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January 22, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-01-22

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4A - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com *.

4A - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom *


CIe midigan wily

In each other we trust

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.
Insuring cooperation
New state department should boost economy
Gov. Rick Snyder wasted no time in taking action after his State of
State address on Wednesday evening. On Thursday, Snyder signed an
executive order creating the Department of Insurance and Financial
Service. Through the creation of this department, Snyder hopes to make Mich-
igan's insurance and financial services a bigger policy focus. The governor's
interest in moving the department to cabinet-level indicates an attempt at dif-
fusing party lines, which is a particularly encouraging shift in light of Decem-
ber's lame-duck session in the state legislature. By continuingto work with both
parties, Snyder can strengthen the path to economic recovery in Michigan.

I stand
waiting to see
President Barack
Obama's second
I'm thinking
about God. It's
hard not to, even
if I'm not sure
if I necessarily
believe in him.
Religious refer-
ences are every-
where, from
the Washington Mo
Rotundaofthe U.S.
a sense, the inaugur
is religious too - wi
uttering, "So help m
hand is placed on th
This inaugurati
for multiple reason
years since the Em
lamation and 50 ys
Have a Dream sp
Luther King Jr. In h
ral address, former
ham Lincoln mentio
and referenced the
in a mere 701-word
speech is considere
second-term inaug
all time.
King's speeche
quote, "Free at la
Thank God Almigh
last!" On Monday,
oath with his hand
one owned by Linc'
byKing. Eventheth
inauguration was "F
Future," according
Schumer (D-NY),1
the Inauguration C
in God, I'm assumin
But what doesC
20 percent of Ame
believe in God? And
ple like me, oneof
who doubt the exist
whole idea of God
politics makes me

GTON - As I've grown up under the assumption
among the that the church and state should be
of people eagerly separate. America is a predominant-
ly Christian nation, yes, but it just
felt odd to be surrounded by a con-
cept I can't fully grasp in an intense-
ly political setting. But in the United
States, we place such a high value
on morals, and that comes through
in many social policies and expec-
tations of politicians. And religion
is intrinsically intertwined with
ADRIENNE morality. It seems unlikely that this
ROBERTS will ever change.
For many people that braved the
crowds Monday to stand within a
nument to the long mile of the president, this so-
Capitol. And in called "faith" we're supposed to have
ation ceremony in America's future not only comes
ththe president from God, but also from the presi-
ie God" as his dent. He's our leader and the figure-
.e Bible. head of our nation. He's a political
on is significant "God" in a sense. Obama has drawn
ns. It's been 150 huge crowds to his speeches since
ancipation Proc- his debut on the political scene.
ears since the "I Hell, they were even selling Obama
eech by Martin condoms on the streets of D.C. He's
is second inaugu- a star. And with that power comes
President Abra- a specific rhetoric: one filled with
ned God 14 times emotion and promises - promises of
Bible four times a better life for all Americansathat his
speech. Lincoln's administration will make possible.
d one of the best But Monday revealed a different
ural speeches of sort of political rhetoric from Obama.
He hardly used the word "I," a word
ended with the so many politicians use on a very fre-
st! Free at last! quent basis. He mentioned God, but
ty, we are free at it was only in passing, and the word
Obama'took his didn't have the same meaning as it
Is on two Bibles: did in Lincoln or King's speeches.
oln and the other Instead, the president's inaugural
eme ofthis year's speech focused on "We the People"
aith in America's and the still ambiguous concept
to Sen. Charles of equality - equality for "our gay
the chairman of brothers and sisters," equality for
,ommittee. Faith citizens forced to "wait for hours
g. to exercise their right to vote" and
God mean to the immigrants who "still see America as
ricans that don't aland of opportunity."
I what about peo- That is, Obama said, "our genera-
nany millennials tion's task."
ence of God? The Not his task, not the government's
playing a role in responsibility,notGod'swill. It'scom-
uncomfortable. pletely up to us, as citizens, to have

hope in each other. We must have
faith in every citizen, from the people
on Medicaid to the wealthy few.
It wasn't just about Obama tak-
ing an oath to the country and God
on Monday. Inaugural ceremonies
are inherently religious, and this one
certainly had the potential to take
that a step further and draw on the
prolific and often religious remarks
of Lincoln and King.
Hell, they were
even selling
Obama condoms.
In a nation filled with references
to God, Obama wants us to take an
oath to each other instead, an oath
to make equality a reality for mil-
lions of Americans who are still not
treated as equals as promised.under
the Constitution. It's not about hav-
ing faith in God or a certain higher
power necessarily. It's about having
faith in the person standing next to
you - your neighbor - but mostly
it's people you've never met and will
never know. Because when you have
faith that Americans all want the
same thing, the same basic principles
outlined in the Constitution, we can
trust. one another and treat each
other as equals.
Regardless of whether you believe
God gave us the rights and freedoms
we have today,they must be "secured
by his people here on Earth." Obama
is urging us, the American people, to
work with him to make his goals a
reality. Because the truth is, much of
what happens in the next four years
is in many ways out of his control.
He knows this. And that truth might
just be scarier and more intimidat-
ing than blindly placing your trust in
something beyond yourself.
- Adrienne Roberts can be
reached at adrirobe@umich.edu.

