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October 12, 2012 - Image 4

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4 - Friday, October 12, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Friday, October12, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

C Midtiganai
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
TIMOTHY RABB
JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ADRIENNE ROBERTS ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
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.
Public crossing
Town should take down religous symbol in park
The United States has long held separation of church and
state as a fundamental principle. In order to prevent religion
from holding too much sway over the functions of govern-
ment that affect people of all faiths, the two are kept apart. Prob-
lems arise when strict secularism infringes on the religious rights of
a few. In Frankenmuth, Mich., a privately funded cross was recently
erected in a public park. Americans United for Separation of Church
and State filed a complaint in July and may file a lawsuit since the
city has not removed the 55-foot tall structure.

Riding dirty

As fall descends and Mother
Nature exerts an even great-
er effort to make Michigan
commuters mis-
erable, some of us
will stop cycling
to class. For oth-
ers, though, rid-
ing is the best
option even in
fall showers
and light snows. MICHAEL
Those bikers will SMALLEGAN
face a difficult
choice between
what's good for
them and what's good for their bike.
This shouldn't be the case.
The University is a leader in
numerous areas, but it lags behind
in the area of sustainable bike infra-
structure. Last year, the League
of American Bicyclists awarded a
bronze-level Bike Friendly Univer-
sity designation to Michigan State
University. Almost a year behind
them, the University received that
same designation. Bronze is by no
means the top though, and admin-
istrators clearly see this as a growth
area. In January, high-ranking cam-
pus officials held a forum to discuss
bike transportation on campus, and
it wasn't an idle talk. This fall, the
announcement of the Blue Bikes
rental program through Outdoor
Adventures signaled that supporting
sustainable transportation is an area
of focus and action.
There are many directions the
improvement of campus bike infra-
structure could take, including the
expansionofbikelanes andbike path-
ways, implementing a bike-sharing
program, increasing the availability
of bike education and constructing
enclosed, secured bike parking. All

of these are fantastic solutions, and
all may need tobe explored if we aim
to match Stanford University's level
of bike friendliness, the only school
with a BFU platinum ranking. How-
ever, the most pressing and immedi-
ately helpful measure costs a lot less:
providingsheltered bike parking.
In Michigan, we all know that if
one minute it's cloudy and raining,
in the next five it could be pleasantly
sunny. The opposite is also true, and
without covered bike parking, con-
scientious bike owners's days are
disrupted facing these concerns.
Physics Prof. Gus Evrard, a com-
mitted bike commuter, has often
had to leave meetings to retrieve
his bike from sudden inclement
weather. Unlike cars, bikes have
all of their most important compo-
nents exposed to the elements, and,
if left uncovered, can deteriorate
very quickly.
The bicycle graveyard that we
witness every spring is an unfortu-
nate side effect of winter exposure.
Biking is considered sustainable, and
yet snowmelt uncovers rusty frames,
missing wheels and broken spokes all
over campus. Not only is this a waste,
but the Department of Public Safety
has to incur the cost of impounding
and disposing of the bikes. Certainly,
increasing educational programs
that teach the basics of bike mainte-
nance can help minimize this, but if
bikes are covered, this simple protec-
tion may keep them usable enough to
discourage student abandonment.
Covered parking does exist on
campus, notably on the east side
of North Quad Residence Hall and
underneath the backside of Hatcher
Gradate Library. It's clear from the
crowding of the North Quad bike
racks that the introduction of the

shelter was not only valuable, but
also popular. However, additional
bike shelters don't need to be as
costly as the one installed at North
Quad. A lightweight model made
from sustainable materials could
easily be adapted to enhance the
University's current bike parking
layout. Evrard, who has given the
issue considerable thought, envi-
sions a bike shelter project that
unites campus under a shared goal.
'U' should
install sheltered
bike parking.
"We have all the resources right
here for the whole process," said
Evrard, elaborating on his vision of a
design competitionto choose the best
innovation to install across campus.
Parking and Transportation Ser-
vices released a70-page reportonthe
future of University bike infrastruc-
ture in 2009. Three years later, very
littleofthat"BikeBlueprint"hasbeen
implemented. Fostering bike trans-
portation is a priority for the Univer-
sity, and it's important that planners
know the direction that the com-
munity needs most. In this case, it's
easy to have your voice heard - the
University is listening. Make a bike
parking request on the PTS website.
It's time for action before our bikes
suffer another Michigan winter.
- Michael Smallegan can be
reached at smallmic@umich.edu.

