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October 09, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-10-09

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4 - Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

4 - Tuesday, October 9, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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.
A prisoner's dilemma
Discrimination highlights problems in correctionsa
T here's been a recent wave of court cases in Michigan in which
inmates are suing prisons on the premise that their rights are
being restricted. Specifically, in Jackson and Kent County,
Mich., three prisoners have filed lawsuits against Michigan correc-
tional facilities stating their basic rights to the freedom of religion and
speech have been violated. These men (all part of minority groups in
the United States) are blatantly being denied basic rights that other
prisoners are allowed. Michigan prisons should look to implement
cost-effective solutions into their systems to eliminate this Aiscrimi-
nation that not only affects prisoners, but also minorities.

I enjoyed it so much I might throw a
keg party for the Ryan-Biden debate."
- Kid Rock on Wednesday's presidential debate. The Michigan native introduced Republican
vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan at a rally on Monday in Rochester, Mich.
For more on the rally, check out Gus Turner's viewpoint this afternoon at michigondoilycom/section/opinion.
Two parties, no winners


Bahaa Iswed, an Arabic prisoner at a cor-
rectional facility in Jackson, Mich. is suing the
Michigan Department of Corrections for refus-
ing to allow him to call his family and friends
in Jordan and Romania. The MDOC's defense
is that they limit foreign language calls for
security purposes. Iswed complained about the
lack of communication but was instructed by
authorities to write to his family instead. Ulti-
mately, prison officials rejected his family's let-
ters because they were written in Arabic.
Two inmates are separately suing the Kent
County Correctional Facility for refusing
to accommodate religious dietary requests.
Saabir Abdullah unsuccessfully, sought an
Islamic vegetarian diet, also called halal,
with accommodations for fasting during
Ramadan. Bradley Keith Sleighter wants to
be served kosher meals, a Jewish tradition.
Abdullah's jail refused to give him a "no-meat
diet." However, they provided a Seventh-Day
Adventist - a form of Protestant Christian -
the same request.
Many other states have also recently
encountered issues with prisoner rights -
especially concerning meal systems - and
found economic solutions that don't burden
taxpayers. In California and Massachusetts,
packaged kosher and halal meals are provid-

ed to inmates at a slightly higher price than
regular prison meals. Other states, like Texas
and Arizona, offer regular meat-free or pork-
free meals to their inmates in order to accom-
modate religious dietary restrictions.
Michigan and other states with similar
problems need to follow suit in order to cre-
ate equality. In the case of the restriction of
foreign phone calls and letters, many cost-
efficient solutions exist: The facilities may
hire multi-lingual translators or use other
inexpensive technological translating pro-
gramsalready available.
All prisoners, regardless of their minority
status or religious affiliation, deserve equal
rights. Though some freedoms are limited
upon entering prison or jail, the right to the
First Amendment is retained. Freedom of reli-
gion and speech shouldn't be undermined in
these facilities. Prisoners shouldn't be discrim-
inated against based on their status as mem-
bers of minority cultures in the United States.
They are citizens of this country and deserve
to be treated as such. Correctional depart-
ments throughout the country need to re-work
their systems in order to promote equality and
eliminate discrimination. This is one small
step towards ending the extremely unjust con-
ditions prisoners face on a daily basis.

ike a lot of Americans this
year, when I fill out my
absentee ballot later this
month, I'll be
holding my nose
as I do it. This
really is the year ,
of disappointing
presidential can-
didates. On the
side of conserva-
tives, Republi- JAMES
can presidential BRENNAN
nominee Mitt
Romney is a
moderate who invented the very
health care system he has prom-
ised to repeal. On the left, we find
another major shortcoming. Presi-
dent Barack Obama passed a stimu
lus package and a signature health
care overhaul, but has continued
to perpetuate much of the previous
administratiop's failed policies.
It's hard for me not to cast my bal-
lot for Obama. He's the only of the
pair capable of winning who is close
to my views (much like Romney for
conservatives) but he really won't do
a lot of what I'd hope for in a Demo-
cratic candidate. My main obligation
in voting for Obama really seems to
be preventing a Romney presidency.
Similarly, the conservatives have
such a disdain for the president,
they'll elect someone they don't like
if it means beating someone they
absolutely despise. Here we find our-
selves in a paradox: we can vote and
support the election of someone who
we believe will do wrong, or we can
refuse to vote and indirectly help
someone who will, in our opinion,
do even more wrong.
Damned if we do, slightly more
damned if we don't.
Why is this how we choose a

