Letters to the Editor

BY THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Published April 12, 2001

"Right wing" not the same as bigotry

To the Daily:

In Jodi Masley"s viewpoint in Wednesday"s Daily ("Drop the Charges Against Ryan Hughes," 4/11/01), a viewpoint with which I fundamentally agree, Masley made some remarks that betray a profound confusion about the nature of American politics. Specifically, she uses the phrase "right wing" three different times in reference to the anti-gay protesters at the lesbian/gay Kiss-In. To refresh everyone"s memory:

"Hughes is accused of vandalism and assault for allegedly spray-painting the picket sign and the face of a far right-wing anti-gay bigot who openly advocates the assault and murder of lesbians and gay men."

"Apparently, (the Department of Public Safety) and the University administration believe that right wing advocates of genocide against lesbians and gay men are welcome on campus and must have their "free speech" rights protected at all costs."

"The University administration must not be the protector of violent, right-wing organizations."

I consider myself a member of the "right wing" I am a Republican. I am not a bigot. I am a supporter of the gay community and of gay rights. I see Masley"s specific mention of the alleged politics of the anti-gay bigots as an implication that their "right wing"-ness somehow makes them worse than they already are as if to say, "Well, a violent, bigoted, genocidal organization is bad, but a republican, violent, bigoted, genocidal organization is really bad." And of course, identifying that you believe that the bigots were Republicans serves simply to demonize good, intelligent members of America"s "right wing" such as myself (surely, a belief in small government cannot by any leap of logic or faith translate to a belief that "God hates fags"). This issue wouldn"t be so frustrating if I did not see examples of it every day in the University community.

In the three quotes above, if the phrase "right wing" is removed (as it should be, since I"ve demonstrated that the protesters" political affiliation is immaterial to their obvious bigotry), Masley"s statements would still carry the same weight. Masley is right, the University administration must not be the protector of violent organizations. And an anti-gay bigot is an anti-gay bigot, regardless of whom he voted for in the last election.

Consider, if you will, that the oppressive, communist, human-rights-abusing officials in the Chinese or Cuban governments could, by American political standards, be described as "extreme left wing." Now, imagine that in every newspaper article or editorial, those officials those very bad people were referred to consistently as "left wing" in addition to their other horrifying prefixes. Would that be fair? Or, more importantly, accurate?

I urge Masley to consider these issues in the future, instead of relying on catch phrases such as "right wing" to describe anything she deem repugnant.

Avram Derrow

LSA senior

Daily: Stop catering to certain groups

To the Daily:

In the time that I have spent at this University, there is no other group on campus that I can think of that has been afforded so much attention as BAMN. Tuesday, the Daily published yet another one of their rhetorically laced dribbles ("Bridging Diversity Gaps," 4/10/01).

Why does the Daily always publish these things? I save most of them, and looking back they all say the exact same thing, usually in the exact same words. Mass militant movement? Racist attitudes and decisions?

How often have we heard the phrase "Only a new militant, mass, integrated, youth-led civil rights movement can galvanize the forces needed to achieve this victory."? How many more times do we have to hear it?

In the last election, the Defend Affirmative Action Party received a few hundred votes more than the FRAT party a clear indication that their fringe ideas are losing what little toehold they already have on campus.

Yet more often than not, the Daily prints their pleas and cries in large areas that could be given to other groups that would like to be heard. When DAAP candidates were disqualified from the election, who published their complaints? Every time there is a major decision, who is heard? Two students in particular Jessica Curtin and Agnes Aleobua claim to be speaking for the campus (Channel 4 and The Detroit News actually said this once), but they really aren"t. They are speaking for a few students on campus who want it known that collectively, they can scream louder than the rest of us can. Obviously, I understand that the Daily is a bastion for liberal thought. Fighting this would be like banging one"s head against the wall. The unfortunate part is that the Daily makes itself a tool for specific groups on campus by allowing itself to be a medium for the dissemination of ideas that have been consciously discarded by the logical public.

If the Daily really wants to be held as a credible paper by clear-minded individuals (regardless of their political views), it will most certainly have to at least begin acknowledging that there are those on campus who think differently than it does. By constantly presenting only one side of the argument, the Daily turns itself off to those individuals who want to read a newspaper not an opinion flyer.

Remember that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Because there are no other daily student-run newspapers on campus, the Daily has indeed established itself as the king of the blind.

Chris Georgandellis

LSA senior

Albright will bring "prestige" to "U"

To the Daily:

After reading a few of Amer Zahr"s polemics ("Sorry Ms. Albright, I Am For Real," 04/11/01), it is clear that he cannot write a sentence without diminishing from the total sum of human knowledge.

Two things are present in all of his rants: A vicious smear campaign against an individual that does not hold Zahr"s extremist views and attacks on Israel. His latest victim was former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who recently joined the William Davidson Institute. Zahr accuses her of having an abysmal history in foreign policy and human rights.

Albright has studied at the School of Advanced International Studies at John"s Hopkins University and received a masters and doctorate from Columbia University. Albright has been in public service for more than 20 years and most recently was Secretary of State, the highest ranking woman to serve in the U.S. government.

As a student in the School of Business Administration, I look forward to the added prestige and knowledge Secretary Albright will bring to the highly ranked school.

When someone serves more than 20 years in public service it is easy to find a quote that can be easily distorted, as is evidenced by Zahr"s bi-weekly libels.

Jeff Berman

Business school junior

Horowitz"s ad not about free speech

To the Daily:

Congratulations on the Daily"s classy handling of David Horowitz"s self-promotion campaign. Regardless of whether or not one concurs with him (and I"ll admit I vehemently disagree with his viewpoint), we all should be aware that Horowitz here deliberately muddies the concept of free speech. The student body of a public academic institution serves as the publisher of its newspaper. The students" representatives, the editorial board, make content choices. An outside source may attempt to purchase advertising space, but ultimately it is the decision of the editorial board whether or not to run it. A student newspaper is not a public forum of the same sort as, say, the Diag. The Daily should make its decisions based on what is best for its readers the tuition-paying students of the University.

As a former Daily contributor, a University alumnus and a former high school newspaper adviser, I would have supported the Daily had it chosen to run the ad, but I take considerable pride in the fact that it did not fall for Horowitz"s gambit.

Maintaining editorial authority over your own publication is not political correctness or censorship it"s acting out the intentions of the First Amendment. Horowitz"s fallaciously argued, self-centered rebuttal to the Daily"s decision speaks for itself. It"s great that the Daily allowed him to respond and then balanced his screed with a cogently written, student-authored counterpoint, but ultimately remember: Horowitz certainly has the right to express his views, but The Michigan Daily, nor any student newspaper, is under no obligation to publish them.

Brian Armbrust

Alumnus

Naked Mile"s spirit should live on

To the Daily:

Am I the only one who thinks the slow killing of the Naked Mile by the administration is unfortunate? I understand the administration"s goals of promoting safety, but at what cost? They dish out thousands for flyers and advertisements telling you not to run. I understand the risks and by no means should we permit groping and other fors of sexual assault to be tolerated.

But are we willing to concede defeat? Are we willing to say that the creepy old guys with video-cameras are too much for us to handle? Are we just going to give up on this tradition?

I, for one, am not. I ran my freshman year and this, my senior year, I will be running again. I encourage all of my fellow classmates to do the same. If we can change the balance of power, strengthen the nude, we can save this tradition, curb groping, and for one last time, tell the administration we don"t care what they think. For many of us, these are some of our last moments before donning suits and entering the boring real world. So, I encourage all to be safe, be sober, and run.

Joshua Benninghoff

LSA senior