Opinion

Nuclear Missile Defense Shield is an Unrealistic Goal

President George W. Bush did not waste much time in affirming that a nuclear defense shield would be one of his priorities during his administration. Nuclear defense was brought to prominance during the Reagan years under the title of the Strategic Defense Initiative, later deemed “”Star Wars.”” Many claim that the money that Reagan spent on this pipe dream forced the Soviet Union to attempt to keep up financially, an action that eventually broke Mikhail Gorbechev’s nation and led to its downfall. Giving credit to the SDI for the fall of the Soviet Union may not be justified, but the Guardian feels that attempting to finish the plans that the SDI started would be a mistake of catastrophic proportions. It is now estimated that a nuclear shield would cost American taxpayers a dollar amount numbering in the trillions. Considering the fact that every trillion dollars that the federal government spends costs the average American about $3,500, the Guardian feels that this exhorbitant sum of money could be better spent elsewhere in the budget. Moreover, we are not certain if all our money and expertise can build a missile shield that would work properly. Tests have been less than successful so far, and most of these tests were done under conditions that make the shield more likely to succeed. Success in life-like situations could be decades away or more. Another point to consider is the reaction from other countries to the building of such a weapon. All great nuclear powers now live under the shadow of M.A.D., meaning “”mutual assured destruction.”” No nuclear country is likely to attack another because of its opponent’s ability to fire back. Due to this system’s implementation, no country has used a nuclear warhead in combat since the United States did in World War II. With the building of a missile shield, the U.S. government would essentially be counting down the seconds left in the life of M.A.D., and entice other countries to bomb the United States before they lose the chance. Even if the U.S. government plans to use the shield strictly as a defense mechanism, the major nuclear opponents of the United States will no doubt see this measure as a way of defeating a second strike, and therefore a way to make a first strike possible. This instability is another important reason why it should not be built. There is no doubt that Bush has some of the finest political minds in the world working for him. It is because of this that his decision to push forward with the missile shield is curious. Whether he is simply trying to make Americans feel more secure, raise his popularity levels from their current meager levels, or he thinks this plan will actually work, the Guardian feels he should reconsider his decision before he makes things worse. ...

