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November 04, 2014 - Image 4

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Page 4 -- Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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Page 4- Tuesday, November 4, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom *

C 1 Mitlhinan 4F{
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
PETERSHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
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.
Crossingtheaisle

I've been to more Republican campaign
events that I can reasonably recall. Hav-
inginterned and volunteered for ahandful
of local candidates, I'm used
to the large crowds amped up
on the idea that, after Elec-
tion Day, society might begin
to change for the better.
I'm also the last person
you'd expect to find at a
Democratic rally featuring
President Barack Obama.
But, three days before VICTORIA
the election, in a crowded NOBLE
gym filled with cheering
supporters for Michigan's
bluest candidates, that's exactly where I was.
I watched passionate devotees erupt with
hope and excitement as candidates promised
wider access to quality education, middle
class-centric policies, a better economy with a
booming job market and a fairer government
less controlled by special interests. At several
pointsinthespeech,Iwastemptedtosmile and
cheer with the crowd - though my yellow press
pass and frequent self-reminders to maintain a
journalist's fagade of impartiality (hopefully)
prevented those reactions.
For a good portion of each candidate's and,
subsequently, Obama's speech, the focus was
on issues and policies that consistently poll
favorably among most Americans, regardless
of political orientation. At several moments,
if someone had told me Obama's words were
actually those spoken by his presidential oppo-
nent two years ago, I would've believed them.
As normal, rational citizens, there are just
certain things we can all get behind. The real
economic progress described by Obama really
isn't so divisive. And I'm fairly sure that leaders
valuing the "hard work and responsibility that
the ordinary people they represent take with
them every single day when they go to the job,"
appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle.
Yet, Obama made a concerted effort to'
differentiate Democratic candidates from their
Republican opponents. He did this by painting
them as anti-family, anti-worker and anti-
women. He conflated and (unfairly) compared,
even quoting, sans context, an unidentified
Republican candidate, who said, "You could
argue that money is more important for men."
After a quick Google search, I found that the
quote was given by the Assistant Majority
Leader of the Wisconsin state Senate Glenn
Grothman in 2012.
Obama was giving a campaign speech in
front of a base of supporters, not an address to
the nation, and firing up the crowd just domes
with the territory. Sometimes making dramatic
statements is the best way to do that. But, in
a few days, the election will be over. Those
feelings, that animosity stirred by aggravating
statements pitting leaders against their
constituents won't fade just because one party
or the other has decisively won.

In one part of his speech, Obama focused
on the progress that this state has recently
realized. But, instead of properly giving credit
tc the swaths ofpolicymakers at everylevelwho
contributed to these impressive improvements,
he politicized it.
"Despite the unyielding opposition of folks
on the other side, there are workers who have
jobs today who didn't have them before," he
said. "There are auto plants that got shifts that
weren't there before."
The tension that characterizes the
relationship between Republican and
Democratic parties, especially at the national
legislative level, is undeniable. But even so, any
assertion that either party alone is responsible
for Michigan's economic recovery, or that one
side accomplished it in spite of the other, is
unequivocally false.
Obama and the Democrats certainly aren't
alone in their use of dichotomous and partisan
language. But, when Obama was campaigning
in2008,he characterizedhimselfas abipartisan
leader, so his move toward divisiveness in
this election is particularly disappointing.
One quote was particularly condescending
and off-putting.
"Republicans are good people, they're
patriots. They love their country ... But they've
got bad ideas," he said. "And I always try to
explain - look, I've got members of my family
who I love and have bad ideas. I still love them.
I just wouldn't put them in charge."
Ironically, so many of both parties' ideals,
if not the ideas themselves, are strikingly
similar. And that's not to say that there aren't
differences - there are. But effective policy
will draw from both parties' platforms - it's
what our government was designed to do.
By characterizing Republicans so negatively
now, it only reduces the prospects of
future cooperation.
A few weeks ago, I listened to University
Regent Kathy White give atalk on leadership.
One lesson she gave really stuck in my mind:
there's no limit to what you can accomplish
if you don't care who gets credit. It's
abundantly clear that Michigan's economic
recovery is the result of interplay between
Republican and Democratic ideas. Instead
of highlighting their differences, leaders
from both parties should recognize that
real, continued progress will require serious,
pragmatic collaboration - not opportunistic
criticism aimed at winning votes.
In a few days, the competition will be over.
It will be time to put aside the differences,
forget the negative advertisements and move
past antagonizing words. But, no matter
who is elected, our new leaders will have a
responsibility to focus on the most important
thingboth partieshaveincommon:the people
they serve.
- Victoria Noble can be reached
at vjnoble@umich.edu.

