Opinion

Just Exactly How Sweet is it to be Loved by You?

Dear Littles and Germinates, Who loves you? I mean who, really? Have you taken time this new year, this (let’s be honest) only now officially new millennium, to take stock of the people in your life? Do it now. As soon as you finish reading this sentence, close the paper, close your eyes, and review the names and faces of the joyful souls, the fast and firm friends, and the blessings in human guise that make your life worth living. Who did you come up with? Your family? Friends here? Friends at home? When were the last times you paused for a moment to tell them, “”Hey, did you know that I’m glad I’m alive at the same time you are?”” You need to do that more often, don’t you? I’m sure that I do. I am blessed with generous and brilliant parents, a hilarious and thoughtful brother, and many friends near and far who shower me with love, support and inspiration. I don’t thank them nearly enough. I want to take a moment to sing the praises of one particular friend of mine. I invite you to read along, and to reflect on how you might do the same for the people in your life. My friend’s birthday is coming up, which makes this the perfect time to go on record to say that my friend is the one who makes my spirit soar, who gives wings to my life. We’ve known each other almost eight years now. We met in high school and have kept in touch since. We’ve had our ups and downs; times we weren’t speaking with each other; times no one else could get a word in between us. My friend goes to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., so we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. But my friend is very happy there. My friend co-founded an environmental activist group that has made local and state headlines. My friend has played the college game well enough to thrive academically, while retaining a genuine love of learning. My friend has kept in touch with and grown closer to our companions from high school, while gathering a wide and wonderful group of new friends at college. When I came back to San Diego after a year away, I used my friend’s success as a model for what I could do here. This is only one among many ways I draw inspiration from my friend. My friend won a national scholarship last year. My friend brought me a four-leaf clover once. My friend is learning to play catch and to whistle. When the time came, after six years of hitch-hiking, for me to get my driver’s license, my friend was the one who gave me lessons, urged me on, and got up early in the morning to take me to the test. My friend also happens to be beautiful. My friend has a comfortable way that sets people at ease. My friend has a great body, and the right fashion sense to go with it. My friend has taught me to be comfortable with my own sexuality. My friend has taught me new ways of relating to my friends and my family. My friend draws giant chalk murals on the sidewalk. My friend works out three times a week or more. My friend loves olives and hates tomatoes. Who are you thinking of as you read all this? Do they know you think of them this way? Below, you’ll find a personal message from me to my friend. Again, I invite you to read it, and to consider the person, or people, you could say the same things to. Then I’d like you to go and do just that. My friend, There is a box in my heart where joy and wonder and love await the sound of your voice. It is not a box I built; it is a box you found and unlocked in the early days of our knowing each other. Thank you for opening me. Thank you for sharing with me the strength and wisdom of your life. Thank you for teaching me how to share joy and wonder and love with others. My friend, you embody so many of the qualities I seek. You know how to wield focus and effort to accomplish your goals. You study and struggle to understand the world and your place in it. You confront adversity continuously without becoming bitter. You think pragmatically without losing your sense of awe. From you I am learning respect, understanding, humility, discipline and so much more. My friend, when I was weak and tired, you laid me down to rest. When I was afraid and full of sorrow, you held my head while I cried. When I was trapped by fear and self-doubt, you spoke the words that set me free. Your spirit moves me as no other. What I know of the meaning of the word joy, I learned from watching your smile. What I know of the meaning of the word wonder, I learned from hearing your voice. What I know of the meaning of the word love, I learned from holding your hand. My friend, Michelle Sargent, is the love of my life, and I will never be able to express how thankful I am for that. ...

