Opinion

True Love Defeats All Obstacles

Can love truly conquer all? In light of the shocking split of Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, I would say it is not very probable that love can endure for a lifetime. With the news of their impending divorce, my hopes for enduring love were dashed and my faith was shattered. They were married for 11 years and still appeared so much in love. They were the marriage “”dream team”” that, in my mind, was going to prove that love could endure any obstacle and conquer all. But news of their breakup brought a host of doubts. The high-profile split was the reason I began my quest to discover why. Why are more than fifty percent of marriages ending in divorce? Why isn’t love enduring? Why, why, why? The biggest problem I see is that marriage does not come equipped with a handbook on how to make it work. Instead, our perspective of marriage is deeply entrenched in society’s views on what marriage should and should not be. It is clear to me that modern society views divorce as an everyday function, yet in my grandparents’ generation, divorce was not accepted. It was deemed wrong and only viewed as the last resort. That there were fewer divorces in my grandparents’ era doesn’t mean that people loved each other more, but that they were constrained by society’s expectations to make the effort to work through marital problems. Now it is accepted as normal for people to fall in and out of love and that divorce is just an expected outcome. The attempt to try to fix the marriage isn’t considered as normal as racing to a divorce attorney to be the one who files first. It has become accepted that since people are bound to change, things are not expected to last and that marriage does not necessarily need to last either. So I pose this question: Why has our society’s view of marriage changed so drastically within only a few decades? The possible answer is that our society has become consumed with the idea of being happy, that there is an ultimate state of happiness just within our reach once we have that perfect relationship, car or job. Thus when the going gets tough, it’s no big deal. The mentality is to bail out of marriage because problems and suffering are not something we should have to put up with. After all, we are meant to be happy and to seek what makes us happy, no matter the cost. I’m sorry to say it, but life is not one big, happy ride at a theme park. There are mountains to climb and hardships to conquer. It is not too much to ask that this mentality of working through real-life hardships be applied to love and marriage. What ever happened to “”for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health””? Wedding vows do not say “”in good times, but when the bad times come, it’s time to hit the road.”” They say “”in good times and in bad.”” I think this is the part everyone forgets. Love and marriage are not easy and it is not a fairy tale with a fairy-tale ending. In order to make love last, it requires work and compromise. The outlook for everlasting love is certainly grim. People all around us are divorcing. From celebrities to people we know, we are being shown that love does not last, that it falters and breaks down when faced of obstacles and hardships. Investing in a relationship and in the promise of everlasting love sounds scary. It is downright risky. But then again, life is unpredictable and inherently risky, so why not take the risk? Are love and marriage worth the risk of hardship and pain? I say yes, take the risk. What is life without making that all-important connection with another person? All the odds are stacked against enduring love, but I am still betting on love to conquer all. ...

Ban to Prohibit Smoking Near Playgrounds

The San Diego City Council, after being lobbied by a local anti-smoking group, recently passed a law banning smoking near playgrounds. This move is commended by the Guardian. The advertising and availability of tobacco products are already heavily restricted by federal and state authorities. For example, tobacco companies may not purchase television commercials or roadside billboards to advertise their products, and unusually high sales taxes are tacked onto every California tobacco purchase. However, these seemingly harsh restrictions were not imposed without good cause. Studies have shown that young children were once statistically more likely to be able to identify now-retired cartoon character Joe Camel — the ad icon of Camel tobacco products — than Mickey Mouse. Because children are so impressionable, they are often made the prime targets of advertising campaigns that seek lifetime loyal consumers. Now that federal and state authorities have acknowledged the importance of protecting children from advertisers’ images of smokers and smoking, the playground ban will ensure that children do not ironically gain exposure to smoking in person (and on their own turf), while federal and state authorities work so hard to end children’s exposure to it in the advertising world. Although the Guardian believes that personal choice and individual freedom generally should be free from government intrusion, the playground ban ultimately earns our support for two reasons. First, it aims to protect impressionable and often defenseless children from being exposed to smoking, when they may not be emotionally mature enough to rationally reject or accept. Second, the playground ban is not overly far-reaching in its restrictions on smokers’ rights. It is not an attempt to ban smoking in all public areas, nor does it restrict the rights of smokers to the point of persecution. Overall, the playground ban is a very fair accommodation of anti-smoking lobbyists’ concerns, while it refrains from dangerously stretching too far into the sovereign realm of personal freedom. ...

