4A - Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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EDITOR IN CHIEF
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.
Dingell's bill to prohibit corporate campaign financing deserves support
n April 3, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) spearheaded apanel
on campaign finance issues prevalent since the 2010 U.S.
Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Elec-
tions Commission. The court's decision allowed for unlimited and
sometimes anonymous contributions to political action committees
as long as they are unaffiliated with the campaign, thereby overturn-
ing a large portion of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.
Dingell has introduced new legislation, known as The Restore Con-
fidence in Our Democracy Act, to restore some campaign finance
restrictions. Specifically, it will prohibit corporate spending in elec-
tions while subjecting political action committees to $5,000 contri-
bution limits. Though this legislation won't likely pass the House of
Representatives, it's extremely important that a member of Congress
is recognizing the immense challenges of campaign finance.
The man in the cowboy hat - he saved
Jeff's life. There's a video where he goes
right to Jeff, picks him right up and puts
him on the wheelchair and starts putting
the tourniquet on him and pushing him
out. I got to talk to this guy!"
- Jeff Bauman said after he discovered a video of a man rushing his son to medical
attention after the tragic bombings in Boston on Monday, as reported in The New York Times.
Strength in adversity
Bills like Dingell's warrant more support.
In the 2012 election cycle, the country saw an
unprecedented $6 billion spent on elections,
with each presidential candidate pulling in
nearly $1 billion. Probably the most infamous
individual donor was casino tycoon Sheldon
Adelson, who pledged nearly $100 million of
his own money to various Republicans, includ-
ing Mitt Romney. This kind of disenfranchise-
ment of the individual voter can't be tolerated.
Even more frightening is the fact that some
$400 million in "dark money"- money con-
tributed anonymously - was spent through-
out the campaign cycle. This comes out to be
37 percent of all independent expenditures.
Major federal election reform is needed to
stop this type of influence in politics, especial-
ly influence that's seemingly untraceable. The
Citizens United decision allowed non-profit
corporations to keep vast amounts of money
completely unreported, and the current trend
is more and more money appearing as anony-
mous. Dingell's legislation would force dis-
closure and transparency in elections while
limiting the total money one person or orga-
nization could donate, bringing back at least
some dignity to our election process.
When questioned about the possibility of
a constitutional amendment to overturn the
entirety of the Citizens United decision, Ding-
ell explained that this was the best Congress
could hope for at this time, saying "the perfect
cannot be the enemy of the good." Though a
constitutional change is unlikely, the conver-
sation can't stop. In order to end the influence
of money in politics, the United States must
amend the Constitution and end corporate
personhood. The rights of "corporations as
people" has legally allowed for big businesses
and extremely wealthy individuals to expand
their reach far into government. This legal
entitlement must be taken away, as it's tanta-
mount to the power over decision making that
If we want to truly restore confidence in
our democracy, we must fully work to undue
the effect of Citizen's United through mean-
Tragedy struck Boston and
the entire nation Monday
when two bombs were
the finish line
of the Boston
ing three and
than 140 indi-
been released TIMOTHY
by authorities BURROUGHS
sible suspects as
investigators continue to examine
the crime scene. Fox News reported
that a senior official from the White
House referred to the attack as "an
act of terrorism," though President
Barack Obama avoided the phrase
in his statement at 6 p.m Monday.
Due to the seeming coordination
of the two bombs and a third in the
JFK Library, experts are speculat-
ing that they're connected. Another
later explosion at a local library may
or may not be linked.
The sights and sounds appear-
ing on social media sites following
the blasts seem more fitting in a
warzone than the end of a historic
marathon. Videos of the explosion
show blood-covered sidewalks, as
well as people holding their injuries
and fleeing the scene. The medical
tent for runners near the finish line
transformed from an aid station for
marathon runners to an impromptu
I stumbled across the news story
on Twitter during my afternoon
classes as the first reports were
coming out of Boston. Like many
others, I was horrified and stunned,
unable to comprehend how this
ruthless act could happen at an
event that, for many runners, marks
a lifelong achievement. Further-
more, this attack targeted families
and civilians who were exercising
their right to celebrate the achieve-
ments of others. I was devastated
watching hundreds of people cry-
ing and searching for loved ones as
emergency personnel rushed the
wounded to nearby hospitals. How-
ever, after a few hours of watching
videos and reading reports from
local journalists, I was hit with a
very different emotion: pride.
