tively diminished it. The electoral process has
become decentralized from theneeds of the
voter and is focused on corporate interest.
Corporate personhood drowns out the average
voter and amplifies the voice of a single organi-
zation, giving it the-powers that a single person
alone does not have.
The Citizens United decision changed the
culture of campaigning. Before 2010, a provi-
sion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance
law prohibited private companies from spon-
soring advertisements advocating for a spe-
cific issue. However, the new Supreme Court
decision overturned this aspect of the Act. The
Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light
on Spending in Elections Act, a 2010 effort
of the congressional Democrats that never
passed, would have created greater transpar-
ency in campaign funding and expenditures.
Such a measure would not fix the problem, but
would be a way to further provide Americans
with the information they need to make an
informed voting decision.
The responsible course of action is to repeal
corporate personhood and abolish super PACs.
Monetary gifts may translate to an unfair
advantage in the polls. Campaigns shouldn't be
bidding wars. Elections should reflect the dem-
ocratic ideals upon which the United States
was founded. The American public deserves an
election free from the bias of the pocketbook.
The Iowa caucuses serve
as an early glimpse of the
front-runners of the non-
incumbent presidential nomina-
tions. Theytell us
a lot about what's
on the minds
voters. Like in
2008 when then-
Obama received SARAH
a whopping 66 ROHAN
percent of the
vote from people
ages 18-29, this
year the pivotal youth voters have a
strong preference - Rep. Ron Paul
(R-Texas). Receiving 48 percent of
the youth vote in Iowa, Paul beat
out overall victor Mitt Romney and
runner-up Rick Santorum by a mar-
gin of 35 percent and 25 percent,
respectively. In Tuesday night's New
Hampshire primary, Paul received
47 percent of the youth vote.
Paul's considerable margin of vic-
tory among the youth tells us more
about America's young voters than
simply their preference of nominee.
The results illustrate emerging atti-
tudes and trends in young voters.
As a libertarian, Paul' promotes
the idea of a limited government,
even more so than do his conserva-
At the Conservative Political
Action Conference in 2010, Paul
stated that, "Personal liberty is the
purpose of government; to protect
liberty, not to run your personal
lives,not to runthe economy and not
to pretend that we can tell the world
how they ought to live." In congru-
ence with this statement, Paul advo-
cates reduced federal interference in
issues of civil liberties such as gay
marriage and drug use.
Young Americans tend to equate
the idea of diminished government
interference with increased inde-
pendence, making Paul an alluring
candidate. Paul's non-intervention-
ist foreign policy ideals also appeal
to voters raised in a culture of "do
what's best for you." In recent gener-
ations, enlightened self-interest has
come to replace communal respon-
sibility, and it's demonstrated by
the 48 percent of young voters who
chose Paul at the caucuses.
Unlike his counterparts, Paul
extends the idea of scaling back
government to the U.S. military,
where he wants to cut both size and
spending. Since the vietnam War
and onward, the military has been
a source of great concern to young
Americans as they come of age to be
citizens of service. And, as a costly
and controversial decade-long war
comes to a close, Americans are
even more inclined to advocate for a
smaller military role.
America's youth also greatly
admire Paul's willingness to halt
excessive spending. As the federal
debt stands at $15 trillion, younger
generations become increasingly
aware that they are the ones who.
will be responsible for stabilizing
America's spending and control-
ling the debt. One way of doing so,
according to Paul, is to cut spend-
ing on Medicare and Social Security
- two programs that do not benefit
American citizens until their later
years. "Stabilizing the budget
should be atop every candidate's
list," LSA freshman and first-time
voter Beatrice volkmar told me in an
interview. "Of the Republican nomi-
nees, Ron Paul is the most willing to
cut spending that America cannot
afford. His cuts might be extreme,
but so is the debt."