Popular Stereotypes in Society Make Searching for a Niche Difficult

Have you ever felt like wringing someone’s neck for trying to pigeonhole you into a category or group or for trying to label you with something that has derogatory implications? Have you ever felt compelled to apologize for being the way you are or because you think a certain way? I have had it up to here with trying to defend certain aspects of my identity. If someone were to ask me how I identified myself ethnically, I would answer “”I’m Asian”” or “”I’m Chinese.”” I have ethnic and cultural pride and pride in being an American as well. But it seems to me that by that simple response, I have already put myself in a place where my identity is socially constructed. Some people would say that I’m a typical Asian. I drive a Honda Accord. I eat pho a lot. I like pearl iced tea. I listen to rave music. I like Sailor Moon. Most of my friends are Asian, although I have friends of many ethnic backgrounds. On the other hand, I also like musicals and alternative music. I hate math and science and I belong to a Greek sorority at UCSD. It seems I can’t win. Just based upon my looks, everyone already seems to have an idea of what I am or should be. My Asian friends often call me “”whitewashed.”” They can’t understand, for instance, why I might want to go to a certain fraternity party. One of my best friends asked me once, “”What the heck are you doing in that white sorority?”” Another time, I was in the car with a friend listening to Green Day’s “”Time of Your Life”” and he told me, “”I don’t understand this kind of music. It’s for white people.”” I like my life, and I like my friends, but sometimes people just make me want to scream. I don’t know who coined the term “”whitewashed,”” but I know it’s something Asian people generally don’t like to be called. By calling someone whitewashed it implies inferiority, as if that person cannot embrace, or refuses to embrace, certain characteristics of being Asian. The whitewashed are criticized for not making the effort to better align themselves with their own kind. Other people have called me “”f.o.b.,”” a derogatory term used to refer to someone who seems like they are “”fresh off the boat.”” I’ve been accused of being racist because I once attended a Chinese Church. Just because I wish to go somewhere where I can identify with Chinese people doesn’t mean I’m racist. I remember getting upset at a friend who remarked, “”You’re supposed to be good in math!”” when I barely passed a calculus class. I responded, “”So, am I not supposed to be good in English?”” I try hard to balance myself between the two extremes, Asian-identified Asians and so-called whitewashed Asians. But everything I do seems to make people align me with one group or the other and the stereotypes that come with each. I run into a wall no matter where I turn. I have even received bad reactions from people who don’t think I should associate with anyone who isn’t Asian. I once walked into a pho restaurant in Clairemont Mesa with a white friend and was stared down by a group of Asian guys who obviously disapproved of my association. So, although he was just a friend, I held hands with him just to piss them off. I recently had an argument with two friends who had the gall to say they thought all black people are lazy. I cited the history of discrimination and prejudice experienced by African Americans in the past and up to the present day before exploding with, “”You freakin’ pricks! Have you ever actually taken the time to get to know or have a conversation with a black person? How many friends do you have who are black?”” It seems to me that the minute I do something that isn’t within the socially constructed realm of “”being Asian,”” I get slapped in the face with stereotypes and stigmas designed to put me in my place. The real truth is that I haven’t just experienced this in college. Since the day I was born I’ve been confronted with this programming that tells me to hate, judge and stuff myself into the nearest and most convenient pigeonhole possible. This programming also tries to socially construct who I am and what I can achieve. I think it’s important to point out that we can’t assume that just because people are one ethnicity, they are automatically going to be prejudiced against another race. As a white friend recently said to me, “”Since I came to UCSD I’ve felt like I should walk around with a sticker on my forehead saying, ‘I do not discriminate against people of color.’ I have friends of all ethnicities. Don’t hate me because I’m white!”” I’m not trying to save the world. I’m just trying to be myself and live my life without worrying that people will constantly bag on me for who I am. I think other people should have that right as well. Our nation is supposed to be founded on the principles of equality and freedom. Yet we’re not really equal and we’re not really free to be who we are. I get beat on both sides. I get criticized for embracing certain so-called Asian characteristics, and I get criticized for being too white. It works both ways, and as a whole I think our society has a really jaded view of the social construction of race how people of certain ethnicities are “”supposed”” to be. I mean, not every Asian is going to like pearl iced tea, and not every black person is going to love rap. We should stop trying to shove people into molds that they did not create. But when is it going to end? When am I going to be able to walk down the street with my black friend without getting stared at? When can I stop trying to walk between the lines of being called f.o.b. and being called whitewashed? When can I be myself without being judged? If people can learn to think beyond what they have been taught to think, then maybe they can learn to extend beyond the limits of their own ignorance. You can think what you want of me and how I live my life, but don’t hate me because I refuse to conform myself to the mold of programming that society has tried to indoctrinate me with. And in the meantime, the next person who calls me whitewashed is going to get a chopstick shoved up his ass. ...