president? So many people affiliated
with both parties (not to mention the
40 percent or so of Americans in nei-
ther) are choosing between the less-
eroftwo evils,notthe candidatethey
really want. Because our elections
are what are known as "first past the
post" we elect every office individu-
ally, giving the seat to whomever
garners the most votes. In this sys-
tem, we getto vote for a specific per-
son, but we also allow for the rise of a
two-party monopoly that dominates
virtually every vote. Not only is our
presidential election between two
people (and two parties), but so are
all the others. In America, only two
members of Congress don't identify
as Democrat or Republican, despite
almost half of the country refusing
either party label.
What our country needs is a new
election system - one where people
are properly represented and not
forced into a dichotomy. A system
called proportional representation
may help guide us out of this mess.
In proportional representation,
people vote for parties rather than
candidates. When the votes are tal-
lied, the percentage of votes totaled
for a certain party will be given
roughly that percentage of seats in
government. This gives a great deal
of power to parties when choosing
who will represent them. And if the
party commits to a platform before
the election and doesn't stand by it,
there are other parties - more than
just two - that the voter can choose.
Proportional representation is
certainly not perfect, as no system is.
Althoughgettingrid of"firstpastthe
post" for this new system takes away
voting for an individual - something
I'm sure many Americans relish - it
would allow for a more diverse leg-
islature that better represents our

country's diverse political views.
Imagine a legislature that doesn't
only offer two solutions to every
problem: one where people owe
no -allegiance to massive organiza-
tions, but only to a smaller, more
focused party's platform. voting
proportionaly couldn't work for
the presidency, given that there's
only one seat, but Congress break-
inginto several parties could inspire
us to look beyond Democrats and
Republicans for president. How nice
would it be to see a liberal, a conser-
vative, a libertarian, a socialist and
an independent all on stage, all with
a legitimate shot at becoming our
chief policymaker? I don't mean to
paint proportional representation as
our country's savior, because clearly
any election reform we pass in this
country will have its setbacks.


"First past
the post" isn't *
working as
we'd like.
But hey, it's a start, isn't it? The
two-party system has failed Ameri-
can voters, and it's time for people
to realize it. Democrats and Repub-
licans, liberals and conservatives,
independents and party affiliates,
we can all recognize that this isn't
working. People talk about the two-
party system constantly, saying
they're sick of it. If so, perhaps it's
time to look at other alternatives.
- James Brennan can be
reached at jmbthree@umich.edu.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner
Don't be (American) idle

Commitment is fulfillment

I'm excited to finally vote in my first presi-
dential election. It's always been a dream of
mine to'wake up on the morning of Election
Day, go to the polls with alist of the candidates
whom I feel best represent my values, and
leave with the "I Voted" sticker prominently
displayed on my shirt. Michigan's voter reg-
istration period ends today and it's extremely
important that every University of Michigan
student registers to vote before the day's end.
We've seen them all month: student orga-
nization after student organization - the
American Civil Liberties Union includ-
ed - with clipboards in hand, encourag-
ing every student to register to vote. So is
the nature of our democratic system, built
upon the philosophy that a government is
only truly representative of its constituents
when each eligible citizen votes. This phi-
losophy has been recognized time and again
when throughout history the right to vote
has expanded so that our governments are
truly representative of those who they serve.
From the 15th and 19th Amendments, which
granted suffrage rights to African Americans
and women, respectively, to the 24th Amend-
ment, which abolished the poll tax that'pre-
vented otherwise eligible voters from voting,
the United States has shown its commitment
to its democratic institutions.
As students, it's critical that we register to
vote. Students are one of the most underrep-
resented groups at the polls. When a group
isn't represented at the polls, politicians do
not hear its voice. How will politicians know
what students want if we don't send a clear
message on Election Day? Earlier this year,
the Michigan legislature attempted to pass a
series of bills that would have weakened the
voices of targeted voters. Among those who
would have been most directly affected were
college students. Though the bill was not
signed into law, such actions are frightening.
As student voters, we must make sure that
our voices are heard.
Allow me to explain the registration pro-
cess. If you want your voice to be heard in
Michigan, you must register to vote today.
University students come from all over the
country, which means that they are eligible

to vote all over the country. If you choose to
register at your permanent home address,
then you will need to apply for an absentee
ballot through your local Secretary of State,.
and other conditions may apply. For students
from the state of Michigan, for example, you
must either register in person or vote for the
first time in person. You can't vote absentee if
you have not previously voted.
Fortunately, both in-state and out-of-state
students are eligible to vote in Michigan. As
long as you are a current resident of the state
of Michigan, which includes anyone living in
a dorm, house or apartment, you may register
to vote here. In fact, the only guidelines for
voter registration in Michigan are that you
are at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United
States, live in Michigan and - in order to vote
at your local polling place - live in the city in
which you are registered to vote. Using your
dorm, apartment or house as your perma-
nent residence, you can easily register to vote
online at www.Michigan.gov/sos. If you have
registered to vote in the past but have since
moved, you must re-register. If you have any
other questions on how to register, visit acu-
mich.org/studentvoting, a site dedicated to
making this confusing process easier.
The time has finally come for me to real-
ize my dream of voting in my first presidential
election. It's a dream I've had since my mom
took me.to watch her vote in the 2004 elec-
tion. Now that I've become old enough to vote,
however, I've learned that the process begins
long before I receive my ballot; it begins when
I register to vote. The voter registration pro-
cess is certainly the less glamorous side of vot-
ing, but it's just as important. It's the first step
in the path toward fulfilling your civic duty.
As a registered voter, you will have the ability
to exercise the right that was won for you by a
group of Americans who recognized just how
important it was that a government be repre-
sentative of the people whom it serves. Thus,
if you haven't registered yet, I implore you to
take a few minutes out of your day to do so.
In an election as historic as this November's,
every vote will count.
Jacob Light is an LSA sophomore.