Careful Examination of Anti-Zionist Arguments Sheds Light on Movement

With all the controversy over Anti-Zionism Week, I felt a strong desire to abuse my status as a Guardian senior staff writer and completely tear apart the Anti-Zionism Week arguments. I wanted to prove anti-Zionism to be the anti-Semitic travesty that the Union of Jewish Students purports it to be. As an Israeli Jew, I didn’t see a difference between Zionism and Judaism, and Anti-Zionism Week seemed to be an event completely fueled by hatred — hatred of Jews, my people. I was astounded that my A.S. funds were going toward something so atrocious. As an opinion writer, I could have simply written an opinionated piece based on my own assumptions without doing any research at all, and I did. I wrote an eloquently designed article reiterating everything that you could read at the UJS booth on library walk. I even quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. But when Anti-Zionism Week was postponed, for whatever reason, I chose to do some research into the topics of Zionism and anti-Zionism. All of a sudden the controversy over Anti-Zionism Week took on a different nature … and so did this article. I am not going to trash Anti-Zionism Week as an anti-Semitic event, to the dismay of many Jewish students and the pleasure of many Muslim students. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. It is a religiously motivated political movement against a religiously motivated political movement. Though many anti-Zionist proponents may be anti-Semitic, the foundation of the movement is not. As with most controversies, the heart of this one lies in a fundamental misunderstanding. In this case it is two differing interpretations of what anti-Zionism means. According to UCSD Muslim Cultural Club President Eahab Ibrahim, “”Anti-Zionism seeks to return the people of Palestine (Palestinian or otherwise) to the dignity that they had before the Zionists had taken over.”” If you ask UCSD UJS President Wade Strauss, Anti-Zionism Week is “”equivalent to having Anti-Semitism or Anti-Jew Week.”” To find the basis of this misunderstanding, I had to define Zionism. Prior to 1948, Zionism was defined as a desire amongst Jews for a return to the Jewish homeland in Palestine. Its roots can be traced back as far the sixth century B.C., when Jews were exiled from Palestine to Babylon. More recently, in the late 1800s, Theodor Herzl brought Zionism to the limelight in response to various Russian and European “”pogroms,”” or massacres of Jews. After the establishment of Israel, Zionism changed into a movement aimed at maintaining Israel’s status as a Jewish state, as well as making it possible for Jews all over the world to be welcome in their homeland. Anti-Zionism is more difficult to define concretely. Anti-Zionist sentiments have been around since before the Jews were exiled to Babylon and have seen a resurgence in popularity since 1948. Even before Israel was established, there was a strong anti-Zionist push to prevent Jews from attaining Israel as their own independent state. Modern anti-Zionism is thought of as a political movement seeking the return of Israel to its previous owners. Anti-Zionism is not particular to any religion, but it has a predominantly Muslim following due to the fact that Israel is located on land that was mostly inhabited by Muslims before 1948. Some argue that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism; let me dissuade those beliefs. Anti-Zionism calls for an end to Zionist activities, which may be considered racist against Arabs and the return of refugee Palestinians to their homeland, not the removal of Jews from their homeland. In the United States, we often pride ourselves on our separation of church and state. Israel may be the Jewish homeland, but that is not an excuse to give Arabs and non-Jews second-rate citizenship. Israeli Arabs are boycotting the upcoming Israeli election in order to make the statement that their vote means nothing. Having a Jewish homeland means a place to go where I can feel safe and at home among Jews, not a place where I want my non-Jewish friends to feel ostracized. I am not anti-Zionist. Zionists were essential in founding and building Israel, and I applaud that. But in more recent history, Zionism has played a role in creating a major schism in the Jewish population of Israel, and has been a stone around the neck for the peace process. When Yigal Amir killed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995, many people could not believe it was a Jew that killed him. Not only is Amir a religious Jew who cited Jewish law as his reason for killing Rabin, he has been associated with many right-wing activities, activities that could be considered Zionist. Amir is an extremist, and I cannot say his views are expressed by all Zionists, but I will go so far as to say that many right-wing Israelis share similar, less militant views about the peace process. The faction between Zionists in Israel and those more willing to give land for peace grows continually. This upcoming election only exacerbates the problem. With the recent Palestinian uprising, many Israelis are losing faith in the possibility of a real peace treaty. This lack of faith has made Ariel Sharon, a right-wing Israeli, this election’s front-runner. Ironically, many consider Sharon the cause of this recent uprising. I would consider Sharon a Zionist. Zionists in Israel are generally those who are against land-for-peace treaties, especially when parts of Jerusalem are involved. Extreme Zionists are against any land-for-peace treaty, and in some cases against the whole peace process. Despite the rhetoric Sharon has spouted during the election, I firmly believe that once elected, he will revert to his historically right-wing views on the peace process. I fear that with Sharon as prime minister, years of effort toward peace will culminate in a war. I would never say Zionism is bad. Without it there wouldn’t be a Jewish homeland. But I don’t believe that any Arab should have been removed from his homeland to make room for a Jewish homeland. The decision to split Palestine into Israel and Palestine has been the cause of many deaths, and in this situation, I believe no one is right. Jews have lived in Israel for centuries, since before the time of Christ. But so have Muslims and other Arabs, and there is nothing that makes the Jewish claim to Israel more persuasive than the Palestinian claim. Muslims and Jews alike cite religious documents as proof of their claim to the Holy Land. I cannot accept those proofs; I live in the present. I would prefer it if Israel’s current status were examined. Anti-Zionism Week is intended to raise students’ awareness of the Palestinian/Muslim struggle for a homeland, much as Zionists must have done to help bring about the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence. There is nothing wrong with raising awareness, as long as it is not blatantly motivated by hate and does not perpetuate lies in order to sound sanctimonious. Take me, for example: Had this week not occurred, I would have never even considered the Muslim/Palestinian argument. I would have assumed it was completely anti-Semitic and brushed it aside. Instead I have learned a great deal about the Palestinians’ fight to regain their homeland in Palestine, because I looked beyond the rhetoric and found out the facts. I conclude by saying I am still pro-Israel but also pro-peace, and pro-land-for-peace. This isn’t just about an exchange of land for a halt in terrorism. Giving land back would be an acknowledgment of the former Palestinian homeland. If Jews deserve a homeland, so do the Palestinians, whose families have been there for centuries. Before I resign from this topic, I have one final message to the Muslim Cultural Club: The biggest problem with Anti-Zionism Week is its title. Why not “”Pro-Palestine Week,”” or something more positive, instead of an attack on a fundamental Jewish principle? ...