Students Need a Real Dining Facility

Of the many problems here at UCSD, one would not think a place to eat would necessarily top the list. But should it? In the case of Marshall students, food has turned out to be a slight problem that has many up in arms. As if eating at the small La Casa Restaurant were not bad enough, students from Marshall college are forced to go to different dining facilities on weekends due to the fact that La Casa is closed on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. Speaking from experience, it is plainly obvious that most stressed and busy college students barely have the time to eat, let alone walk a good distance to put something edible into their empty, stricken stomachs. Unfortunately for students at Marshall, getting a quick bite to eat is not an option on the weekends. Ever since the start of fall 2000, La Casa has been taking the place of Oceanview Terrace, which is being remodeled and will not be open until next year. The problem here lies in the fact that Marshall students are forced to go to Warren, Revelle, Muir or other far dining facilities to eat a decent meal on weekends. According to La Casa employees, the reason La Casa is closed on the weekends is that it is not a real dining facility, but rather a temporary replacement for Oceanview, which will be open next year. It is for this reason that the restaurant is not open on the weekends, and also why it closes at 3 p.m. on Fridays. Complaints and whining aside, it is evident that it will not necessarily kill the students to walk a few extra yards to the more distant eating facilities. But let us look at the facts. First, shuttles are not in operation on the weekends and therefore the majority of the students have to walk certain distances to eat wherever they want. Second, with the busy academic and social lives that students have, walking as much as 15 minutes each way to eat is yet another burden they do not want to deal with. Third, it is practically written in the history books that college students are just plain lazy. The majority of the students would rather starve and eat stale crackers than actually walk to the nearest dining facility. It should also be taken to consideration that for most students here at UCSD, especially freshmen, a dining facility is not only somewhere to eat, but is also an opportunity to meet other students from their college. Without this opportunity available for Marshall students, they are not only deprived of instant food, but also of the chance to meet other Marshall students. With Oceanview being remodeled for an entire year, the least the administrators could have done was provide a dining facility for Marshall that is open until the usual 7:30 p.m. closing time every weekday, as well as be open every weekend. Having failed to give us even that much, a restaurant was provided with as much variety as, well, nothing. Eating only burritos, tacos and a special of the day, every day, is not my idea of a nutritious meal. The food La Casa serves is a whole other article by itself, but the last time I checked, eating a balanced, nutritious meal was a big part of getting those brain cells working — an important factor in college. To get to the point, it is obvious that La Casa not being open on the weekends causes numerous problems for students, who simply want to eat without walking long distances. What administrators or dining officials can do to improve this situation is to simply open La Casa on the weekends. Though there might not be enough business, it would be nice for students to know that they don’t have to walk a long distance just to eat. With all of this in perspective, it seems that for now, students will be forced to walk their butts to Sierra Summit during the weekends if they want to get a hot meal. Whether we like it or not, the phrase “”eating in the comfort of your own home”” does not even come close to applying to Marshall students. All things considered, we can always look at the bright side: Walking to eat at far-away dining places will save us the trouble of making that trip to RIMAC right after …. ...

