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June 21, 2004 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-06-21

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 21, 2004 - 5
Discrimination at all costs?
SUHAEL MOMIN N ALTERNATIVE SPIN

geader questions
assertions about
admissions data
TO THE DAILY:
How could we have been so
blind? Of course the drop in minority
applications is the University's fault
( U' should not be absolved of blame,
IW/14/04)! It's now ever so clear.
en did it become their job to go
door to door begging for minorities
to apply? I thought the point of the
admissions department was to admit
those they felt deserved and desired
to be there, not just fill seats. Indeed,
there should be a strong presence in
as many high schools as possible to
ensure that students get the necessary
information, but to claim that
minorities somehow need extra per-
suasion or reassurance that they real-
g should give it a shot is laughable.
Do people still not realize that the
University uses Affirmative Action?
That alone should be incentive
enough to apply.

I had to laugh as the writers
mourned the omission of Asian
Pacific Americans from any discus-
sion of minority enrollment. God
forbid we fail to list every single
nationality every time minority is
mentioned! I can only imagine the
irreparable harm that they them-
selves have done by leaving out any-
one of Arab descent. Do they also
not matter in this discussion?
Finally, what exactly typifies
this supposed unsupportive,
unwelcoming climate? Is there
some memo I missed? Are whites
giving minorities dirty looks?
Silently hoping they fail? How
about the countless minority-only
groups? I'm sure they offer little
support or safety. Proof for these
completely unsubstantiated claims
would be much appreciated. And
when did being colorblind
become such an evil thing? Many
people people have struggled for
that very thing (see King, Martin
Luther).
JEREMY AKINS
Rackham

resident Bush
issued the
order, and now
his troops have ral-
lied. In his State of
the Union, Bush
shocked many pun-
dits and observers by
openly endorsing a
federal Constitutional
ban on same-sex marriage. Last week,
Senate leaders announced plans to con-
sider an amendment sponsored by Wayne
Allard (R-Colo.):
Marriage in the United States shall con-
sist only of the union of a man and a
woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the
constitution of any state, shall be construed
to require that marriage or the legal inci-
dents thereof be conferred upon any union
other than the union of a man and a
woman.
Proponents claim it is in response to
the recent developments in Massachu-
setts, where "activist judges" forced the
state to grant gay and lesbian couples full
marriage rights. While heterosexual mar-
riage has not yet weakened and crumbled
in Massachusetts, religious and moral
conservatives still feel the need to protect
the institution of marriage against further
encroachment. If they have their way, a
federal Constitutional amendment will
not only punish people for their lifestyle,
but also create a second class of citizens
in a land where all people are equal
under the law.

With recent developments in favor of
gay marriage, conservatives have shifted
into panic gear. The sudden demand for a
federal amendment - which cannot be
overruled by anything short of another
amendment -highlights a key concern of
those opposed to homosexual marriage:
They fear Massachusetts is not an anom-
aly, but a harbinger. At the federal level,
the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act already
defines marriage as a union between one
man anA one woman. This law ensures that
other states do not need to honor Massa-
chusetts' same-sex marriage license, and
exempts the federal government from pro-
viding spousal benefits to homosexual
couples married under one state's laws.
However, this has one critical flaw: it is
still subordinate to the Constitution.
In Massachusetts, the High Court
used the federal separate but equal prece-
dent to force the legalization of same-sex
marriage. While this ruling was
denounced as judicial activism, the deci-
sion has cast into doubt the future of the
national DOMA and a myriad of similar
state laws. Nothing is to stop state courts,
and federal courts for that matter, from
striking down these statutes on Constitu-
tional grounds. If marriage was defined
in the Constitution, however, it would be
inherently constitutional - "activist
judges" could no longer fabricate laws.
Unfortunately, this zeal to amend the
Constitution seems woefully misguided.
The beauty of the document lies in its
ability to transcend politics- and the

whims of an era. It was designed to sur-
vive through time; it was never intended
to contain social policy, which tends to
vary with the moral climate of the peri-
od. Furthermore, the Constitution was
meant to secure the rights of the people,
not to limit and punish them.
If the judicial system, relying on the
Constitution, sees it fit to strike down the
Defense of Marriage legislation, this
should not be interpreted as a sign that
the Constitution is flawed or that judges
are exceeding their mandate. Rather, pro-
ponents of the legislation might consider
that the laws they support are themselves
problematic. Even though these laws
might enjoy wide support, that does not
mean they should be protected by incor-
poration into the Constitution.
Ultimately, the Constitution is not a
document to be changed or altered light-
ly. Social values and beliefs, which are
notoriously unstable, should not be
placed in a document which is designed
to withstand the test of time. Any initia-
tive to alter the Constitution, especially
in the name of discrimination, should be
viewed with suspicion. The fact that gays
and lesbians are already isolated from
marriage by a variety of questionable
laws and acts is in itself appalling; to
insulate these discriminatory laws from
judicial review by a Constitutional
change is abhorrent.
Momin can be reached at
smomin@umich.edu.