Loss of Counselor Frustrates Students

Megan Cunningham is the counselor for the Visual Arts department here at UCSD. She deals with more than 650 students, helping them chose the right classes and make tough decisions about their majors. She basically helps each student in deciding his or her future. Her job is definitely not easy. Not only must she deal with the frustrations and confusion of over 650 artists, she has to do it all by herself. If anyone were to visit Megan’s office, they would find a long line of students outside her door. She is available for just 3 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 6 hours on Tuesdays and Fridays. That might not seem too bad, but if you think about it, you’d change your mind. For example, say she was able to crank out a session every 10 minutes. That would mean that she would be able to see 18 students on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and twice that on Tuesday and Friday. That’s 126 students a week. That’s with no breaks and no leeway, which is pretty impossible because some students need more help. No one can work like a robot (although Megan comes pretty close at times). Besides, there are over 650 students! (I do realize that in reality not all 650 show up at once, but it sure does feel that way when you’re waiting all afternoon for an appointment.) Cindy Fang, a second year ICAM major, said that she once waited 30 minutes in line, went to class, came back, and waited until the end of the day, and still was not able to see Megan. There are many stories of frustration and angst from the ICAM and VA students concerning the lack of accessibility. Megan is well aware of the problem herself and has talked to her employers but to no avail. Now she has left and art students will have to go to someone who does not possess the 16 years of experience that Megan does, for guidance. This ticks me off. I am a third year, tuition-paying student majoring in Media, and I expect the university to keep my best interests in mind. I believe that, just as I am responsible for going to class and doing the work, the university has a responsibility to provide me with adequate and competent counselors to advise me on the best way in which to go about graduating. I do not believe that by refusing to hire someone to help Megan and letting her leave was beneficial to the students in the least. It does not make me feel secure knowing that for the remainder of this year and the next, I will be going to someone who is new to Megan’s job (since she was the only one doing it before) and is learning as he or she goes. After all, who’s going to train him or her with Megan gone? Maybe I’m overreacting, which is doubtful, but it just doesn’t make sense to me why the Art Department would refuse to hire someone whom Megan can train to help her. You would think that they’d be tired of the throngs of students that congregate in the cramped courtyard in front of the Visual Arts office, but apparently not. Although they might not mind the long lines, the students certainly do, and a new-be at the desk won’t help to shorten them anytime soon. Think about that. Here we are paying all this tuition, (and overpriced material fees if you’ve ever taken any VIS or ICAM classes), and they refuse to hire another advisor to alleviate not only Megan’s suffering, but the students’ as well. Does this sound stupid to anyone else? ...

Christian CD Offers Great Laughs

My best friend called me up because he had received a CD burner and a DSL line for Christmas, which is a bad combination to begin with, and he wanted to know if I had any albums to recommend for his newborn music-stealing frenzy. I immediately answered, “”Kids’ Rockin’ Rappin’ Gospel!”” I received the CD for my birthday and did not think much of it at the time. I’m not really one for joke presents, especially when there isn’t a real present after the joke present, which was exactly the scenario in this case. My friend had just started working at a record store, so I expect he snagged it before anybody else could get to it. Either that or it was sitting in a box collecting dust and he invoked his 30 percent employee discount to get it down to 70 cents. The cover is pretty enticing. At the top, it says “”Kids’ Rockin’ Rappin’ Gospel!”” with a dove. To the right it says, “”Twenty Bible Songs!”” because everyone wants a lot of Bible songs (a dozen really wouldn’t be enough). My favorite is at the bottom: “”Today’s Sound for Today’s Kids!”” If “”Rockin’ Rappin’ Gospel”” is “”Today’s Sound for Today’s Kids””, I’m no longer embarrassed by anything I listened to when I was 10. I always thought “”Today’s Sound for Today’s Kids”” was just edited pop songs, like Christina Aguilera’s “”Genie in a Bottle”” without the sexual innuendos. I remember I was at Disneyland and they were playing that Chumbawamba song, except they had changed all the lyrics so that it wasn’t a drinking song any more — it was really just about pizza and soft drinks. It was pretty disturbing, but now I realize I didn’t know what disturbing really was until I saw the cover of “”Kids’ Rockin’ Rapping Gospel.”” In the middle, it has a drawing of a white girl, a black guy with his cap turned around with a pink boom box and the obligatory Asian kid, all rappin’. Or rather, rockin’ and rappin’. I always thought Cibo Matto was funny, because hey — Japanese rap — but Christian rap? More specifically, Christian kids’ rap? My friend and I put the CD in his CD player and laughed uncontrollably for about 10 minutes. Ever since that day, I’ve kept it in my car and whenever someone new gets in, I say, “”Want to listen to some Rockin’ Rappin’ Gospel?”” and play my favorite tracks. The second track, “”O, How I Love Jesus””, is a pretty solid song and a good introduction to the CD. Most people react by saying, “”Umm. Hee hee. That’s pretty funny. We’re not really going to listen to this are we?”” This is the point at which I switch to track five, “”God Is So Good””, turn the bass up, the windows down and the child safety lock on. “”God Is So Good”” is an innovative song because it only has four lines: “”God is so good / He’s so good to me / He answers prayers, he answers prayers / He cares for me, He cares for me / I love him so, I love him so.”” As the chorus chants “”God is so good, he’s so good to me,”” the kids take turns “”rappin'”” the other three lines. This gets old pretty damn fast, which leads me to the 12th track, “”Jesus Loves the Little Children””. My favorite part of the song is “”Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”” It’s mostly my favorite part of the song because that’s the only part in the song. What I think the Wonder Kids are trying to say here is that Jesus loves the little children of the world, even the Native American Asian mulatto ones, but not the homosexual ones, because they are paganistic heathens that deserve to burn in everlasting hell. One thing I discovered with the CD is that after the 20th track, the songs start over in split-track, with the vocals on the left stereo speaker and the music on the right speaker. So you can turn down the vocals and sing along, or, as the liner notes say, “”This means the soloist you heard on songs 1 through 20 can be turned off so that you can be the soloist! It’s great fun and the lyrics are right here! Now you can take your CD player to school, church, or anywhere and be a star with split-track! Great fun … great singing … great idea!”” According to Webster’s guide to grammar and writing, “”An exclamation point is used rarely, if at all, and in newspaper writing the exclamation point is virtually nonexistent.”” Well, I’ll be! I had no idea! This truly is the most entertaining CD I’ve ever owned in my life, and I highly recommend it to anyone with $4.27 lying around. It’s available at http://www.cdnow.com under “”Wonder Kids: Rockin’ Rappin’ Gospel.”” I’d like to end on a positive note: Jesus loves you. ...