r

Seeking refuge in a strange land
M y arm was beginning private organizations providing tage for one which they'd only seen
to fatigue, but I dared vocational, settlement and through the glass of a television set.
not move for fear of the therapeutic services for Michigan's Bravely, they made their way
microphone pick- sizable refugee population, which through the Middle East onward to
ing up some sort in the 2011 fiscal year amounted Europe, across the Atlantic, first to
of grainy interfer- to 2,587 people. Over the past Canada, and then later across the
ence that would decade, Michigan has accepted border to Michigan, where family
ruin my audio. the entry of 23,547 refugees from members in Metro Detroit housed
With every invol- an estimated 49 countries into its them before they received enough
untary, sinewy borders, a number higher than money through philanthropic
twitch, I felt the any other state in the Midwest donation to settle in Lansing.
joints in my elbow AUSTIN except Minnesota. Although they don't reside in the
and wrist sort of A According to data from 2011, best of neighborhoods, the woman
click before lock- DAVS some 8,802 refugees who have told me, at least there is no immedi-
ing up again in a entered Michigan in the past year ate threat of car bombs or gunfire.
new position. I have hailed from Iraq; on a national I do not tell this woman's story
took a deep breath and tried to sup- scale, about 20 percent of refugees to evoke sympathy for her or her
press the dull ache. I didn't want to coming to the United States from circumstances, nor do I do it to put a
break contact with her eyes. Iraq choose to come to Michigan for face on the thousands of refugees in
I couldn't understand a word asylum, most likely due to the dense Michigan who attempt to assimilate
she was saying, but I could feel the Arabic population surrounding the to an American life without first
emotion pouring out of her, travel- Detroit area. For those seeking a being given psychological services
ing up from her depths and mate- better life, Michigan is an attractive to cope with the pain they've
rializing itself in the brimming resettlement location. already experienced.
tears hanging on to the bottom of The woman described above is I tell this woman's story as one
her lids. Her voice quivered and one such refugee. She is a native which I hope will humble those
vacillated between light and dark Iraqi who fled her homeland with who read it, who will appreciate
inflections, from a quiver to a sinis- her family only a few short years the pain this woman has endured
ter, shrill, almost piercing screech. after the U.S. invasion in 2003; the and the strength she has displayed
Her face twisted with the confus- sectarian violence that had already in swallowing that pain against
ing mix of feeling accompanied by plagued Iraq, coupled with rising hardship in order to attempt to
each memory; a smile would begin political violence between Iraqi provide her loved ones with a life
to appear, but would be halted by and American soldiers, became too here in the United States - a place
the progression of anguish creeping unsafe an environment for her and where she believed they would have
its way into her countenance. Like a her family. more opportunity and autonomy
movie reel, her story replayed itself I later came to find out through in their lives as compared to that
in vivid projections in her mind. the aid of a translator who accom- experienced in their native land.
She was speaking Arabic, and I panied me to the interview that I tell her story because, despite
couldn't understand a single word she'd been recounting the moment the toil that life can have, the
she was saying - yet somehow, I in which she decided to flee Iraq: depression for which it can be a
had understood exactly what she due to a misunderstanding by mili- catalyst, or the crippling doubt of
was attempting to convey: pure, tary officials, her family's home - a choices made that accompanies
unadulterated pain. farm house built by her grandfather the former and the latter, at least
About ayear and ahalf ago, during which had since housed her family there is some form of choice in
the time in which I was interning at - was burned to the ground, along this country to change one's
the NPR member station, Michigan with all the family's material pos- circumstances without having to
Radio, I was given an assignment sessions. Nobody sustained physi- seek refuge in a strange land. With
covering a refugee women's group cal injury in the arson;however, the midterm elections upon us, it's
based out of Lansing supported by prospect of what may have occurred critical to keep this in mind.

funds from St. Vincent Catholic
Charities. Since the 1970s, St.
Vincent's has been one of many

given different circumstances was
enough to scare her family into
abandoning their country of heri-

- Austin Davis can be reached
at austchan@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Devin Eggert, David Harris, Rachel John, Jordyn Kay, Aarica
Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Allison Raeck,
Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman,
Mary Kate Winn, Jenny Wang, Daniel Wang,, Derek Wolfe
Girl-on-girl crime