Immorality Has its Advantages

It occurred to me the other day, while I was sitting on my couch looking at a black screen because my stolen digital satellite had gone down, how dependent my life has become on what some may call unethical means. My friends and I were discussing what drugs we should do for the Weezer concert. “”Well, we really shouldn’t do acid because it’s on a Sunday and then we have finals that week, and the last time we did acid we didn’t sleep for like 40 hours.”” “”But at the same time, I don’t want to just smoke out either, because this is pretty special. I mean, its Weezer, man, they haven’t released an album in like five years. I think we should do shrooms. Shrooms are pretty damn cool and we’ll only be screwed up for like six hours instead of 40.”” “”Yeah, I suppose those have some residual effects, too, but shrooms would be cool and we should do them just because we had a bitch of a time getting these tickets in the first place ….”” Suddenly my roommate came downstairs and said, “”Hey, they zapped the card.”” “”So unzap it, jerk-off.”” “”No, they like really zapped the card.”” Turns out DirectTV had just about had enough of us watching every Pay-Per-View movie, five porn channels, and every local channel in the United States for the low, low price of free every month and they hadn’t just done a normal zap, they had completely screwed over our card. They had sort of screwed over our card in the past, and then we would have to fix it, but this time they screwed it over in an unfixable way. So we turned on the Dreamcast and played some pirated games for a while and thought about how we weren’t going to watch Pay-Per-View for months. It was kind of a sobering thought; the kind that could only be remedied by drugs, or alcohol, or bashing our heads against the wall to get some sort of getting-away-from-reality effect. But back to how we got the Weezer tickets: My friend Dan forwarded me an e-mail saying that Weezer tickets were going on sale the next day so we talked about how we would wake up early, say 9 a.m., head over to the box office and buy the tickets. The next day, I rolled out of bed around 11:30, picked up Dan, and headed toward UCSD. On the way, I called up EDNA, and then the box office, and they told me that they only had 500 tickets and they were only giving out one per I.D. I swore, rolled a few stop signs, and speed-dialed a bunch of my friends that didn’t like Weezer and asked them to buy me tickets. By the time we reached UCSD, I already had one guy buying me a ticket. I parked in a “”B”” space with my grad student permit and went to the Bursar’s office and got a sticker for my other I.D. (I have two UCSD I.D.s for this exact purpose). Then we went by Round Table and collected a bunch of I.D.s from a bunch of non-Weezer appreciating friends, and headed to the box office. They marked our I.D.s with a Sharpie and sold us some tickets. Apparently they sold out in less than two hours. Soon Monday came around and another friend tipped me off that they were selling tickets again, so we took out our I.D.s and a very sharp knife and proceeded to doctor them until the Sharpie marks were no more, and bought some more tickets. All in all, we ended up with 11 tickets at a mere $16.50 each. The closing price on eBay is around $55 now. And that’s how we got the Weezer tickets. Now, three of these tickets couldn’t have been bought without the help of an additional I.D. I found lying on the ground at the Pi Phiathlon. I was walking back from helping a friend roll a joint out of a small nug I found in my room while going through my books. We weren’t doing it for personal pleasure, it was really the only way to fairly enter the pie-eating contest. But we were walking back and I saw this I.D. on the ground. I picked it up and it looked very similar to my best friend who comes down a lot for concerts. The split second of thinking about trying to find its rightful owner ended, and into my pocket it went. I think the moral of all these stories is that if you’re going to do something wrong, you’d better go all out, because you’ve already crossed the line of being a good guy. And the more wrong you do, the funnier the stories usually are. This is also why “”The Family Circus”” is boring as hell. ...