40

The separation between organized religion
and state property has been a part of Ameri-
can discourse since the late 19th century. Other
democratic nations have similar principles in.
place. In France, laicite controversially pre-
vents Muslim women from wearing the hijab,
or burka, in government-sponsored public
schools. Alex Luchenitser, associate legal direc-
tor at Americans United, stated that the cross
"sends a message that the city holds Christian-
ity above all other religions and a message that
non-Christians are not welcome."
According to the U.S. Court of Appeals
decision ACLU v. Mercer County in 2005,
religious displays on public property are
allowed when the display's purpose is secu-
lar. The city of Frankenmuth has stated that
its cross celebrates the 200th birthday of the
U.S. in 1976 and the history and culture of the
city itself.

The three-pronged Lemon test established
in Lemon v. Kurtzman in 1971 establishes that.
any government legislation "must have a secu-
lar legislative purpose; must not have the pri-
mary effect of either advancing or inhibiting
religion," and "must not result in an 'exces-
sive government entanglement' with religion."
A violation of any one of these results in the
unconstitutionality of the law.
The cross was assembled by a private organi-
zation, not the city of Frankenmuth. However,
since the property is public rather than private
- and though the park is named "Cross" - it
should be removed. Americans have the right to
express their religion, but not in such a fashion.
The cross is a permanent fixture and should be
taken down, if not for the logical reason of its
potential to offend the populace or even Fran-
kenmuth tourists, then for the principle behind
the separation of church and state.

6

ZEINAB KHALllt ON
Complex idendities beyond a label

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
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
CAROLYN M. SENGER |
A cure for health care

Health care reform status: Dire. Prognosis:
Pending November results. As a physician, Iam
highly concerned. Health care reformhas come
too far for its progress to be erased. No one
gets to choose when he or she gets sick. Illness
afflicts everyone at some point in their lives,
often without warning. Before the passage
of the Affordable Care Act, the status quo of
health care was one of great uncertainty. Like
pulling out a trusty umbrella to shield yourself
from a sudden downpour only to find it broken,
many patients found their insurance did not
cover them when they needed it most.
Since being passed, the ACA has made great
strides toward the goal of affordable, effective
and fair health care. The ACA is already having
a huge impact in Michigan. As of April, 1,263
previously uninsured Michigan residents are
covered underthe ACA's new Pre-Existing Con-
dition Insurance Plan. These residents need not
worry about a change in employment or loss of
job leavingthem withouthealth insurance.
For those currently healthy, prevention is
the best medicine. Nationwide, the ACA cov-
ers preventive services for 54-million privately
insured Americans, including almost 2 million
in Michigan. The famed Medicare donut hole
will be closed by 2020, but Michigan seniors
have already saved more than $90 million on
the cost of prescription drugs. Young adults
under the age of 26 are eligible to stay on their
family insurance plan, which has helped pro-
vide coverage to 3.1-million people nationwide
and more than 94,000 people in Michigan as of