What makes Paul such a viable
candidate to young adults is that he
represents radical change. You don't
need to look further than Obama's
2008 campaign to understand that
as optimists, and perhaps even ide-
alists, the youth believe in the ben-
efits and possibility of change. While
more weathered voters view Paul's
believe in the
need for change.
positions as unrealistic, extreme and
risky, the young see them as quick
and effective fixes to festering prob-
Though endorsements by the
youth alone are unlikely to carry
Ron Paul all the way to GOP nomi-
nation, Obama serves as an example
of the impact young voters can have
on an election. In 2008 he received
66 percent of the youth vote. With-
out it, he could very well have lost
the race. Ron Paul - though accru-
ing a smaller percentage of young
votes - potentially stands in a simi-
lar position. If Americans can learn
anything from their youth in the last
election and so' far in the Republi-
can primaries, it's that the young
like radical change, even if it may be
unrealistic to achieve. Political risk
takers of today enjoy support from
the generations that do not yet have
much to lose.
- Sarah Rohan can be reached
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Kaan Avdan; Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Seth Soderborg, Caroline Syms, Andrew Weiner
A new era of democracy
t year could be called a great year for of Eastern Europe were well acquainted with
cracy. The Arab Spring, the occupy democracy by 1989, and successfully estab-
ment and protests in countries such as lished democratic regimes.
a, Hungary and Greece all raised some , Yet today we see more and more attempts by
is issues. The stage is now set for these Eastern European political leaders to consoli-
ions to be addressed in 2012. After a very date power. For example, consider the change
ful year in which dictatorships spanning of Hungary's constitution. The change needs
century ended, I don't think 2012 will be to be kept in mind when evaluating the Arab
'of resolution. Rather, it will be a year of Spring. We need to remember that the estab-
lity as nations struggle to find the right lishment of democracy is a continuous process.
ifter many successful protests. Arabs will not have very efficient democracies,
e unique thing about the uprisings across but they took a big step towards the process
obe is that they were all ignited by acom- of becoming a democracy. Even though the
motive, resentment toward government. regimes will tend to be authoritarian in the
ins of people in the Middle East realized near future, in time, democracy will become a
heir authoritarian leaders were greatly value deeplyembedded inthe conscience of the
ng the people's power and freedom. Peo- Arab people.
the United States and Europe began to The Occupy movement in the U.S. and
that economic policy wasn't representa- Europe was mostly directed against economic
f everyone. There was a collective unhap- and social inequality. Most importantly, the
s among the population, which they movement was propelled by the youth. There
d through protests. Not every participant are two crucial questions as the movemnent
ighly intellectual. Many people were just comes to a hiatus, or even an end - will the
to express their feelings about what they movement affect policymaking? And will it
ht was wrong. persuade more youth to vote?
e Arab Spring was a revolution that I find it unlikely that the protests will have
:t no one saw coming. Looking at similar a considerable impact on policymaking as they
ic occurrences can help us predict what are premature and without a solid political
ome next. The Arab Spring revolution basis. For the protests to create incentives or
smewhere between the French Revolu- force legislators to change policy, the Occupy
nd the fall of communism in 1989. Before movement has to prove its durability and unity.
ag comparisons, we should look at what Even this may not be enough.
entiates the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring Just as it's important whether or not the
auch of a nationalistic movement. Rather, youth will begin to vote more consistently.
all for equality, the end of corruption and, The answer to this question will determine
all, freedom. how widespread the policy effects of the
other difference is that the totalitar- Occupy movement will be. The participation
vernments in the Middle East had long of the youth can bring about change in the
sued Islamist groups and parties, decreas- long run, but most likely not in 2012 when
eir representation in the political sphere. almost everything will be dominated by the
that there isn't tight control over Islam presidential election.
itics, people will embrace it as Eastern As the U.S. elects its next president, the
ean countries embraced nationalism European Union tries to implement new eco-
:he end of Soviet suppression. nomic policies and Arab nations strive to build
e French Revolution was the French peo- democratic regimes, 2012 will be a year full of
irst introduction to democracy. It proved ups and downs, speculation and uncertainty.
lived because it was easy for a charismat- Nonetheless, 2012 marks the beginning of an
lerNapoleon, tooverride the weak demo- era in which people highly value democracy
control mechanisms and the conscience and actively struggle to safeguard their rights.