The Melding of Politics and Religion

Throughout his campaign, President George W. Bush sought to portray himself as a different type of Republican. His policy proposals and campaign speeches were all centered around the idea that he is a compassionate conservative. Austin Hsia Guardian Congressional Republicans had been hurt in the past by Democratic portrayals that painted all Republicans as greedy politicians who were out to get single welfare mothers and take their welfare checks away. In seeking to immunize himself from any such negative attacks, Bush made one aspect of his compassionate conservative campaign centerpiece a proposal to allow faith-based charitable organizations to compete for federal money. In the president’s own words, what his plan would do is “”set out to promote the work of community and faith-based charities. We want to encourage the inspired, to help the helper. Government cannot be replaced by charities, but it can welcome them as partners instead of resenting them as rivals.”” It is evident that faith-based organizations have been doing compassionate work to the helpless for centuries, and have been quite effective in doing so. What the Bush plan seeks to do is simply to extend a helping hand to those who are already in the trenches battling homelessness, alcohol and drug dependency, and various other social ills. Bush went on to say at the National Prayer Breakfast that “”Millions of Americans serve their neighbor because they love their God. Their lives are characterized by kindness, and patience and service to others. They do for others what no government program can really ever do: They provide love for another human being. They provide hope even when hope comes hard.”” Countless lives are changed by these faith-based organizations on a daily basis, and those lives are testimony to their efficiency. It would be completely illogical if government did not do all it could to help these charities. Liberals who have been critical of most everything that the Bush administration has proposed — from the nominations of Attorney General John Ashcroft and Interior Secretary Gale Norton, to school vouchers and tax reform — are critical of the Bush proposal, saying that it would blur the lines between church and state. Opponents claim that federal money being funneled into such religious organizations is a simple violation of the First Amendment prohibition of an established religion. However, when one looks at the proposal, it can be seen that there are three prongs that should pass almost anybody’s constitutionality test, save perhaps the members of such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union. The Bush faith-based proposal allows for more tax deductions for the American taxpayer. It allows for those 80 million taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions to deduct charitable donations from their taxes. The plan would then go on to allow for charitable donations from individual retirement accounts without penalty, and it would also raise the charitable donation limit from 10 to 15 percent of companies’ taxable income. The first part of the president’s proposal is simply a plan to give American taxpayers more incentive to give to charities. There is no constitutional controversy with this aspect of the plan. The second part of the Bush plan creates a new office in the White House and asks five cabinet departments to look for ways to encourage cooperations between the government and religious groups. In addition to the new office, the new administration’s plan is going to create a fund from federal and private funds that will help small community and faith-based groups apply for grants. Assistance to these groups in helping them apply for grants should also be innocuous enough not to stir any problems. The third and final prong of the Bush proposal seems to be causing the most ruckus. The plan expands “”charitable choice,”” allowing religious groups to receive funding for a variety of social programs such as inmate rehabilitation and the setting up of after-school programs for low-income children. Before those on the left start screaming about a violation of the separation of church and state, they should see who supports Bush on his initiative. When Bush initially made the proposal, the man who introduced him was none other than Democratic nominee for vice president, Sen. Joe Lieberman. The Senator from Connecticut has been an avid supporter of such programs for quite some time. In addition to Lieberman, former Vice President Al Gore came out in favor of charitable choice so that our nation can “”meet the crushing social challenges that are otherwise impossible to meet.”” Liberal groups will have greater problems trying to explain why the Bush’s idea is a bad one. The key word from the Bush proposal is to “”expand”” charitable choice. Religious charities that are highly effective in changing people’s lives, such as the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities, already do receive federal grants and those grants make a large portion of these organizations’ annual budgets. What the Bush plan does is expand the amount of money that these efficient programs receive. Finally, under a program the president has proposed, proselytizing or using government money to fund religious activities is strictly prohibited. What the Bush plan does is support the armies of compassion and not the armies of conversion. By prohibiting funding of religious activities or proselytization, the perception of a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment is completely dashed away. The Bush plan is a step in the right direction. It allows for the federal government to assist those charities that have one success story after another. The proposal simply enlarges the amount of federal contributions to these groups, giving them more resources in their fight against the social ills of our country and restoring the lives of hurt people. All of this is done in a manner that is consistent with the federally protected rights that we as Americans hold dear. ...