December 2011.
Soon patients will be able to choose their
insurance policies in state-run affordable
insurance exchanges. Insurance plans will be
presented in a standardized format that allows
people to compare them head to head. This rep-
resents a true step forward for patient freedom
of choice.
As for employers, a new study by the Urban
Institute found that "the ACA benefits, rather
than burdens small employers who wantto pro-
vide health insurance, leaves the overall costs
of employer-sponsored health insurance large-
ly unchanged, and offers the potential, through
cost containment, of slowing the growth in
health care costs, benefiting private along with
public purchasers of health insurance."
Thus, the ACA is already helping patients
get much-needed care and health coverage,
reigning in the abuses of the most egregious
health insurance policy practices and actively
addressing the cost of health care in general.
As a physician, I support the ACA and I'm not
alone. Nearly all major medical associations
and patient advocacy groups support the ACA
as well. It's not political, it's essential - for
the health, well-being and care of all Ameri-
can citizens.
If you're sick of politics getting in the way of
patient care, I have a prescription for you: take
two friends to the voting booth and call me in
the morning.
Carolyn M. Senger is a University alum.

I thought I could ignore it. But
it's hard to when it's screamed at
me from six television screens at the
CCRB. It's hard to avoid something
that fills my inbox, demanding inter-
view requests and providingunsolic-
ited advice and commentary. And it's
almost impossible to ignore when it's
subversively brought up in class by
the student sitting across from me -
"I mean just look at what's happen-
ing in the Muslim world!"
What's happening in the Muslim
world? What is the Muslim world?
What do Muslims have to say about
this madness? It's not that I want-
ed to ignore these questions, but
at some point, the painful images
symbolizing what critics from all
political spectrums have claimed as
the epitome of the clash of civiliza-
tions have affected my social real-
ity. All around me there have been
conversations normalizing racism
and vilifying Muslims.
There's a lot to say. I could spend
hours talking about the complex his-
tory and consequences of coloniza-
tion in Muslim-majority countries.
I could talk about the perception of
U.S. hegemony in other countries as
a resultof years of systematic imperi-
alistic foreign policies. I could spend
a long time writing about who my
compassionate Prophet Muhammad
was, or how my faith encourages me
to "repel (evil) with what is better"
(Qur'an 41:34). I could write pages
about the dangers of demonizing
the Other - but this isn't meant to
be a classroom lecture. Rather, I will
share my personal narrative, focus-
ing on how these global events affect
my daily life as a University of Michi-
gan student.
Since the start of the school year,
our lively board - made up of vary-
ing committee heads - has been
working tirelessly with dedicated
community members to organize
a diverse range of activities, events
and discussions. We hope this pro-
gramming will improve and enhance
the life of students on campus - for
Muslim students and the greater
campus community alike.
Like many students at the Uni-
versity, balancing school and work
while leading a large and active
campus organization takes a toll
on my inbox (thank God for Gmail
filters). It's constantly replenished
with e-mails regarding event logis-
tics, outreach with other student
organizations and random requests
on MSA listservs for textbooks,
sewing kits and anything else you
can imagine. Recently, the e-mails
have continued, but with a new ring
to them:
"Are you guys going to post a
condemnation of the terrorist kill-
ing of a U.S. Ambassador? Might be

a good idea."
"Dear sir, You can see why Islam
is a false religion and Mohammed is
a false prophet by looking at what is
going on in the Middle East. Muslims
have raped, tortured, and killed our
U.S. ambassador."
"I'm doing a story localizing the
controversial anti-Islam film "Inno-
cence of Muslims" to Michigan,
speaking to representatives of the
Islamic community here. YouTube
is refusing to remove the video from
their website, and I hope to talk to
someone who can offer an opinion
on the behalf of your organization
on this issue."
"Hi there. I am writing to ask for
a brief over-the-phone interview
from you. This is in light of the
YouTube video and the events that
have taken place in the Middle East
as a result. I simply wish to ask your
opinions regarding the video, the
reaction to it and any future course
of action you guys would like to see
taken."
Aside from the e-mails, I've
been approached by a number of
people who've asked me to provide
them with MSA's official state-
ment regarding the recent protests
around the world.
I'd like to hope that most of these
requests are well-intentioned, or
an attempt to put a local spin on
an international story. I appreciate
those individuals who want to pro-
vide Muslim students at Michigan
the opportunity to share their opin-
ions on this issue. But the fact that
some media outlets and individuals
reach out to us only in times of neg-
ative and unfortunate events makes
me skeptical of their motives. The
idea that the very diverse Universi-
ty Muslim community is expected
to have a single "reaction" and be
seeking a unified "course of action"
is precisely the image of reaction-
ary, threatening Muslims on which
the media thrives. It's understand-
able that some will want to hurry to
condemn these senseless acts and
defend our faith from prevalent
prejudiced rhetoric, but it's impor-
tant to remember that this reac-
tionist narrative is being pushed by
racist, alarmist media that can't be
trusted to report honestly on Mus-
lim Americans' experiences and
opinions. There's very little evi-
dence that this "film controversy"
or these protests hold a priority in
Muslims's daily lives.
I'm tired of defending ignorant
and reactionary people who do
not represent me. I am also tired
of being told to publicly condemn
extremism or become apologetic
for people I've never met.
For when I do, my voice seems
to not be loud enough - my voice