Immediately following the explo-
sions, first responders, many wear-
ing neon yellow jackets, could be
seen running directly to the scene
to assist the injured. Their courage
and quick action saved lives as more
than 140 people were rushed to local
hospitals for treatment. They were
seen carrying wounded civilians to
a nearby medical tent seconds after
the blast occurred. Police, fire and
rescue workers immediately evacu-
ated runners and spectators from
the finish line area and established
a perimeter to preserve the crime
scene. Authorities used television,
radio and Internet to warnthe public
of other possible bombs. They urged
locals to return to their homes and
visitors to stay in their hotel rooms.
The bravery and quick responses
of these individuals saved lives and
avoided a city-wide panic. Addition-
ally, it was reported that doctors
who had just completed the mara-
thon jumped into action to treat the
wounded near the finish line.
We can never sufficiently praise
the work and courage of our first
responders. These acts of heroism by
everyday citizens show the strength
and courage of the American people.
Many rushed to donate blood to vic-
tims of the attack. Organizations
and individuals have already pub-
lically pledged support and aid to
families and the Boston community.
The War on Terror is
far from over and
Though it's still unclear who is
responsible for Monday's attacks,
the Boston Marathon bombings
have confirmed two things: The
war on terror is far from over and
our opponents are not freedom
fighters, but cowards. They are
cowards who attack civilians with
hidden bombs on public sidewalks
to try to prove America isn't invin-
cible. They employ fear to disrupt
our daily lives and shake us from
our morals and beliefs, but America
will overcome this.
Though we may never be com-
pletely safe when attending a game
at the Big House or using pub-
lic transportation, the American
people won't falter in the face of
these senseless killings. We won't
let these acts of terror disrupt our
lives and let these individuals win.
Instead, we will unite and support
the Boston community and re-
dedicate ourselves to fighting this
evil in' our world. The worst and
the best of humanity was on display
Monday, and I have no doubt that
the will of the American people will
- Timothy Burroughs can be
reached at email@example.com.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Eric Ferguson, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet, Sam Mancina,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata,
Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth,
Daniel Wang, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
NATE SMITH |
The exceptions prove the rule
As I write this, I'm still transfixed by cov-
erage of the horrific bombing in my home-
town of Boston. The only word I can think of
to describe it is heartbreaking. High profile,
yes - the Boston Marathon is one of the most
well known of its kind, attracting runners
from some 96 different countries this year.
lut much more importantly, the Boston Mar-
athon is inclusive.
It's as much about the spectators as it is about
the runners: Families and friends from all over
the city, state, country and world arrive with
homemade signs, cheering on their runners,
then sticking around to cheer on all the other
runners. They hand out water, Gatorade, Mylar
blankets and anything else they think will help.
Everyone smiles at everyone else on Marathon
Monday, because we all know this is why we're
here: to have fun with strangers. Withering
Boston sarcasm - a local delicacy - is sup-
planted by an almost surreal level of goodwill
toward visitors and natives alike.
Our yearly athletic bacchanalia, a veritable
celebration of visitors in a city not always
known for its approachable strangers - this
is the rule. The exception is what happened
on Monday, April 15. It's important to remem-
ber just how exceptional it was, too. As the
oldest yearly marathon in the world, the Bos-
ton Marathon dates back to 1897 and has been
a remarkably peaceful celebration since.
The exception is a cowardly act: taking
lives away from the innocent and legs away
from those who valued them most. The rule
is brave, inspiring individuals who run whole
marathons not because they're natural ath-
letes, but because they're raising money for
charity in memory of a loved one.
The exception is little kids scared because
their parents are scared, the uncertainty in
those terrifying first few minutes almost -
but not quite - inducing panic on Boylston
Street. The rule is hundreds of heroic first
responders, trained and otherwise, who ran
toward the scene of the bombing instead of
away, making tourniquets out of lanyards and
saving countless lives.
The exception is streets choked with
ambulances and emergency room doctors
pulling ball bearings out of ruined limbs. The
rule is streets full of local Bostonians, offer-
ing cell phones, water, jackets, rooms for the
night, Internet access or just hugs. The rule
is doubling down on the spirit of the Boston
Marathon, to make sure locals and out-of-
towners are taken care of.