Filling up to the Brim

UCSD always looks empty to me. I don’t know why. It’s fairly easy to appear empty when you have the second largest UC campus with one of the smaller student populations. Although it’s easy to be afraid of change, especially such a big change as school expansion, I view this change positively. Not only would more students bring increased diversity, but the university would have to make a number of administrative changes in order to deal with the influx of students. Some of these changes would include bigger academic departments, more professors, different classes offered and current classes offered more times a year. Tim Kang Guardian Let’s be realistic: This campus could serve a lot more than 20,000 students. The only time the campus appears fully populated is during the day on Library Walk. Geisel Library fills up once a quarter, during finals week. On the weekends, campus is a ghost town. A lot of UCSD resources not only remain unused but also unnoticed. I’m a second-year student here and still unaware of hundreds of things going on the campus where I live. A lot of people complain about student apathy here at UCSD. I think the lack of school spirit could be explained by the separation into five different colleges and the absence of campus unity. With more students added and subsequently more colleges, school spirit will increase. I found out firsthand that the lack of school spirit is more of a school tradition, in which older students inform younger students of the trend of apathy, and younger students play the nonchalant role to fit in. With more freshmen coming in every year, school spirit and campus unity are bound to increase. Less and less freshmen will be aware that they are supposed to loathe UCSD and all its spirit nights. There is a lot of complaining on campus regarding the ability to get certain classes and the small rotation of professors in some departments. With student population growth, the university will be forced to hire more faculty and increase the size of departments as well as the amount of classes being offered. The university should be able to afford to offer more obscure classes for every department. The faculty hired here will also stay at the current level of academic superiority. There is no need to fear the decline of academic standards. In expanding UCSD, the administration will have the examples of UCLA and UC Berkeley to look to in keeping academic standards high while having bigger student populations. Both Berkeley and UCLA have more students than UCSD (each by about 10,000) and are both comparably higher in the “”U.S. News and World Report”” annual college ranking. For those of you who are sports fans, the student population boom will make it inevitable for UCSD to have a Division I athletic department, which will ultimately lead to a football team. A school cannot be a Division I school without a football team. So how, might you ask, will this happen? The administration will be unable to ignore the clamoring of even more student sports fans for a football team. Additionally, UC schools have a history of moving to Division I with the passage of time, as well as with student population booms. UC Riverside and UCSB are examples of campuses that have recently moved up to Division I. It is inevitable that UC Davis will move up to Division I with its success in Division II sports, along with its increasing student base. It is easy to imagine UCSD hitting the 30,000 student mark, and it is nearly impossible to imagine a school with that many people without a Division I athletic program. This will surely bring athletic scholarships to our nerdy UCSD, and subsequent success and notoriety in sports. This is all beside the point. How stupid would the regents be if they passed up the chance to expand UCSD? Here we are, already the third best academically ranked UC campus, in a mere 40 years of existence, located in one of the premier vacation spots in the states, and feeding off a booming Californian population of young scholars eager for a reasonably priced, great education. And to boot, we have tons of acres of land within UCSD lying unscathed, and calling out for thousands of students to keep it company. UCSD is essentially the ultimate capitalist opportunity for the regents. Using public money to expand a public good, and extract greater profit from it. If the UCSD population reaches a certain point, maybe it will be possible for the regents to bring down tuition because of the larger profit they are bringing in. We live in a democracy that survives on capitalism. We go to a public university. We at UCSD cannot say we didn’t see this coming. It is only the American way to exhaust our resources to provide the most enjoyment and wealth for all hard-working citizens. By allowing more students into the university, the regents will increase their profits and satisfy the needs of a growing California middle class. UCSD itself will achieve all of the things outlined in this article. These include more school spirit, Division I sports, bigger departments with a higher rotation of professors and classes offered, as well as the benefits that come with a more well known school name. Maybe UCSD will stop being the secret of San Diego. Maybe I will be able to reply “”UCSD”” instead of “”UC San Diego”” when people ask me where I go to school. ...