becomes ventriloquized and the
spotlight stubbornly remains on
fringe extremists anyway. Pushing
us to consume our time and efforts
with these issues is not only burden-
some, it also poses a serious social
justice issue for our community.
When we are expected to spend
our time focusing on responding to
international events or reacting to
incidents instead of being proactive
and engaged activists within our
communities, this causes a margin-
alized community to stay within
the margins. Instead of focusing on
the many incredible initiatives and
proactive projects that our commu-
nity puts together - things like the
Civic Engagement Forum or Fast-a-
thon or the Islam & Hip Hop Panel
- we are pushed instead to narrow
our focus on a defined set of issues
and to let that consume our time
and minds, limiting the scope and
strength of our community.
I refuse to play by these pre-
conditioned terms. I refuse to let
anyone dictate the agenda for how
our relationship with the greater
community ought to be or how
we should focus our energy on
explaining ourselves instead of
working on initiatives to create a
more inclusive Muslim and cam-
pus community. I refuse to follow
the script and act out the scenario
that certain individuals want to
see played out - these individuals
benefit from perpetuating this nar-
rative of a looming clash of civiliza-
tions and these individuals believe
that as a Muslim, my voice is only
valuable when condemning or
reacting to a distant event. To ask
me, an American citizen, howI feel
about the killing of an American
ambassador is a scathing insult. To
ask me why Muslims are so angry
and savage presumes that you've
already made up your mind and are
simply looking for a few words to
affirm your preconceived notions. I
am all for dialogue and effectively
engaging different communities,
but not when dialogical efforts fur-
ther pigeonhole oppressed groups.
Until we come to see everybody
as multidimensional individuals
with complex identities, stories
and histories; until we reach a point
where we are able to appreciate the
nuanced and diverse narratives
we carry; until we reject absurd
attempts to tokenize, homogenize
and essentialize one another using
ridiculous phrases like, "What is
your reaction as a Muslim?" and
"Muslim Rage" and false binaries
like "Why do they hate us?" - until
then, we cannot learn to shift para-
digms and reclaim our voices.
Zeinab Khalil is an LSA junior.

L ETT E R

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM

Princes and equality will
win a woman's heart.
TO THE DAILY:
In his response to Bethany Biron's article
about trends in women sexual culture, Jef-
frey McMahon completely reframes and mis-
represents the issue as black and white. He
looks down at those living a promiscuous life-
style, calling it immature, underclassman-like
behavior and he says that the guys on campus
need to man up and treat women like the prin-.
cesses that they are.
But in denouncing the sexual objecti-
fication of women, McMahon becomes

a proponent of a whole different kind of
objectification: viewing women as spineless
creatures dependent on men. His outlook is
entirely based on the assumption that women
are incapable of being socially and sexually
independent and that they need a man to
make them feel good about themselves.
Undoubtedly, some women would like to be
treated as princesses, but I think just as many,
if not more, would rather be treated as equals.
A real man can care about a woman and "cher-
ish her heart" by treating her with respect, not
putting her on a pedestal.
Nathan Chesterman
LSA junior

CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONVERSATION
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