It's been 5,908 days since I
have eaten a fruit or vegetable.
This isn't a joke. This talent may
not be super-
but that's likely
to my applica-
5,908 is a fairly YONAH
exact number. LIEBERMAN
The proof is in a
picture from my
third birthday party. It's pretty clas-
sic, as photos go - a child holding a
banana, mouth wide open, probably
smiling but possibly crying. The jury
is still out on that one.
Another awkward confession
- the majority of my life before 16
is extremely hazy. So what I know
about childhood, I've learned by
watching a few Gerber commer-
cials and Discovery Channel docu-
mentaries. I tend to think that kids
might not even like eating fruits or
Shocking, I know. For some reason
- on the eighth day - God created
phrases like "here comes the choo-
choo train" and "open up for the air-
plane." It's kind of interestingthat we
are supposed to open our mouths for
motorized vehicles. There must be
some sort of hidden meaning there.
As a history major, I'm inclined to
think this has something to do with
capitalism and the Industrial Revolu-
tion, but my friend studying psychol-
ogy swears that Freud would make
some sort of phallic analysis. I'll
spare you all the jokes. '
Apparently I came to some bril-
liant realization after my third
birthday party and joined my peers
by resisting the oppressive fruits
and vegetables. What separates me
from the pack - or the berry bunch,
if you will - is that I never caved to
To this day, when I see salad I
can feel my stomach shrink up like
a raisin in the sun. Luckily Langs-
ton Hughes isn't around; just a lot of
chopped vegetables next to an imag-
inary Pillsbury Doughboy, willing
me not to make his past nutritional
mistakes. I never listen. But I always
rub his belly.
These days I avoid fruits and
veggies at any cost. I've boiled my
diet down to five main food groups:
bagels, cheese, eggs, tortillas and
cheese, again. New federal guide-
lines may force an end to my streak
before it hits 6,000 due to my love
of pizza. However, 'I am confident
the rule was only changed because
someone in our big government was
jealous of Herman Cain's pizza-
This isn't information I readily
share, because when I tell people,
their quizzical reactions are .more
predictable than my Facebook news-
feed before a football game. They
always ask, "Why?"
. My first reaction is to shake them
and scream, "Just because!" I don't
do this, of course. The tipping point
was probably when my grandmother
took out a restraining order on me.
There mustbe some sort of double
standard at play. How come Gushers
and Fruit by the Foot don't count?
The word "fruit" is literally in the
title. Where is big government when
I actually need it?
In reality, the answer to the pre-
dictable question is actually quite
simple. Fruits and veggies freak me
out.Imagine if you picked the earwax
flavored jellybeans like Dumbledore
did or if a serial killer kidnapped you
and locked you in his basement (and
then gave you the jellybean).
In a world where most of my food
can be processed to taste better, how
can I enjoy anything natural? Fruits
are sticky, and vegetables are dirty.
Not my cup of tea. Butgive me a little
sour cream and a few cheese quesa-
dillas and I'm in heaven.
I love nature just as much as the
next person - probably even more.
I just don't want to eat it. I'd rather
enjoy it on a full stomach of Kraft
Macaroni & Cheese and a bag of
Don't hide from
the quirks that
Seventeen years without fruits or
vegetables hasn't been so bad, I've
learned a lot about myself and about
the world. For example, I've deduced
that either scurvy does not exist or
that I would have made a damn good
pirate back in the day.
I realize that this entire column
has been hard to swallow. For many
of you, fruits and veggies are simply
parts of your day. For me, though, it's
a struggle to even write about them.
But in the end, this is me. Each of
us has these strange things we seek
to hide from the rest of the world. I
encourage you all to not hide from
the weird quirks that make you who
Tomorrow will be my 5,909th day
without eating any fruits or vegeta-
bles, but hey, who's counting?
- Yonah Lieberman can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him
on twitter at @YonahLieberman.
people. Through this, he consolidated
r in his hands. In contrast, the peoples
Kaan Avdan is an LSA freshman.