According to a Jan. 18. article in the Detroit
Free Press, the new department will take
over the functions of the Office of Financial
and Insurance Regulation, which was previ-
ously under the Department of Licensing and
Regulatory affairs. The department will take
effect 60 days after the executive order was
signed. The creation of this new department
is a positive step for Michigan's economy.
Currently, the state's insurance and finan-
cial industries generate $9 billion in payroll
and employ about 150,000 people. Through
job creation and regulation of the insurance
industry, the implementation of the Depart-

ment of Insurance and Financial Services
should boost these numbers.
The new department is also a symbolic
gesture for the state. Large protests in Lan-
sing last month demonstrated that Michigan
residents aren't interested in more partisan
pushing in the'state legislature. The creation
of the department shows Snyder is thinking
beyond party rules and is willing to work with.
both sides of the aisle to improve the state's
economy. Moving past December's lame-duck
session, the governor should continue this
bipartisan approach to problem-solving and
engage both Democrats and Republicans.

Straighten priorities, not roads
Snyder misplaces $1 billion in Michigan roads
I n his State of the State address on Jan. 16, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
kept his goals low to the ground, proposing a $1.2-billion investment in
road repairs and updated infrastructure. While there's little doubt that
Michigan's roads are in poor shape and need improvement, the governor's
proposed investment places undue emphasis on traditional infrastructure
rather than more innovative transportation. Snyder's costly proposition also
overlooks nmore pressing services that desperately need funding - including

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Derek Wolfe
The brink of a new beginning *

In the days following his annual address,
Snyder took to the streets to gain support for
his infrastructure proposal, elaborating on
the details of his billion-dollar plan. Repair-
ing Michigan's bridges and highways are a
high priority in Snyder's proposal, which will
likely be funded through increases in vehicle
registration fees and the gas tax. "We need to
invest more in our roads," the governor said in
Wednesday's address. "It's time."
While the state's roads do need a facelift,
this high-priced investment overlooks the
more pressing need of public transportation
spending. On Jan. 19, Transportation Secre-
tary Ray LaHood announced federal support
for Detroit's planned light rail, promising $25
million for the M-1 project. While the federal
funding is valuable, the entire project - a 3.3-

mile rail along Woodward Avenue - is slated to
cost $140 million. Snyder's emphasis on roads,
rather than public transit, should be refocused
to connect Michigan's cities.
The large price tag attached to Snyder's road
project could also be appropriated to areas
more pressed for funding. Funding for higher
education was only briefly mentioned in the
governor's address. As state funding for public
colleges and universities continues to decline,
conversation needs to be directed towards sup-
porting Michigan's education after a decade of
divestment. Road infrastructure certainly war-
rants funding, but a $1.2-billion investment is
excessive in the face of rising tuition rates. If
Snyder is truly the "nerd" he claims to be, the
governor should redirect his attention from
roads to fostering innovation and learning.

God bless
I almost wish I hadn't stayed for Beyonce -
While not quite as congested as the 2009
inauguration that brought nearly two million
people to the National Mall, the 2013 inaugura-
tion and its 800,000 attendants was still a sight
to see. To put it simply, in about a seven-hour
span I was able to experience the best and worst
of the United States.
Bless the crowd.
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) noted the
words of writer Alex Haley before President
Barack Obama took the oath: "Find the good
and praise it." So I will.
Standing within the peaceful mob can be
described as nearly euphoric. Where else in the
world can you find almost one million citizens
willingly watching a leader transfer power to
himself?Over the past couple ofyears,the news
has been filled with riots of angry people across
the globe wanting their leaders taken down -
not here.
How many other countries take a day to for-
get about the problems in politics and celebrate
its values? Not many. Though this day is for
Obama, he reminded me that it's really about
America, about "We, the people" - which he
used to begin many sections of his speech. And
seeing "the people" right in front of me made
his words come to life. It was powerful and
while hundreds of thousands waved red, white
and blue flags, I felt proud to be an American.
The camaraderie surrounding the event made
it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But in the same breath: Curse the crowd.
Trying to leave the Mall after Beyonce's
rousing rendition of "The Star Spangled Ban-
ner" was a nightmare, but still I have no regrets
about staying. The magic that had filled the air
throughout the ceremony disappeared faster

than the Russian spies who were probably
there. Well, maybe not quite as fast.
For some reason, security blocked off nearly
every viable pathway to all but one of the clos-
est subway stops. Combine that with the hun-
dreds of thousands of people who had no idea
where they were going- tourists, I guess - and
you've got yourself a disaster.
Everywhere I turned, I encountered an
officer who said we had to turn around and go
somewhere else. I asked one officer for direc-
tions but he dismissed me with a "Have a nice
day; keep going" and kept eating his snack. It
felt like a video game. Just mere minutes after
being inspired by our president's message on
how the future of United States is about us, I
had lost a little faith in us. Or at least our logisti-
cal abilities.
Regardless of the frustration in my depar-
ture, inauguration weekend in Washington
D.C. allowed me, and the crowd, to do what
most others around the country could not do:
experience democracy.
From visiting memorials and meeting my
congressman to the inauguration ceremony
itself, I was able to see that the leaders we've
elected do exist - it's not all a dream, even
though sometimes I wish it were.
While my feelings towards the crowd were
the strongest love-hate relationship I've experi-
enced, it made the whole event special. It's nice
to know that I'm not the only one who supports
Obama and the country as a whole. It felt like
a microcosm of America with people of all dif-
ferent races, creeds and backgrounds filling up
the mall.
I renewed my patriotism in America this
weekend. And my love for Beyonce. Bless her.
Derek Wolfe is an LSA freshman.