Leadership Requires Staying True to Both Voters and Personal Principles

Dear Littles and Germinates, I was in the Round Table courtyard last spring when they announced the winners of the A.S. elections. I remember watching many faces light up with the Aurora Borealis of the victor, or freeze into the sporting grin of the also-ran. I remember the indrawn breath, and the ripples of applause, and the handshakes. I remember Doc Khaleghi’s near aneurysm after his upset presidential victory. I remember Eugene Mahmoud’s solemn triumph, as he accepted the post of Vice President External with his head bowed and his arms raised high. Most of all, I remember Cassandra Williams’ shriek of joy, and her explosion of physical activity. I swear she jumped high enough to see right into the third-floor office that had just become hers. She landed spinning, thanking and hugging every one in arms’ reach. Forget that new Triton mascot. Who knew that the Tasmanian She-Devil went to our school? And whose bright idea was it to put her in charge of all A.S. events as our commissioner of programming? And who knew she would do so good a job? And how could we let her quit? If you missed last week’s A.S. Council Meeting — and most of you did — let me fill you in. I’ll start by giving you an idea of what A.S. Council meetings are like: lots of odd references and comments that might be inside jokes or absurd blather, with a few traces of phrases suggesting insight. You squint and peer through the bureaucratic murk of meaning, and suddenly, ahh, there! A sudden fountainhead erupts from the spry woman at the microphone: Williams says she cannot continue in her post due to irreconcilable conflicts between the realpolitik of A.S. events planning and the dictates of her religion and morality and conscience. In her own words: “”Officially resigning the position of programmer, I feel obliged to tell you the reasons for this decision. Since before I ran for this position, my family warned me that I would be alarmed about some of the things I saw and that I would either have to compromise my morals or compromise my duties to the office. Of course, I didn’t listen and I took the position.”” “”From the beginning, I was shown some of the darker sides of life. Many people in the industry have tried to sue me, breached contracts with me, harassed and abused me and my friends. This may seem as though I want to live in a bubble of purity, and honestly, I hope it does look that way. You may feel that this is stupid, but Fall Fest was the first time that I was ever exposed to marijuana while I was backstage. “”For months I have been having many personal conflicts between my job and my moral standards. As my mom warned me, one or the other would have to go. Even though I was a proponent of Club Ritmo, and I still hope that the students will enjoy weekend entertainment, I have many issues with the fact that alcohol is served at Porter’s Pub during the club’s operation. I’ve just been struggling for so long, and it has definitely resulted in me not desiring to go to my office, to have anything to do with programming at all.”” Lord Acton wrote that power tends to corrupt, but said nothing about how power tends to cling. Nobody likes leaving a job half finished, especially when it means giving up a significant amount of authority, extra-especially when that authority comes hand-in-hand with responsibilities to people who voted for you over somebody else. Holding power and staying uncorrupted pales in comparison to the challenge of letting go of the reins when the time comes. Williams faced both these challenges and prevailed. Don’t take it from me alone! Read what Matt Powell, our vice president of finance, had to say: “”A.S. is probably one of the most conflicted groups on campus. Members of A.S. regularly face the trial of living out their values in a system with political jockeying and duplicity. Some of the positions even force people into value judgments they never would have anticipated when running. Williams’ decision to step down was one of the best ways of dealing with this conflict that I have ever seen. This campus could use more leaders like Williams who are willing to stand firm in their convictions. Perhaps if more people were as strong as Williams, the support could have been there to actually change circumstances and prevent the loss of a great member of Associated Students. As it is, she has chosen the path that should command the respect of those who voted for her last spring.”” Some of you gossip-mongers may now be slathering for more details. You won’t get them from me. Go and seek her out, if you need to know Williams’ exact denomination, actual experiences or other particulars. I don’t think it’s any of our business. She made a statement of personal principles, standing firm on her own two feet, and it is this act that earns her my respect, admiration and praise. It’s not that I agree with her about the dangers of drug use. I’m not even sure that I do. Williams inspires me by her demonstrated willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of her principles. We all need a moral compass … we also all need to know how to follow it. Some attest that here at UCSD we stroll daily through a playground of sin. Maybe you don’t prescribe to such a concept, and maybe I don’t either, but the fact remains that ours is a community rifled with lax morality. When was the last time you stood up in a group and said “”I have no power to stop you, but I believe that act is wrong?”” When was the last time you witnessed a wrong, be it a tipsy drive to the store and back, a racist or sexist joke, or the kid next to you cheating off your exam, and took that leap of self confidence necessary to express your disapproval? Too many times I have looked the other way, knowing that this is San Diego, and nobody likes a fuss down here. None of us approves of apathy, none of us accepts the foolish notion that because this is the south (just as much as Texas) things are different here. And yet we do not stand up for our beliefs. To stand against the silent crowd of so many other unvoiced opinions requires a strength and purity of inner vision, a clarity that is hard to come by amid the collegiate chaos. Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, one of our campus ministers, notes another challenge students face. “”College years have such potential; often for the first time in their lives students are deeply confronted with different values systems and new ways of seeing the world. They have the opportunity to test the systems of morality in which they were raised and make decisions about the directions for their life paths. Whether those decisions are informed by thoughtful reflection or by peer pressure often depends on the individual’s level of awareness.”” If there’s anything you have learned from our recently resigned A.S. programming commissioner, it should be that we cannot underestimate the importance of awareness and clarity. Lacking them, you run in circles around yourself. Possessing them, you can match thought to deed and thus free (or save) your soul. Williams found them and took action. And so she is my hero. ...