RNC in NYC
ELLIOTT MALLEN IRRATIONAL ExUBERANCE

LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all of its readers. Letters
rom University students, faculty, staff and administrators will be given
priority over others. Letters should include the writer's name, college
and school year or other University affiliation. The Daily will not print
any letter containing statements that cannot be verified.
Letters should be kept to approximately 300 words. The Michigan
Daily reserves the right to edit for length, clarity and accuracy. Longer
"viewpoints" may be arranged with an editor. Letters will be run accord-
ing to order received and the amount of space available.
Letters should be sent through e-mail to tothedaily@michigandaily.com
or mailed to the Daily at 420 Maynard St. Editors can be reached via e-
mail at editpage.editors@umich.edu. Letters e-mailed to the Daily will be
*iven priority over those dropped off in person or sent via the U.S.
Postal Service.
SAM BUTLER 1*E SOA sX
j q C

From August 29
to September 2,
delegates will
convene on Madison
Square Garden in New
York City for the 2004
Republican National
Convention. Neither
the time nor the place
are coincidences. The
planners did not randomly choose to push
the date of the convention back to Septem-
ber, later than any other in modern history.
It's a stretch to think that planners just hap-
pened to have chosen to hold the conven-
tion in a city where Democrats outnumber
Republicans 5 to 1 in a venue blocks away
from where the World Trade Center once
stood. Bush has been constantly exploiting
Sept. 11 for political gains, and the 2004
Republican National Convention will be no
exception. The message that a vote for the
Democrats is a vote for the terrorists will
surely be reinforced, and I'm going there to
show that I'm not buying it. I will be going
to New York with hundreds of thousands of
my closest friends, letting the world know
that people are willing to do more to
express their disapproval of our current
administration than just voting George
Bush out of office in November.
I am not going to New York to protest
our country's millions of Republican vot-
ers. The impoverished farmer in Idaho did-
n't lie about pre-war intelligence. The
85-year-old Florida retiree didn't torture
detainees in Iraq. I'm not protesting my
Republican father (whose vote is always
cancelled out by my Democrat mother). I
am driving to New York a week before

class starts to protest the Bush administra-
tion. Despite what many people will tell
you, not all Republicans are evil people. I
would not have protested the 1996 conven-
tion that nominated Bob Dole or Bush Srs
1992 re-nomination. I am protesting only a
handful of people: George W. Bush and his
neoconservative inner circle.
The city of New York is doing every-
thing in its power to prevent significant
protest. The Police and Parks Departments
have denied an application for a 250,000-
person march by Madison Square Garden
and then on to the Great Lawn in Central
Park. The reason for the denial is that if it
rains before the march, having people walk
on the grass will damage it, meaning it
might have to be re-sodded. I wasn't aware
that our First Amendment rights could be
thrown out in order to prevent grass in a
public park from being trod upon.
The police presence is expected to be
massive. There will be 10,000 officers
guarding the Garden, all of which will be
assigned a handgun, a baton and teargas
canisters. Police are being especially secre-
tive about their tactics, claiming that more
disclosure will only help potential terror-
ists. Never mind that the Police Commis-
sioner Ray Kelly is involved in three
lawsuits regarding unconstitutional police
practices. The city also plans to follow the
model used by former NYPD Commis-
sioner and current Miami police chief
John Timoney, whose policy of over-
whelming force is considered the Powell
Doctrine of domestic dissent. He used
2,500 heavily-armed police officers to
lock down the city of Miami during
protests opposing the Free Trade Area of

the Americas last fall. This is a man who,
while decrying violent tactics used by a
handful of protesters, actually relishes vio-
lence between police and demonstrators.
He was quoted in the Miami Herald before
any arrests were made in connection to the
demonstrations that "If they don't do any-
thing by tomorrow night, pardon the
expression, but they look like pussies."
Two hundred and twenty arrests were
made, and many of the charges were
immediately thrown out when it became
apparent how many of the arrests were
made illegally. Police routinely made ille-
gal searches and random arrests of people
resembling protesters both before and dur-
ing the demonstrations, and there are a
variety of pending lawsuits against the
Miami police department. Similar tactics
are expected in New York, and it is a guar-
antee that the police will justify them
under the guise of terrorism prevention.
I am encouraging my fellow students
to join me in New York. True, it is a week
before class starts. Yes, I understand New
York is a long drive to make. I am aware
that the NYPD has authorized the use of
"Hercules" teams that will patrol the
streets with body armor and live-ammo
machine guns. It's all worth it. Being at a
school like the University, it's easy to for-
get that politically active young people are
a small minority, and it's important to
show that young people are ready to fight
the Bush administration on the streets of
New York as well as at the ballot box in
November.
Mallen can be reached at
emmallen@umich.edu.

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