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July 17, 2000 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-07-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


ILT''S*TEEDIO: O

No
*coverage of
Williams'
victory
TO THE DAILY:
It seems odd that the Daily
would cover Pete Sampras'
imbledon championship in
east week's edition and say not
a word about Venus Williams'
victory.
The reason can't be tim-
ing. She won the day before
he did.
Nor can it be significance,
since both champions made
more than the usual history
with their titles.
So I wonder what the rea-
son was.
Hope you folks can try to
figure it out.
JOHN WOODFORD
EXECUTIVE EDITOR,
MICHIGAN TODAY
University's
arch itectu re
uninspired
TO THE DAILY:
I was pleased to read last
week's editorial "Beautiful
Buildings" (7 10/00) Most
of the newer buildings on
campus look - as the edito-
rial states - as if they've
*een lifted from a cheap
office park or a factory. If
architecture is supposed to
reflect the purpose and goals
of the builder, the
University's buildings project
an image that is unimagina-
tive and uninspired.
Furthermore, the admin-
istration's readiness to tear
own older buildings such as
the Frieze suggests a school
that has little respect for its
own history and tradition.
Faculty. research, and
Send letters to the editor t,
Contact the editors a

programs should be the top
priority, no doubt. But the
University needs to be much
more thoughtful about archi-
tecture. This means respect-
ing and renovating older
buildings and designing new
buildings that project the
strong vision and ideals of
the school.
JEFF KEATING
ALUMNUS
Bush, the
reformer
TO THE DAILY:
Governor George . W.
Bush calls himself "A
Reformer With Results." Yet,
test his rhetoric for accuracy
and you will see that he has
favored polluters and the
wealthy while ignoring the
needs of the majority of
Texans. The state of Texas
under Bush's leadership is
ranked as follows in the fifty
states:
1) I st in percentage of
children withoutt health
insurance
2) 1st in air and svater
pollution
3) 1st in toxic chemical
accidents
4) 3rd in having the most
regressive state tax structure
5) 5th in percentage of
the population living in
poverty
6) 41st in per capita
spending on public education
7) 45th in SAT scores
8) 48th in per capita fund-
ing for public health
Bush's image as a
reformer is clearly a fabricat-
ed one! If this is the environ-
ment that he has cultivated in
Texas as a leader, why would
anyone want him to lead the
entire countrv?

Is George WBush just a little bit of history repeating?
A fter admitting in a New York the sixth and second chiefs, during the wars that shaped their
Times interview last week respectively.The elder Bush recog- generations - Bush as a fighter
that his son is far less foreign poli- nized early that the formula for a pilot in World War II, Adams as a
cy-savvy than Al Gore. some pun- familial presidential legacy starts diplomat during the Revolutionary
dits began to wonder where former with a name, War. From there the Ivy-league
President George Bush's loyalties and like the fathers each took to politics. For
lie. Adams clan Adams that meant serving as an
Nevertheless, old George told before him, ambassador before joining nation-
the newspaper from his his first son al icon George Washington to
Kennebunkport pad that it would- inherited his serve as Vice President. For Bush,
n't be prudent to discount his son name with a whose start in politics led to ser-
this November. After all, old man twist. The vice as an ambassador as well,
Bush says the same fickle popu- key, John things really started to look up
lace that sent him and Bar packing Q u i n c ywhen he latched on to film icon
is once again hungry for change. proved, was a Ronald Reagan to serve as Vice
Yet in all the talk of changing polit- middle name GEOFF President. Starting to see the con-
ical winds, the actual idea of a that set you GAGNON nections?
father-son duo is an old one with apart but a A As the country's second in
rather historic origins. first and last £ .} command, each man harbored
Since John Quincy Adams fol- name that aspirations for the top spot and
lowed his father to the presidency reminded voters of someone else Adams even .grumbled openly
in 1825, no other father-son team - that's exactly what George Jr. about the uselessness of his posi-
has claimed the nation's highest received, in the form of a W. tion. Nevertheless, they both got
office. But that won't stop baseball The connections don't end their turn in the White House and
lovin' George W. Bush from mak- there. In fact they don't even start both were asked to leave after just
ing a run at the oval office this fall there, but rather in Milton, Mass. one term. Before that, though, each
in a bid to restore the family name where George Sr. was born to an man's re-election seemed assured
to the White House mailbox. influential family in 1924 - a vir- after navigating the country
And don't think that George tual stone's throw from Braintree, through foreign squabbles and
and son haven't been taking a few Mass. where the Adams family coming out smelling like roses.
cues from the patriotic Adams was reared. After privileged child- Adams had his X,Y,Z Affair and
family who saw son John Quincy hoods, both elder Adams and papa Bush claimed the Persian Gulf
follow in his father's footsteps as Bush served their country overseas War, yet neither could make their

popularity last through to election
time. Crawling out of the shadows
of their respective predecessors
was tough and both Bush and
Adams attempted to do so with
military buildup - Adams added
three new frigates to the navy!
With all of their dads' similar-
ities, a George Jr. win this fall
could complete the comparisons
between the families. And for a
sure-fire prediction of what a
George Jr. White House would
mean, simply look back to John
Quincy's less than memorable
tenure. Like George W, John Q.
got his start in public service
through his dad before he won the
White House. Branded as a corrupt
politician, the scholarly Adams
(ok, so not every comparison holds
up) returned home after a dismal
term.
So if history, or at least the
Adams family, can tell us one
thing, the most Bush can hope for
with a win this fall is four rocky
years of corruption before a sup-
porting role in Steven Speilberg's
film "Amistad."
- Geoff Gagnon can be
reached via e-mail at
ggagnon(ud;tmich.edt.