Anti-Zionism is Not About Hate

Editor: Have you noticed the flyers describing our student funding going toward the support of hatred and anti-Semetism? Or perhaps you have seen the Union of Jewish Students and the “”Tolerance”” table condemning the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim Culture Club for its upcoming event, anti-Zionism week. As a member of these organizations, and as a Muslim, I must express my disappointment at being misrepresented. I am hurt that we can be labeled advocates of hatred before our event has even taken place, before our voices have been heard. So now I speak, and I hope our message brings more understanding to what our cause truly is. Zionism is a political ideology founded in 1890 by an atheist, Theodore Herzl. According to the “”American Heritage Dictionary,”” Zionism is “”an organized movement of world Jewry that arose in Europe in the late 19th century with the aim of reconstituting a Jewish state in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the development and support of the state of Israel.”” This political movement led to the displacement of the Palestinians from their land of 1,300 years and thus has prevented them from being in their Holy Land. Today, over 60 percent of the Palestinian people are refugees. Their homes were and are being bulldozed as new homes are being established in their place for Jewish settlers. Israel’s military occupation is illegitimate and oppressive. For 52 years, the Palestinians have faced tanks, machine guns, aerial bombings of mosques, bazaars and villages, house demolition, confiscation of businesses, raiding of schools, physical abuse, rape, kidnappings, torture … the list goes on. Unarmed men, women and children are killed every day by Israeli soldiers. Our program is meant to bring awareness to the Zionist state of Israel and the atrocities and dehumanization the Palestinians have suffered. Zionism is a political agenda created about 110 years ago. Judaism is a religion going back thousands of years. And a Semite is a racial and geographical identity. Arabs are also considered Semites. Thus anti-Zionism is not “”anti-“” any religion or “”anti-“” any race. Anti-Zionism is “”anti-“” the political ideology and practices of the state of Israel. It is anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-hate and anti-discrimination. Many Jews and Semites are anti-Zionists. Therefore the claim that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic has no merit. We would like everyone to know that our program was never intended to attack the religion nor the race of anybody. Rather, our program is meant to illustrate the effects of Zionism on a people whose situation has been ignored. “”A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right,”” wrote Thomas Paine in “”Common Sense.”” This is the type of wrong we would like to educate you about. We welcome you to our event, going on the week from Monday, Jan. 29 to Friday, Feb. 2. I leave you with some food for thought. As Mahatma Ghandi wrote: “”Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English, or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct.”” — Muslema PurmulMSA Treasurer ...