While reading Bethany Biron's
latest article in The Statement, one
issue seemed particularly absent.
Where are the men in this story?
Admittedly, I subscribed to this
so-called "Hook-up Culture." As
an underclassman, if you found me
out on a Saturday night, I'd be the
one holding a Gatorade bottle full
of vodka coming home drunk and
trying to remember the name of the
girl that I just made out.with. I slept
with four different women during
my first three years on campus and
rarely made the claim that any of
them were my "girlfriend." I bought
in to all of the hype, but did so with-
out ever reading the fine print. I
wasn't ever told that I would cause
a young girl to cry her heart out in
front of me while feeling complete-
ly numb myself. The world kindly
left out the deep emptiness I could
always feel the morning after, the
same feeling that I'd just pretend
wasn't there. There was no mention
of the walk up to a pharmacy coun-
ter hoping for the best, but fearing
my luck had come to an end. This
is the reality that comes with the
bright lights and shining glory of
"hooking up."
I've been there. I've experi-
enced that life and I know how it
feels. Having been through it all, it
pains me to hear women on campus
resigning to that lifestyle or even
choosing it. But, at the same time,
I can't blame them. Take a look
around campus and it's hard to find
any real men. Sure, they do exist,
but they're all hidden behind the
swath of boys equipped with a few
pick-up lines and a fifth of -liquor.
So, my beef is with the boys on
campus. My issue is with the boy I
once was, the one I constantly fight
against becoming again.
Where are the real men while
this is happening to women? What
are we up to while girls are pushed
to look for fulfillment shot by shot,
wearing barely more than a bath-

ing suit? Sure, we can claim that parents to look up to. It's likely that
it's not all our fault. Popular media some of them do have a father, but
tells us that using women and put- one who might have been absent
ting notches on our bedposts make or even abusive. In this case, we
us real men. It's no longer honor- all have the opportunity to be real
able for men to consider women men. The opportunity is there to
precious and something to be hon- show her what it means to be a man
ored and cherished rather than pos- of strength, integrity, compassion
sessed and used. Commitment is for and conviction.
fools and old-fashioned folks. Who Women in current culture are
needs commitment when we can 'becoming more independent and
have it little by little each weekend? empowered. As women continue to
Are we so void of hope for a consis- work hard for degrees and careers,
tent love that we'll settle for scraps it becomes increasingly difficult to
from the table? consider the idea of marriage. This
Men, the women on campus are difficulty is greater when finding
all vulnerable. They're away from a good man means having to sift
their homes and families and are through all of the boys who prowl
now in our care. So far we've done around campus. Where will they
nothing but put them in harm's way find security, support and comfort?
and exploit them. It's time to take a Are there any men who will com-
stand and become real men. What mit themselves to providing these
will happen when this college life things for a woman? Without real
is over? Will we continue chasing men to stand up and take on this
women for sex? Excuses like, "I'll responsibility, our women are left
stop once I settle down and have a to find their fulfillment here and
family" are all too familiar. Do you there, but ultimately left objectified
really think that all of a sudden we and used.
can change our hearts? What's next Girls, each-of you is amazing and
... we're so attached that we look worthwhile. Each of you deserves
at pornography with actors our to be treated with love and respect
daughter's age, or we leave our fam- from the men around you. There are
ilies and wives for younger models? true men in the world, even on cam-
Carrying this mentality only results pus. College certainly doesn't have
in broken families and more fathers to be a place to find a husband, but
who aren't man enough to show you can still surround yourself with
their daughters how treasured and friends who cherish your heart. If
incredibly important they are. Let's you're looking for a relationship,
become the men that we want to be find someone who will protect you.
in the future. - If you're going out with the girls,
Men, think 10 or 15 years ahead wear something that forces a man
when a young girl will capture your to get to know your heart and not
heart and look up to you as her just your body. You're treasured
hero, the only man in her life who and there's a man who will call you
will ever matter. This little girl will his princess, who will protect you
look you in the eyes and call you and keep you safe. Don't settle for
"Daddy." You will do everything anything less. Beauty will fade, but
in your power to protect this little the desires of the heart last a life-
precious heart from anything that time and can only be fulfilled by the
may threaten it. Each woman on same kind of lifetime commitment.
this campus is someone's princess.
Sadly, not all of the young women m - Jeffrey McMahon is
on campus grew up in a home with an Engineering senior.




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