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July 31, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-07-31

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Wdnesday, July 31, 1995 - The Michigan Daily - 5

iXon s gone, but
not very quiet
I was excited to hear about the recent New
Yorker article regarding Richard Nixon's thoughts
on the election of President Clinton. Monica
Crowley, an assistant of Nixon during the last
years of his life, kept a diary of some of the con-
versations and interactions
between the two individuals.
t week, the New Yorker
lished the article Crowley
wrote about Nixon's opinions
of President Clinton and the
1992 campaign.
Other than being simply
fascinating, one portion of the
article contained something
that struck me. Apparently,
Nixon was none too pleased GREG
about Clinton's dodging of PARKER
the Vietnam draft. According
Ighe article, Nixon said he thought Clinton was a
oward and a fraud," as well as lacking in integri-
ty and honor for his dodging of the draft. Nixon
said that Clinton "didn't serve his country when it
needed him, so why should we have him serve
when he is ready?" But what put the icing on the
cake, at least for me, was when Nixon said that
Clinton "was no conscientious objector; he was a
selfish, spoiled brat. He made my job so much
harder, and he sent God knows how many men to
their deaths in his place."
0 find incredible irony in the fact that Nixon,
though he eventually pulled American out of
Vietnam, was one of those responsible for pro-
tracting the Vietnam War. Yet he criticized
Clinton for not wanting to fight in probably the
most ludicrous, imperialistic and asinine con-
flict that America has entered in its 220-year his-
Can we blame Clinton, and others like him, for
avoiding fighting in the Vietnam War? Certainly
few want to die, and more importantly, few prob-
want to kill other men. But while one should
Wready to defend one's country, no one (read:
country) should have the right to force a person to
put themselves at risk in a situation like a war, and
no one should have the right to force one human
being to kill another. It's as simple as that.
Of course, if North Vietnam had invaded the
United States on U.S. soil, then maybe we could
question Clinton's behavior had he skipped the
draft. But in the Vietnam War, America was fight-
ing another country's war, regardless of any per-
*ed Domino Theory threat of Communism,
with a capital "C." I won't get into any
Military/Industrial-Complex-Trilateralist conspir-
acy theories explaining the Vietnam War, but to be
blunt, it was unnecessary for the United States to
enter, let alone stay in, the war.
And if one can't trust their government to stop
the senseless killing of young men, as in Vietnam,
then one has to take action on one's own. If this
means assembling en masse and burning the flag
or avoiding being sent to battle yourself, so be it.
Clinton's draft issue may arise again in the
*oming election. Bob Dole, with a rather
impressive war record, might gain some patrio-
tism points over Clinton. But let's not forget that
Clinton beat George Bush in 1992, and Bush him-
self was a war veteran. And it seems that Clinton
has a substantial lead on Dole in the latest polls.
Clinton's ability to beat Bush and lead Dole
may demonstrate an admirable trait of America. It
might show that people that have Nixon-esque
thoughts on Vietnam and the draft might be wan-
i in number, and many people might sympa-
Ae with or support Clinton for his actions dur-
ing Vietnam. Let's hope that both are the case.
-Greg Parker can be reached over
e-mail at glparker@umich.edu.

"We can bring the nation to Michigan - if you
build it, they will come."
- Gov. John Engler speaking at North Campus yesterday.
Engler spoke in reference to the University s new technological
advances, a quest the state is financially supporting.



/At rE o00- p .c =s

Dashed dreams off
the playing field
To the Daily:
I'm an undergraduate student at the
University, undeniably concerned about becom-
ing financially stable, at least for the next year.
When presented with the opportunity to get
involved with the last Olympics of the century, I
jumped at it - a once in a lifetime opportunity,
or so I thought.
This employment opportunity would have
enabled me to go to home and school without
worrying about how I was going to get my books
for the next year. This opportunity also would
have given me pride in saying to my family, "I
don't need any help with paying for school this

However, instead of all the opportunities and
goals I was to receive and accomplish, I was privy
to only one honor: U-M students bringing home
the gold. Instead of celebrating this victory, I'm
packing - being sent home by bus because my
employer is losing money and is unable to pay for
me to remain here.
My determination is to show the Wolverine
spirit by demonstrating leadership and having
people congregate on and around our vendor loca-
tion. I implore the gold-winning U-M swimmers
to participate in an autograph session, showing we
all have the fighting spirit our school is known

Terror and prayer
Sometimes I feel very small.
Like a few weeks ago while I was driving
through a very intense electrical storm in
Wisconsin. The sky lit up with the green glow of
lightning and the clouds moved across the moon
like smoke. The thunder literally trembled right
through me.
Or just a few days ago,
standing on top of a peak
in theiShenandoah moun-
tains in Virginia, looking
down below at an earth so
far below it was invisible
through the high hazy air.
Yes, I felt very small and
very vulnerable and very
insignificant. And over the
last few weeks, that's the
feeling I see sweeping soft- DEAN
ly over the country. BAKOPOULOS
We have suddenly
become a very humble and pious nation. A ter-
rorist attack on U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. A
tragedy in the skies off the coast of Long Island.
And then a deadly explosion in the heart of the
Olympic host, Atlanta. Terror is becoming very
real, and we don't know what to do. Except pray.
After each of these tragedies, President
Clinton extended his prayers for the victims
and their families. After TWA Flight 800
crashed, he stressed the importance of "faith in
God" during troubled times.
The morning after Flight 800 went down,
ABC's "Good Morning America" featured a priest
and a rabbi joined in prayer. They read Psalm 23:
"The Lord is my shepherd," they prayed, "I shall
not want." Americans looked at their TVs, sipping
coffee and slurping cereal, as the two men lit a
candle in memory of the flight victims.
Olympic athletes, officials and fans bowed
their heads in moments of silence in the after-
math of an explosion that took the life of one
woman and injured hundreds more.
And just this past weekend, as I was returning
from a retreat, a week of worship and prayer, I
found myself instinctively bowing my head. The
train I was ready to board had been delayed.
There had been a bomb threat. I prayed.
More than any time in recent years,
Americans are bowing their heads - hoping for
some sense tocome out of the shadows of
We pray and we pray and still none of it
makes sense.
Americans have a favorite phrase at times
like this: "Our thoughts and prayers are with
the victims and their families." Still, to say our
thoughts are with them doesn't seem to make
much sense. "Thoughts" implies some intellec-
tual process of rationalization is at work, and in
tragedies like this one, there is no way to intel-
lectualize an answer or a consolation.
At a large, public and liberal institution like
the University, there are a lot of people who pro-
claim themselves atheists. I know. Many of them
are my friends. And many of them ask me how
any intelligent person can actually believe in
God when such horrible events happen on earth.
My answer is this: How can we not?
These are the horrible things we humans do
to each other. While we often marvel at
humanity's progress, incidents like the Saudi
Arabia tragedy or the possibility of terrorism
on Flight 800 or the Olympic bombing make
us realize just how small and vulnerable and
imperfect we really are.
So we roll our confused eyes heavenward,
wondering just what is there, what higher order
exists to supercede our sometimes senseless and
chaotic existence here on earth. We mumble our
prayers and hope there is someone listening.
- Dean Bakopoulos can be reached
via e-mail at deanc@umich.edu.

By Wiley
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