Voting with your heart versus voting with your brain

O ne of the most unexpected and
welcome developments on
this campus and across the nation is
the recent resurgence of social
activism. Groups working on
behalf of human and workers rights
have become especially prevalent
and large movements focusing on
the environment, the death penalty,
police brutality and other issues
have also been gaining in promi-
nence recently.
The starkest example of this new
activism is an alliance of groups
who had not previously worked
with each other, such as human
rights activists, environmentalists
and labor unions, over trade and
other economic issues.
Political and social activism
never really went away, of course.
The new activism has been coming
from the left and follows a long
period of conservative dominance
of social activism that saw the rise
of the Christian Coalition and other
right wing organizations.
The liberal groups focus largely
on issues different than the biggest
grassroots players on the right and
not many have yet risen to fight
school prayer or the denial of evo-
lution, but it is good to see the envi-
ronment and workers' concerns

BOB BIRD
HOLLAND, MI

making their way back onto the
national agenda.
The left-leaning activist move-
ment is only in its infancy and will
undoubtedly
face some
problems.
Factory work-
ers and envi-
ronmentalists
are bound to
rmn into trou-
ble with each r
other, for
example. But
the most PETER
important les- CUNNIFFE
son these
groups have _____E_.___
yet to learn is
one the right figured out long ago:
they have to work within the sys-
tem to have any real influence.
Activists of any ideological bent
have to be careful of succumbing to
the belief that most people agree
with them.
Even if you get a majority favor-
ing your issue in a poll, don't
expect a lot of hard work or other
contributions to your cause from
those people and don't expect them
to vote on the basis of that one
issue. For activists to ever have any
actual influence, they
must realize that there is a
time for activism and a
time for pragmatism.
The United States is not
a country of extremes and
people on the ends of the
ideological spectrum
have to make alliances
with those in the middle if
they ever hope to have
Coll

any influence. The right realized
this long ago and decided working
with the established center-right
party was in their best interest.
They dislike the presence of people
like Christine Whitman and Rudy
Giuliani in their party, but have
accepted it as the price for having
their issues on the table.
The agenda on the left faces an
even tougher battle than did the
right's, considering this country's
conservative tilt. But many liberal
activists have nevertheless chosen
to alienate themselves from the
established center-left party.
Claiming if they could just get the
tens of millions of non-voters to the
polls (and ignoring the fact that the
vast majority of voters and non-
voters identify themselves as con-
servatives), they'd be winning land-
slide victories, many of these new
liberal crusaders shun and even try
to cause problems for the
Democratic Party.
The refrain heard from people
like Ralph Nader is that there is
basically no difference between the
parties, so why support Democrats
over Republicans? As proof, he
points to the recently passed
Permanent Normal Trading
Relations with China bill that labor
unions fought tooth and nail
against, but passed with a large
number of Democratic votes.
What Nader seems to be forget-
ting is that trade with China does
not define the American political
system. The two parties each have a
broad ideological spectrum within
them, but they are in no way the
same party. The party of Ted
Kennedy and the party of Jesse

Helms are not two sides of a coin.
Whether Nader and others on the
left like it or not, with our single-
representative districts and
Electoral College, this country is
constitutionally rigged to be a two
party state. And that's not changing.
If groups such as labor and envi-
ronmentalists want to have any
influence, they need to pick a party
and use their grassroots activism to
support it. Being part of the system
they think is broken is an unpleas-
ant idea for many, but they need to
suck it up and face reality.
By working for the Democrats,
these activists get their ideas put on
the table and they have a chance to
influence policy.
By fighting the Democrats, they
risk putting the Republicans in
power. Do labor leaders remember
when the President of the United
States busted unions? Do environ-
mentalists remember when the
Department of the Interior and the
Environmental Protection Agency
fought against them rather than
working with them? Do human
rights groups remember when the
President fought against sanctions
on South Africa's racist regime?
That is the difference between
Republicans and Democrats. It is
huge.
Which party is in power doesn't
guarantee liberal groups automatic
failure or success, but it does deter-
mine whether they're playing
offense or defense and, in many
cases, whether their ideas get con-
sidered at all.
-- Peter Cunnffe can be
reached via e-mail ctt
ocunnit tumich.edt.

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