Live and let live, have some pie!

To the Daily:

After hearing a host of views on Proposal 2, for purposes of clarity, I’d like to rephrase the question.

To those who said that according to their religion, homosexuality is a sin, I’d couch the proposal like so: Do we wish to abandon the pluralistic ‘live and let live’ spirit of our society by dictating that rather than each of us following our own deepest beliefs, we all must adopt a singular fundamentalist vision of what is true and good? Without this spirit of tolerance, how will we keep from devolving into another Taliban or Nazi Germany?

To those who said that same-sex unions make them ill-at-ease, I’d pose this: How much should we ask other people to sacrifice on the altar of our discomfort? Should two women in a loving, committed relationship separate out of deference to our traditional view of family? Should children forgo medical care because one of their parents — the one with health insurance — isn’t a legally recognized guardian? Should a man whose lifelong partner lies dying in an intensive care unit be barred from his lover’s hospital room because their holding hands just doesn’t feel quite right to us?” A touch of cognitive dissonance seems a small price to pay for a great many people’s happiness and well-being.

Finally, to those who feel that homosexual unions threaten heterosexual ones, I’d say, “Fortify those girl-boy relationships!” Listen deeply. Relax and enjoy each other’s company. I personally guarantee that XX-XY couples who follow a traditional family recipe of sharing their lives with love, laughter and lucidity won’t even notice the lesbians kissing on their doorstep. They’ll be too busy inside, eating apple pie and having their own fun!

Jill Halpern

Lecturer

 

Group leaders invite ‘U’ to discuss Arab-Israeli conflict

To the Daily:

As the leaders of the pro-Israel groups on campus, we would like to invite all those interested in a dialogue concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to meet over some coffee. Lately there has been much talk on campus over this issue, and it is time for the discourse to leave the pages of the Daily and enter the tangible world. Last week’s letters to the editor, although heartfelt and rich with passion, have not accomplished anything. We would therefore like to make the first step towards conversation and end this incessant bickering.

As students at the University — a University that advocates multiculturalism and diversity — we are all encouraged to be tolerant of each other. We have learned to appreciate differences in opinion, differences in appearance and differences in culture. It is easy to be tolerant of such differences during classroom discussions and when socializing in the dorms. Why then is it so difficult to be tolerant of each other and find a common ground when dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

We all sweat before our exams, we all party when Michigan wins football games and we all love Ann Arbor. The pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian student groups on this campus have so much more in common than the Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East; there must be a way for us to find some sort of middle ground. If we cannot find this middle ground, how can we expect leaders inn the Middle East to do so?

Currently, no dialogue exists between Palestinians and Israelis. We are going to change that. On Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m., we will be sitting in the basement of Espresso Royale on South University. We hope to meet many of you interested in creating discussion and an understanding between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Or Shotan

Orrin Pail

Jessica Risch

Shotan is an LSA freshman and chair of the Israeli Students Organization. Pail is an LSA sophomore and a co-chair of the Union of Progressive Zionists. Risch is an LSA sophomore and co-chair of the American Movement for Israel.

 

Fraudulent Ukrainian vote illustrates the importance of freedom, democracy

To the Daily:

It is understandable that many Americans were disappointed in the results of the recent Bush/Kerry election. However, some of these disappointed voters may have found comfort in knowing that this election was generally fair. The recent fraudulent election results in Ukraine make me proud to live in the United States — a truly free country. It is important that we as Americans realize that the yearning for freedom and justice in people all over the world cannot be extinguished, be it in Venezuela, Iraq or Ukraine.

Anna Koniuch

Alum

 

Reader objects to Scalia’s ‘originalist’ interpretation of the Constitution

To the Daily:

Justice Antonin Scalia came to Rackham Auditorium on Nov. 16 to explain and justify the rationale he uses to make his decisions on the U.S. Supreme Court. The rationale he calls “originalism” states that, as a legal document, the U.S. Constitution means the same thing today that it did when it was ratified. The Constitution is not a “living document” and as such it cannot be re-interpreted by each generation. He goes on to say that there really is no alternative to originalism, as other paradigms for reaching court decisions are too subjective to be classified into a common idea. If the court were full of originalists, Scalia argues, there would be no conservative or liberal justices, only good lawyers who know how to read a document and apply it to cases without changing the original meaning.

Although I now understand Scalia’s beliefs (whereas before I just thought of him as an angry reactionary), I still strongly disagree with him. The framers’ original meaning for the Constitution was for the document to serve as a protector of the people from the government. The Constitution was supposed to be a tool of freedom. The very reason the framers did not include a Bill of Rights in the original document was because they feared such articles would limit rights, making people’s rights only the rights they put in writing and denying people the rights they forgot.

However, Scalia uses the Constitution as a tool of oppression. He refuses to give any rights to the people unless there is explicit backing in the Constitution. He embodies the very fears the framers had about the Bill of Rights. Scalia argues that if people want abortion or gay marriage they should pass laws on it. However, Scalia never signaled whether or not a Supreme Court of his making would let such a law stand. If such laws were struck down, it would then take constitutional amendments to make these changes and any change to U.S. society which is not explicitly legalized in the Constitution.

Ultimately, Scalia abolishes the principle of protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. He rests the only power to bring change in the hands of the legislature, a body largely run on majority control regardless of minority opposition. In cases where the majority refuses to protect the minority, Scalia would not allow a Supreme Court to step in and bring change as it did in the past for segregated blacks and women.

Originalism assumes that the founders never intended the Constitution to be a living document. Scalia argues that the concept of a living document was unheard of and simply never considered an option by the founders. However, the founders intended the document to govern a country for hundreds of years — another concept unheard of in their days. When choosing between a static interpretation for a dynamic society and a dynamic interpretation for a dynamic society, many founders might have found themselves as I do, believing that the Constitution is indeed a living document.

Alan Mlynek

LSA junior

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.