Hypocritial Government Acts in the Name of Profit

A story I heard recently made me think about the country we live in … actually the capitalistic society that revolves around us. There is no doubting that most Americans live to make money, and our whole philosophy on life, politics, foreign policy and domestic policy ultimately streams from our capitalistic nature. The story I heard only further made me think about the hypocrisy that arises from a society having such capitalistic qualities. Recently, a man in Vancouver sued his crack dealer for negligence. This man was an admitted crack user and was on his way to recovery. However, he believed that to solve his problems, he should sue the man who was helping bring pain to him. The crack user said that the dealer should not have sold him the drugs, for the dealer was aware of the individual’s addiction. The dealer should have ceased selling because the addiction was bringing harm to the user. Now, negligence as defined by the courts is any conscious action that affects the well-being of another human. So it seems that the crack user would have viable grounds for his case. However, I hear in my mind the many readers laughing at this man and me, for believing he should be allowed to sue. I must admit, it does seem a little ludicrous that a drug addict should sue his dealer for negligence. After all, the drug user is the one who got himself into his mess; he should have no one to blame but himself. But here is where it gets a little iffy. As absurd as this man’s case seems, one should realize that the federal government of the United States similarly sued a drug dealer for negligence. Only in that case, the company was the tobacco industry. “”The tobacco industry!”” you say. “”What does that have to do with crack dealers?”” Well, the tobacco industry and its consumers are analogous to the crack dealer litigation. America sued the tobacco industry on the basis that it sells a product that is addictive to its user, and ultimately causes harm. The government said, just like in the drug user’s case, the tobacco industry was acting negligently when considering the health of its consumers. I pose this question: Why does it seem preposterous when the drug user sues his drug dealer, but not when the government sues the tobacco industry? Some may argue that the tobacco industry was aware of the effects of nicotine, and thus it increased doses to assure profits from addicted cigarette smokers. This knowledge of the effects of nicotine should be enough cause to stop production for the industry to further research and notify its consumers. It is this negligence for which the government sues. But this does not show that the drug case is less reasonable than the tobacco case. The drug dealer also relies upon the addictive effects of crack or cocaine to make profits as a dealer. Again, I wonder why one case seems more rational than the other. Some also argue that the difference between the two cases is the differentiation in the selling of legal and illegal goods. The tobacco industry sells a legal product, therefore if it is discovered that this product is harmful, the tobacco industry should halt the sale of this product. Also, the user of the illegal drug is taking a risk in using this drug if he knows it is illegal. He leaves all responsibility to himself, for he is the ultimate determinant. This argument, however, fails for it does not consider the fact that both of the goods sold are similar in their addictive qualities. Ultimately, both goods are the same substance, for they cause harm and are addictive, and the consumer is taking a risk by using either. In the end, I wonder when Americans will start owning up to their actions, while preserving the capitalistic nature that has brought us so far? These cases have shown that Americans seem to want both the benefits of capitalism and the freedom and safety provided to us by the Constitution. These benefits include the joys of smoking a cigarette and the profit gained from selling it. However, with these benefits comes the harm from the smoke and the ultimate lawsuit and attempted suppression of one of America’s oldest and strongest companies. Ultimately, these desires cause hypocrisy to form in our values, as shown with the cases above. This hypocrisy arises from our acceptance of tobacco companies into American society, for they, like all of us, are in the pursuit of money. However, when we discover something hazardous about the product, we immediately blame the company. We then allow ourselves to destroy this industry. When the man of Vancouver tries to do the same to his drug dealer, we laugh at him. In one case, America tells a man to be responsible for his actions, but in the other, America says the company, not the consumer, is to blame. Thus, we become hypocrites whose capitalistic sense drives us to look out for only ourselves and not the well-being of all people. Ultimately, we must realize that man must stay true to all his brothers and sisters. After all, as John Donne said, “”No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”” So we must care for all man with equality and reason, and not let money decide the fate of our actions. ...