Abortion Insert Had No Place in Paper

Editor: Congratulations! The anti-abortion “”advertising”” insert from the Human Life Alliance that was run with the Thursday, Jan. 18 issue was an unqualified triumph. I am an admitted media junkie, and I have seen more movies and read more books and newspapers and magazines than anyone I have yet to come into contact with, and Thursday’s insert was absolutely the most atrocious and bigoted collection of mis-information I have ever seen. It was astounding in its breadth and scope! After a little research, I discerned that it had used every single logical fallacy and form of sophistry known to man. Look at it again: They’re all there! Circular reasoning, false dichotomies, straw man, slippery slope, false cause, non sequitur, faulty analogy, equivocation, hasty generalization, half-truths, over-reliance on authorities, appeals to tradition, appeals to the masses, ad hominem attacks, genetic fallacies, appeals to ignorance, appeals to fear, special pleading, oxymoronic language, strange loops and every possible form of pseudoscience and misuse of statistics on record! Staggering! I find the reasoning of your editorial board rather faulty, as well. To run something simply because it is or is not “”an issue that is discussed or debated in society”” seems like an extremely pale and tepid excuse to accept advertising funds from a fundamentalist religious group with no real interest in either objective news reporting or academia (save the opportunity to shove dogma in front of unsuspecting college students). Holocaust revisionism most certainly gets discussed in society. So does my personal favorite oxymoron, “”creation science.”” But I suspect that your board would deny an offer to publish an insert from our own Institute for Creation Research in Santee, were it to arise. And I’m surprised I even need to say it, but the function of the newspaper is to recognize the discussion and objectively report the opinions of both sides, not to kowtow to whoever greases their palms sufficiently. Perhaps you and the editorial board were under outside, clandestine, nonmonetary pressure to publish such a laughable thing, and if that is indeed the case, it is a big problem, and you have my apologies. But if that is not the case, it is a much worse problem. To hold these views is one thing. To try to foist them on people is another. And to pay to have them published in the form of “”advertising”” (where, as you admit, students usually see special offers from computer companies or travel agencies of textbook wholesalers or electronics/media retailers) in a university publication, and have the newspaper consent to such a thing, is a vastly different situation. A frightfully shameful situation. Perhaps you should have run the Holocaust deniers’ ad. The propaganda in their insert couldn’t possibly have been worse than that of the anti-abortion one. I suspect that the Human Life Alliance (the name itself is a fallacy!) pays to publish these inserts in the spirit of the classic “”if only one woman decides against an abortion, it will have been worth it”” attitude/conceit. The only possible benefit I can see from the irresponsible inclusion of this insert in an otherwise respectable college newspaper is that if only one rabid pro-life woman reads it and changes her stance, simply because she’s embarrassed to be associated with any group that would so callously and recklessly abuse rationality and insult the common sense of womankind, it will have been worth it. — James Beacham Staff, Media Center Letter was Wrong with its Accusations Editor: In the Jan. 8 issue of the UCSD Guardian, College Democrats President Terry Schanz almost single-handedly manages to capture what it is to be a modern liberal Savior. He has worked his butt off, and by golly, you and all who write for the Guardian better not only recognize it, but also support it with all you’ve got. But I — I mean we — did all of the things he said: We yelled at people until they finally broke down and voted; and, if we weren’t imposing our political ideologies on others by dancing around them in a yellow frenzy, we simply threw yellow shirts at them. And you didn’t even bother writing about it More unfortunately, Schanz mistakes the spirit of the Bacchanalia for something productive, claiming that at least for their part, the College Democrats strove to promote political awareness. About the only thing that may be construed as politically edifying would be a strong dose of liberal bombast. Instead, the listener would get an education in liberal rhetoric, and would be ready in a flash to lecture others on the good life. For my part, I would rather become politically astute by simply distinguishing between what is said and what is done. If Schanz wants people to be politically informed on Democratic policies and strategies, permit me to discuss the matter of ex-Secretary of Labor designate, Linda Chavez. Liberals have long been perceived as the protectors of human rights, and in spite of their faulty economic policies, one is compelled to refrain from openly admonishing them for fear of being named as the opposition of all that is humane. After all, how could one dare to stand against these champions of those who suffer from domestic abuse, or those who starve for a decent meal, or those who are, simply put, minorities? But suppose the champions are actually the people whom the liberals are trying to destroy. In 1993, Marta Mercado, sought the help of Linda Chavez. Chavez, as Mercado testifies, fed and clothed her, and helped her find a job. For Mercado, the United States was, at least for a short time, what she thought it would be: a place in which even domestically abused alien immigrants could find safety and work, thanks to genuinely charitable Americans. Several years have passed, and Mercado has since applied for citizenship. But what should be an account of the American dream has now become yet another account of shady politics. The liberal media and the FBI have hounded Mercado with questions concerning Chavez’s care, with the apparent hope of finding something that would save our nation. They forced Chavez to withdraw her name as the Secretary of Labor designate. Not surprisingly, Chavez didn’t exploit a trial as an opportunity to increase her prestige among great humanitarians; she didn’t raid the airwaves; and she didn’t even write The UCSD Guardian, in an angry wreck, and beg for more publicity. She simply withdrew her name, while keeping her class and honor. “”Linda Chavez tripped over the gun and shot herself,”” Nancy Skinner said, a liberal radio talk show host. On the contrary, it is clear that if anyone is accused of “”shooting”” Chavez, the person would be a Democrat. The message should be made plain: If you are a minority or at a disadvantage or trying to make it in this horrible world, we’ll help you as long as you do it under our program — and thereby, empower us. Unfortunately for Linda, she was not so easily sold. But, to her relief, a remnant still perceives the subtleties of the modern liberal agenda. As for Terry, he said he and his crew “”sacrificed countless hours toward an issue they were passionate about.”” And it is indeed a sad thing to have been passionate about something, and to have sacrificed for something, and yet to appear to have never reached the desired outcome of political awareness. — Edward J. Loya Jr. Revelle Senior ...