Four years ago today, I left
Washington D.C. after
watching the completion of
a dream I never
thought possible.
It was a journey
that no matter
how many times
I chanted "Yes
we can," deep
down inside, I
felt like it never
was going to PATRICK
actually come MAILLET
true. I thought
someone, some-
how would stop President Barack
Obama from taking the most sacred
of oaths. Four years ago, I left our
nation's capital feeling more hope-
ful and optimistic about both Amer-
ica's future and the state of our
democratic system as it once again
exemplified to the world the true
awesomeness of a peaceful transi-
tion of power.
ThoughI stood in the same spot as
I did four years ago, I now find myself
in a very different place. Facing new
obstacles, rising to new tasks, and
looking onto a brighter and more-
defined future:
On Monday, I sat on the steps
of the U.S. Capitol and once again
watched President Obama raise his
hand above the Bible as Chief Justice
John Roberts reiterated the presi-
dential oath of office. I listened as
Obama outlined the path of his next
four years as president and was left
speechless and teary-eyed by the end
of his address.
Once again, I find myself more
hopeful than ever about America's
future, but this time I feel less naive,
better focused and more aware of
not only the challenges that America
faces, but also the solutions that will
lift us over the obstacles of tomorrow.
President Obama began his sec-
ond term as president on Monday,
and he did so by telling America and
the rest of the world exactly what
he's looking to achieve within these
next four years.
After a campaign season that
never brought up the issue of global

warming, Obama at long last con-
fronted the ever-growing issues of
climate change. Many Obama sup-
porters, including myself, were
beginning to worry that his adminis-
tration had fallen prey to the age-old
theory that economic development
cannot be achieved hand-in-hand
with environmental protection.
Instead, Obama declared boldly
that our economy can and should be
built upon renewable energy and
a sustainable future. While our oil
addiction continues and fracking has
become a standard practice through-
out the country, we'll have to make
tough decisions with regards to trad-
ing economic gain for environmen-
tal protection. We can't forget our
responsibility to future generations,
and Obama made it clear that he
wasn't planning on doing so within
his second term..
Although he swore to pass serious
immigration reform within his first
term, Obama shelved this campaign
promise like many others, instead
passing much-needed economic leg-
islation and his signature healthcare
overhaul. Yesterday, Obama declared
that America must finally reform
its immigration policy along with
restructuring our visa system to keep
educated and motivated foreigners in
our country.
Finally, Obama confirmed what
he stated with his recent gun bill:
Gun control must be at the fore-
front of today's political agenda.
While he did not go into exacts, he
made it clear that a major gun con-
trol reform is coming and that the
deaths of 20 children in Newtown,
Conn. and countless other gun vic-
tims throughout the country will,
not have been in vain. .
From tax code overhaul and defi-
cit reduction to investing in educa-
tion and reforming voting rights,
Obama discussed a nultitude of
tasks that the United States faces.
However, although often criticized
for his professorial rhetoric and an
apparent lack of reality, Obama's
speech yesterday was extremely
realistic and bold, yet grounded.
Four years ago today, I felt

inspired and ready for the challeng-
es ahead of me. I was 17 years old,
didn't know what college I would
attend or what my future entailed.
I left Washington D.C. in 2009
inspired but unsure of what was
before me. America was at a simi-
lar point. Many Americans were
hopeful, yet our economy was in
free-fall. We were plagued with two
wars, and some people were begin-
ning to question the very future of
the United States.
I find myself
more hopeful
than ever about
America's future.
Four years later, I leave Washing-
ton D.C. once again, but this time
in a completely different way. I still
have much to learn and my future is
far from obvious, but I understand
what I have to do in order to achieve
my goals and career aspirations.
America is at a similar point. We
have seen the bottom and we have
rallied around crisis and catastro-
phe. Our future is still very unsure,
but now we know what needs to be
done; we know the sacrifices and
choices that must be made.
Four years from now, we'll watch
as the 45th president of the United
States is sworn in. Who knows
exactly where we will be as a coun-
try when this takes place? Regard-
less of whether we can predetermine
these exacts, we can definitely try
and predict. I believe America's
brightest days are before it. This
belief isn't based on blind optimism
or naive hope; it's based on the con-
viction of President Obama and the
long list of objectives laid out that if
achieved, will help guide this coun-
try into the future.
- Patrick Maillet can be
reached at maillet@umich.edu.



It's not "conservatism" that creates the stigma surrounding
the Republican Party, but cultural misunderstandings.
Micheal Swain explores this fallacy in "Seeing Red."
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium



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