I

White privilege? Hail yes
bite privilege is a set of privileges dards set upon them due to their race.
that white people experience, 8. They do not question if the reason
while non- they got accepted here was because of
white people of the their race.
same social, political 9. Their parents did not have to tell
or economic status do them about the systematic racism they will
not. Many things white experience in college and in life beyond.
individuals experience 10. No one is surprised if they tell him/
are easily taken for her about their high test scores and/or GPA in
granted, but that is a high school.
primary factor in being 11. They can outwardly support
privileged by a system RENNIE affirmative action without their opinion
that favors the white race. PASQUINELLI being attributed to their race.
A common misconception 12. They can be reassured that the
about white privilege is person in charge of their school is someone of
that it is a direct attack on a specific white their race, and always has been.
person's success or failure. The inherent 13. If they make a mistake in a group
privilege of white people is not a blame game, assignment, their race will not be pinpointed
but rather just a term to highlight the system as the reason why.
itself. Here are 20 ways that white people 14. They can be late to appointments or
- including myself - are privileged at the meetings withoutit being blamed on their race.
University of Michigan and other settings. 15. Other white people's use of the
1. They can be pretty sure there will n-word doesn't affect them.
be someone of the same race as they are in 16. They do not have to worry that the
any class they are in. way they dress, or even just their skin color,
2. Walking around campus, they do will make them a more susceptible target to
not have to actively search for somebody of law enforcement.
the same race. 17. If they are walking alone at night, no
3. They are not stared at in class when one is (consciously or subconsciously) fearful
the conversation of race comes up. of them.
4. They get to study people of their 18. Theycan go to the CVS or Walgreens
race doing groundbreaking and important on State Street and find Band-Aids that match
things in their textbooks. their skin color.
5. If they wanted to, they could spend 19. Iftheyare atall and strongmale,oth-
time with only people of their race whenever ers do not automaticallyassume theyare on the
they so choose. basketball or football team.
6. They do not have to be nervous 20. Somebody didn't dress up as their
about being one of the only, if not the only, race or ethnicity for Halloween last weekend.
person of their race in their dorm's hall.
7. No one ever assumes that they got - Rennie Pasquinelli can be
into the University because of lower stan- reached at renpasq@umich.edu.
1

've never been a huge Renee
Zellweger fan. Maybe it was
her character in "Chicago,"
in which she
plays a mousy,
manipulative
and popularity-
hungry girl. Or
maybe it was
because I never
got in to the whole
"Bridget Jones's
Diary" fad. But
regardless of my LEVINE
preconceived
notions about
this tiny blonde actress, I would
never wish upon anyone the kind
of agony and humiliation she is
currently enduring.
Despite her statements saying
she doesn't mind that the press
is abuzz with chatter about her
"new look," I can tell she must be
hurt. How could she not? Recently
"legitimate" media outlets (i.e. not
tabloids) have been chock-full of
pictures of Zellweger, comparing
her face from what it looked like in
the past to how it looks now, which
is apparently "unrecognizable"
and therefore newsworthy. These
images went viral over the past
couple of weeks, and it seemed as
though everyone had something
to say about how this 45-year-
old woman looks. I'm not only
disgusted and embarrassed for her
but also ashamed of our country
for portraying a woman in such a
light. Why are we not celebrating
her recent book? Instead we are too

obsessed with the body and face of
a woman first and foremost. God
forbid we peek into her intellect
without first examining her
physical appearance. To me this
incident says a lot about how we
treat women in America.
I'm not a fan of plastic surgery
personally, but I can understand
how it could make some people
feel more confident about their
bodies. Admittedly, plastic surgery
embodies everything anti-feminist
in my mind, but if it empowers
any particular woman to feel more
confident, then I refuse to judge
her choice to change her body. If it
will make her still feel sexy as she
ends her youth and enters middle
age, then so be it. Throughout the
past couple of weeks, media outlets
have been hounding Zellweger,
talking about different procedures
she must have had done in order to
look a certain way. Her response
was, "I'm glad folks think I look
different! I'm living a different,
happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm
thrilled that perhaps it shows."
If your best friend said this after
you noticed she looked different,
wouldn't you be happy for her?
Wouldn't you stop wondering what
she did differently (if she didn't
want to tell you) and just be happy
that she feels positively about
herself? I'm not saying Zellweger
is any of our best friends but we
should still cut her a little slack.
I'll admit we can't deny that we see
a difference in Zellweger's look.
That would be denying our human

nature to notice details. But human
nature doesn't dictate the nasty
comments that have ensued since
pictures surfaced. If she chooses
to look a certain way, she should be
allowed to. If she is aging gracefully
or not, depending on your opinion,
it doesn't really matter because
apparently Zellweger herself thinks
that her life is more fulfilling. She's
now more comfortable with her
body. It's like that scene in "Mean
Girls" where Tina Fey's teacher
character Ms. Norbury tells the girls
in the gym, "There's been some girl-
on-girl crime here." The way women
are caring about Zellweger's new
look exemplifies that.
In America women are expected
to look youthful and sexy, otherwise
they aren't considered beautiful.
That idea stays in place until they get
too old. Then the tables are turned,
and you're no longer supposed to look
youthful, vivacious or sexy anymore.
Women,whetherornotthey're inthe
public eye, are expected to embody
the modestly dressed, conserva-
tive grandmother once they reach
middle age. With sex appeal gone, it .
seems our culture rejects women for
everything except being good home-
makers or wise maternal figures. But
women aren't just their sex appeal
or their wise brain. Women can stay
sexy well into middle age so long as
they feel confident and comfortable.
That's exactly what Renee Zellweger
is doing, and I applaud her for it.
- Maura Levine can be reached
at mtoval@umich.edu.

We built the beehive, but to see all the bees
coming and going and being active is exciting."
- Architect David Childs said while watching office employees move into One
World Trade Center in New York City Monday morning, a building he designed.

a

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