President Bush's Nomination Further Divides An Already Fractured Nation

As our country begins a new millennium with a new president, I sit and wonder what George W. Bush was thinking when he nominated Sen. John Ashcroft for attorney general. Bush was no more right in his choice than Al Gore was with his declaration that he invented the Internet. If America, and, for that matter, our new president, learned anything from the extensive battle fought in the Sunshine State, one thing should be certain: As our country enters the 21st century, the citizens are greatly divided as to how our country should be run. With this in mind, the first issue on Bush’s agenda should not be tax reform or campaign finance, but domestic healing. By this I mean to assert that Bush must prove his ability by healing a land greatly divided over the turn of events within the last two months. However, Bush’s decision to nominate Ashcroft to head the Department of Justice solely aggravates the current condition of discord in our country, and is quite simply a horrible choice for attorney general. To understand Bush’s mistake, one must understand what the position of attorney general encompasses. The head of the Department of Justice is one of the most powerful domestic positions in any president’s administration. The attorney general is the nation’s top cop and lawyer. He is like the Dick Tracy of the entire country, supervising the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration Naturalization Services and the U.S. Marshals. With this position comes the ability to decide how to spend valuable money and time to combat crime for example, Reagan’s administration spent resources mainly on combating organized crimes and drugs. The attorney general also has a great influence in the appointment of judges to the Superior Court. So why is Ashcroft a bad choice for attorney general? The answers lies within his character, which can be understood by studying his career, and also in the issues that have presented themselves as being relevant in the next four years. Ashcroft’s actions have continuously depicted him as someone who is not the biggest fan of equality. Beginning in 1977, Ashcroft opposed court-ordered desegregation in the public schools of St. Louis and Kansas City. In 1983, he opposed a voluntary busing scheme in which 22 school districts in white suburbs approved having inner-city kids brought to their schools. He has vetoed laws that would help bring out black voter turnout in St. Louis. Ashcroft even helped defeat James Hormel’s nomination to be ambassador to Luxembourg because of Hormel’s openly known homosexuality. Probably the largest controversy surrounding Ashcroft lies with his opposition of the nomination of Ronnie White, a black judge, to the federal bench. Because of this record, many civil rights activists have been enraged by his nomination to head the justice department, and they should rightly be angered. After all, Ashcroft may not be a racist, but it is obvious his personal conservative views are affecting his political decisions to the detriment of equality. Civil rights activists are worried that Ashcroft will enforce the laws he values and deny the works of the past 30 years that strove to establish all men as equal. Ashcroft responds as any politician would, saying he will put aside his personal differences and uphold the law. I say bologna. (I would like to say something else but am not allowed to do so.) How can America trust Ashcroft to uphold laws that he does not believe in, when history has shown that Ashcroft defies the law and does as he wishes, such as he has with desegregation and busing? If America, as George Santayana said, “”does not remember the past, [we] are condemned to repeat it.”” I, for one, do not want to repeat the harsh times when people had to battle for their equality. Civil rights are not all that are at stake, but the issues of women’s rights and abortions are threatened as well. Ashcroft has forever been a staunch supporter of the anti-abortion movement. His wish is for a law that would ban abortion in all cases except when the mother’s life is threatened. Ashcroft even fought the nomination of former Surgeon General David Satcher because Satcher did not support partial-birth abortion bans. Ashcroft’s personal convictions are obviously very important to him and have determined his responses to many policies and people. If Ashcroft has fought against precedents like Roe v. Wade before, what will make him completely change his ways and now support those laws? Or is he assuring the public of future good deeds, so he can become Attorney General and have the chance to alter the laws he despises? The issue is not whether or not abortion is right, but if Ashcroft can support the current laws that say a woman has the right to choose. I say no man with Ashcroft’s record can undergo a full transformation to become something he is not. Ashcroft has even opposed safety locks on guns and the closing of the gun show loophole. Ashcroft even wishes to allow concealed weapons. The National Rifle Association and Charlton Heston have long backed Ashcroft. This is not a man of equality who would enforce laws for the good of all people; he would enforce them only for the good of the people who see the world in his eyes. This is not the job of an attorney general, but rather a job of a senator, as Ashcroft is and should remain. The office of attorney general is too influential and too important for us to let a biased man take it, because the department greatly affects all of our lives. Ultimately, America and Bush should realize that Lady Justice is supposed to be blind. Shouldn’t her right-hand man be so, too? ...