Coping with Loving but Neurotic Parents Baffles Middle Child

I am convinced that all students at UCSD at some point in their lives have wished that they had different parents. The idea crosses my mind a few times each year when I struggle to comprehend why it was my luck (or lack of it) to be my parents’ second and most neglected child (at least in my view). I know some people might think I should be grateful for my parents — they are for the most part loving, intelligent and responsible creatures — but a little part of me resents them for being so tormenting. A recent incident in San Diego, in which I was stranded in the cold for more than two hours because my car wouldn’t start, is testimony to my unhappiness with their neurotic behavior. Normal parents would have been concerned for their child’s safety. My parents wanted to know what light I had left on in the car that could have caused the battery to fail. Normal parents would have comforted their child with sweet words and encouragement. My parents told me to call my uncle in Los Angeles and ask him for help (as if he could have somehow tele-transported like an alien on “”Star Trek””). Normal parents would have arranged for a tow truck company to jump-start the car. My parents told me to take my apartment key off my key chain so the tow truck driver would not attack me in the middle of the night, when I was fast asleep. As my anger rose, elevating to a point that would have put the hot geysers at Yellowstone to shame, I struggled to restrain from screaming every epithet known to man at my parents who, in an ironic twist, were actually losing patience with me. Worse, my Ph.D.-possessing father suddenly began to pound me with a swift succession of irritating and illogical questions. The worst was, “”Where are you exactly on the freeway?”” to which my exasperated reply was, “”Dad, how can I be on the freeway when I just told you the car is stuck in the parking lot of an apartment building?”” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an ungrateful brat (at least not most of the time), but how is it possible for me to be a perfect child when I don’t have perfect parents? Perhaps what bothers me most is that my parents are unabashedly, shamelessly fair. Most students would not have a problem with that. In fact, they would probably hunt me down and chastise me for writing a diatribe against crazy (but essentially good) people. Yet, I have come to realize that my parents don’t worship me, which is a sign that either A) they hate me or B) they’re mature. Being mature is a good thing, but not when it is at the expense of a sweet, darling and innocent middle child (that’s me, readers). A little while ago, when I received an angry condemnation from an individual, I ran to my parents, deeply hurt. Their response, “”It’s what you deserved.”” Sadly, I realized my parents weren’t being sadistic: They were just taking his side in order to point out to me how he must have felt in that situation. I ranted and raved about the unfairness of it all, and angrily accused my parents of liking a stranger more than they liked me, their own child. But after much sulking and brooding, I realized my parents were right. That realization annoyed me even more. It’s not a good thing when you realize your parents are better human beings than you are. It doesn’t mean however, that I’m not still thinking of trading my parents for others. If there’s anyone out there who wants two caring adults (potential downside: They tell extremely corny jokes) please contact me. I just hope it’s a fair trade. ...

UCSD Committee Strips Students of Essential Rights

As of this academic year, UCSD students are prohibited from retaining legal representation in administrative hearings of misconduct. By revising section 22.17.16.13 of the Student Code of Conduct, the Student Regulations Revision Committee — which, despite its name, is composed largely of administrators and staff — has struck a blow to the rights we have as students to defend ourselves against any university accusation of wrongdoing. The Guardian condemns any practice of restricting the ways in which students can affect potentially pivotal events in their academic lives. In a process that can have a significant negative impact on people’s lives, a process in which students’ academic futures can be at stake, no option should be denied students for their own defense. After the university got burned by the American Civil Liberties Union and its March 1999 lawsuit on behalf of UCSD student Ben Shapiro to revise the campus posting policy, the university took over a year-and-a-half to actually change the policy despite a federal court order to do so. Despite the university’s “”oversight”” in enforcing a federal court order protecting students’ freedom of speech, it certainly did not fail to promptly thereafter rescind UCSD students’ right to have legal representation in administrative reviews allowed them since 1978, when the Student Code of Conduct was drafted. It seems the university is more concerned with curtailing students’ rights than it is with defending them. It is clear to the Guardian that students’ rights are not getting the priority they deserve at UCSD. The new policy certainly does not benefit students, in that students accused of wrongdoing will not be permitted to have professionally trained representation protecting their rights. Student advocates — who are valuable resources in these situations — simply have not been through the years of schooling attorneys have, and they should not be the only option the accused have. It is the view of the Guardian that nobody should dictate to students who are being accused of an offense how they should go about defending their own rights and interests. ...