The exception, lest anyone forget, is anger,
hatred, accusation and speculation about who
might have done such a thing. The excep-
tion is lashing out without knowledge, out of
anger and fear. The rule is justice: Patience as
law enforcement is allowed to methodically
investigate, and compassion as citizens and
visitors comfort one another.
Some will say that the Boston Marathon
has lost its innocence, that the heightened
security will undermine the spirit of com-
munity that has become the hallmark of
Marathon Monday. But this was never about
innocence - let's face it, innocence has never
been a good look for Boston. It's abort a small
community that decided 117 years ago to pick
one of the first warm days of the year to open
its arms to visitors from around the globe.
Extra security won't change that, just like
a cowardly attack won't change it - these
things are the exceptions, and sometimes the
exceptions prove the rule.
Nate Smith is a Public Policy graduate student.
the The Justice League: The University of Michigan prides
itself on being one of the most diverse schools in the
pod j** nation. But is that really true? To read more from Yash,
od ugo to michigandaily.com/blog/podium.
Last Friday, the University hosted
the K-Grams Kids Fair at the Cliff
Keen Arena and Intramural Sports
Building. Hundreds of elementary
school kids crowded the buildings
to meet their University-student pen
pals and share educational activi-
ties. When I entered to find Robert,
the Ypsilanti fourth grader I have
been writingto all year, I was imme-
diately swarmed by a group of his
classmates, asking me if I knew Jill
or Gina or Emily and if they were
coming today. The kids were over-
joyed to meet their pen pals and
excited to be in a new space, asking
questions and spewing information
to me about the activities they had
participated in earlier.
After talking to Robert for half
an hour, I found out that this was
the only field trip he and his class
were taking all year - less than
15 minutes away from his school.
I asked him why they didn't take
more trips. He said, "Do you know
how expensive it is to take field
trips? It's $600!"
I felt a sudden shock of reality.
Why did a fourth grader know how
expensive it was to take a field trip?
And why is learning outside of the
classroom such a privilege? At the
developmental stage of an elemen-
tary school child, it's important to
be motivated throughout the learn-
ing process, and field trips are a
great outlet. K-Grams is an amaz-
ing opportunity and one of the
most meaningful things that will
happen to these kids all year. But it
shouldn't be that way. It's important
for kids to have frequent exposure
to learning outside the classroom in
order to develop healthy life skills.
Money shouldn't be hampering
educational field trips. According
to an article by U.S. Newswire, "To
meet the higher academic stan-
dards set for them, children must
have access to avarietyof enriching
activities so that learning extends
beyond the classroom walls and
the traditional school day." The
article goes on to say, "Governors,
states and communities must work
together to weave a seamless web of
learning opportunities for children.
Doing so will ensure that children
can grow into adults who have a
better chance to succeed."
On Monday, April 15 Michi-
gan Gov. Rick Snyder announced
the opposite. He said as a result of
federal budget cuts there will be
losses in allowances for low-income
children as well as a $54-million
cut in the funding of after-school
programs, special education, and
career and technical education
programs..This is a great example
of what we shouldn't be doing in
Michigan public schools. Instead
of cutting funding that can help our
public schools foster learning out-
side of the classroom and getting
kids interested in future careers,
we should be putting money into
education that helps youths feel
connected and interested. When
kids drop out of high school several
years down the road because they
feel disconnected and unimport-
ant, it only perpetuates the current
trends of crime, poverty and lack of
Privileged families can afford to
send their kids to private schools,
many of which focus on learning
outside of the classroom and devel-
oping the whole person, while fam-
ilies who are barely making ends
meet- are at the mercy of Snyder
when he decides to cut after school
programs. It's important to get our
kids engaged in learning outside
of the classroom at a young age.
Developmentally speaking, it can
only help them in the future.
Using money as an excuse to not
allow our public school children to
explore the outside world is ridicu-
lous. We should be allocating our
federal money differently. Early edu-
cation is the key to a lot of our soci-
etal problems. We should be doing
more than mitigating these social
problems, such as crime and poverty.
We have the power to take a proac-
tive stance to stopping these societal
issues through getting kids involved
in learning at an early age.
Maura Levine is an LSA sophomore.
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