Fire Brings Out the Best and Worst in San Diego Citizens

On my way to school today, the DJ on the radio was going on and on about the Escondido Humane Society fire, which killed about 100 animals and left the rest without a facility. He mentioned that while it was tragic that so many animals lost their lives, it was incredible to see the outpouring of support and generosity that ensued. All over San Diego county, people are donating money, blankets, food, dog bowls, etc., to the Humane Society. While I somewhat agree with the DJ on the tragedy of the fire, I find myself in conflict over different feelings about the response of our fair city. Frankly, I find it pathetic that San Diegans will respond to something out of the ordinary, like a huge fire and a bunch of homeless dogs and cats, but fail to show any of that generosity and compassion on a regular basis. Obviously, I’m not just talking about our love for animals here. My point is that every day in San Diego, there are people who do not have food, people who need clothes and people who have nowhere to sleep. When you zoom out to the world at large, the problems become incomprehensible. The majority of people feel little compulsion to do anything to help those people, but when a few dogs need a home, they break the bank to help out. While I place some value on caring for our animal friends, my personal philosophy places far greater worth on human life than it does on animal life. I don’t see our whole city jumping up and down to send money to the earthquake victims in El Salvador. I didn’t even hear about it on the radio, but I have heard three different DJs whining about the Escondido animals. Though there is a considerable amount of aid flowing to El Salvador’s victims, this brings up another problem: It takes an isolated incident of grand proportions to get people to notice. Because the people that need help every day in our city are not making international headlines, they go ignored. There are no benefit concerts, no fund-raising bake sales, no spontaneous donations. People don’t want to help a cause unless it’s new, exciting and everyone knows about it. If you were planning on scraping a little off the top of your starving student budget to help out Escondido’s animals, maybe you could think a little and find a better place for your time and money. A large part of the population of Escondido, and of the rest of San Diego, has no access to health care (unlike the dogs), no money for food and very poor living conditions. By the time this column runs, I’d be willing to bet that the animals are doing just fine, and there’s nothing more you can do for them. Expand your horizons a little, and look around the rest of the city. Take this as your wake-up call for the day-to-day concerns of all of the two-footed mammals in the city. Let’s take better care of our own species first, and then we can worry about the rest. ...

Bush Chips Away at Abortion Rights

Newly “”elected”” President George W. Bush authored one of his first executive orders Monday, which bans the use of U.S. federal funds for international family planning groups that offer abortions or abortion counseling. As Democrats shed tears and Republicans leap for joy, middle-of-the-road voters should take a deep breath and hold on tight. The speed with which Bush has shed his supposedly moderate stance on abortion rights should disconcert his independent supporters, most of whom support a woman’s right to choose and only followed Bush based on his tax plans. In fact, these independents seem to be getting a nice surprise from their candidate: Thus far, it seems he is more determined to ban abortion rights than to give the tax cut upon which he slipped into office. Bush’s defense of the controversial executive order plays on a traditional Republican belief: that charitable organizations should be responsible for securing and supporting individuals’ rights rather than the federal government, and that private donations can cover the costs of programs such as family planning clinics. This theory, however, does not logically apply to the issue of abortion rights. The U.S. Supreme Court, in 1973’s Roe v. Wade and again in 1992’s Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, has acknowledged that the federal government is obliged to allow abortion clinics to operate and that it also must protect the women and clinics involved in such services. Bush’s new ban is an underhanded, sneaky way of chipping away at Roe’s demand for federal protection of the right to choose. It may be argued that these funds deserved to be revoked simply because they were being sent overseas, and technically Roe’s only requires federal protection of abortion rights in the United States. However, as one of only a handful of nations that supports a woman’s right to choose and women’s rights in general, it is essential that America take a clear, firm stance on these issues in order to voice concern for oppressed women throughout the world. In the last decade, violations of women’s rights have increasingly become more visible: The Taliban regime in Afghanistan denies female citizens essentials such as medical care, education, work and even the ability to move about freely. Meanwhile, the Middle East and parts of Africa have come under scrutiny for unjust practices such as sex slave industries and female genital mutilation. As the current world power, America’s stance on women’s rights is highly symbolic. Without pressure or leadership from a global authority such as the United States, these nations will have no reason to reform their oppressive practices. If only for symbolism, Bush needed to keep these now-banned funding programs in effect, but instead, he has single-handedly removed the United States from the international fight for women’s rights through a single executive order. As America recedes from the front of this war, there is little hope that these nations, already lacking respect for women’s humanity, will make any progress toward equality for women. During his reign at the White House, Bill Clinton successfully reimplemented these funding programs after Ronald Reagan had canceled them. Clinton is also credited with twice vetoing Congressional bills aiming to ban late-term abortions, also called “”partial-birth abortions”” by opponents. Yet, Clinton disappointed abortion rights supporters in his final days as president when he failed to place a moratorium on alterations to these controversial funds, and all federal funds for abortion services and education. Clinton also left office with only 14 percent of American counties able to provide abortion services. Although it is questionable whether Clinton could have had any truly permanent or lasting effect on this issue during his scramble to finish business at the White House, any type of symbolic outreach, speech or appearance perhaps could have delayed Bush’s attack by placing Clinton on stage as the hero in the fight for choice. It truly may have helped cement his legacy as a fighter for women’s rights, and it perhaps would have been a respected, popular and brave way to say good-bye to his loyal abortion rights supporters. Not long ago, a woman may have been able to consider herself lucky to have been born in the United States, for it is a comparatively progressive nation concerning women’s rights. Unfortunately, the Monday maneuver, which happened to occur on the 28th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, seems to be a grave forecast for what the Bush Administration has in store for American women. Within the executive order, Bush states, “”It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion either here or abroad.”” Unfortunately, it is the conviction of many women, including this one, that economic and financial limitations should never render one’s reproductive rights nonexistent. ...