My Wish for 2001: A Year of Political Unity

I actually have a very simple wish list for the 2001 year, for it involves only one request.Not that I expect to get what I ask for, but nonetheless I’m putting it out for the world to see. All I ask for is political unity. For I have become so sick of watching political divisiveness tear our country apart. All I have to do is flip on the TV or open a newspaper to see that politics as usual continues in Washington, full steam ahead without taking into account the terrible toll it is taking on the people. There is so much focus on Democrats or Republicans that a wide chasm has formed between the two parties, and it is almost impossible to breach. It is this hostile political climate that acts to suppress needed reform and keeps the current gridlock firmly in place. Politics as usual in Washington equals no change. Take a look. The past election is a perfect example. The Democrats’ bitterness over losing the election has put them on the warpath, which in turn has put the Republicans on the defensive. Mark my words, no real reform will take place over the next four years. If the past couple months have been any indicator, the Democrats and Republicans will not budge from their all-holy party line. Instead, controversy, attacks and chaos will rule the next four years. I don’t mean to be a cynic, really I don’t, but I’m just telling you what I know will happen based on what has already happened. Or better yet, based on the lack of anything happening. This unhealthy obsession with partisanship and conflict merely enforces the current status quo in which nothing is being done to fix our society’s problems. Picture this: Our country is drowning with so many unfixed problems, yet our political parties won’t stop their bickering and personal attacks long enough to throw out a life preserver. It’s a pathetic but true picture. The issues of reforming education, healthcare and social security, for example, can only be solved when a spirit of political unity is formed. A spirit of bipartisanship that transcends party lines must be created. So my solution: Political parties must go. And in their place we must bring back the ideals of civility, respect, compromise and decency that our country was originally founded upon. There was a time when there were no political parties to divide us and alienate one another. It was the time of Washington’s Presidency. When President Washington left office he warned against forming political parties as they would divide us and undermine the common good. Yet we did not heed his warning, instead we focused on our individual interests and steamrolled to where we are today. The current ”me-centered”” society in which individual rights are seen as foremost serves only to pit individuals and groups against one another, thereby undermining the rights of the collective good. If it’s all about ”me,” and what ”I” can get, then all hope to reform politics is indeed lost. Therefore this antagonistic individualistic trend must go and we must again focus on what is best for the overall public good. Because politics involves more than one person, it involves our entire society. Thus it makes sense to watch out for the good of everyone. All I ask for is political unity. Is it really too much to ask for? Out with the old divisive ways, and in with political unity is my motto. How else will we solve the pressing issues of the day without civility and compromise and political unity as our tools? I see the 21st century as a crucial turning point. It can either be a time for great political unity or political antagonism and division. Our tragic state of politics will never change as long as we don’t. For politics is merely a reflection of who we are, a mirror in which our worst attributes are magnified. So instead of being apprehensive about change, we must embrace it so we can better our society and ourselves. So how about it, are we up for a little political unity, some political change? Or do we like what we have become: ravenous vultures out for blood? Or do we all just not give a damn? Whatever your answer, it won’t cause me sleepless nights. This is after all just a wish list. I don’t expect anyone or anything to ever change. That’s why I’m a cynic. ...

Advertising Insert Controversial, Not a Public Disservice

This issue of the Guardian contains an advertising insert that many on campus will see as controversial. In the past, the Guardian has refused to run similar inserts from Human Life Alliance because they had the potential to give the Guardian a negative image on this campus. We expect, however, that our readers are intelligent enough to realize that the Guardian editorial staff does not produce these inserts, nor do we necessarily agree with them. The Guardian on a regular basis receives money to have advertisements and small magazines inserted into our paper. When the Guardian runs inserts from Yahoo! or Council Travel, it does not mean that the Guardian supports these companies or organizations. Similarly, being paid to run an insert from Human Life Alliance does not mean we endorse its opinions. Even though this insert is a booklet, it looks nothing like our publication, and should not be confused with anything we would produce. The insert is not printed on newsprint like our publication is; each page of the advertisement, including the cover, is clearly labeled “”Advertising Supplement.”” There are no gruesome photos, and the name of the organization is printed on the cover. In addition, we realize that whether we agree or disagree with its opinions, this insert includes opinions that are part of a legitimate debate in society. Last year the Guardian staff voted against running an ad claiming the Holocaust never happened. We feel that an ad such as that does not represent an issue that is discussed or debated in society. On the other hand, the issue of abortion has divided this country for decades. To turn down this insert simply because we might disagree with it would set a precedent that would prevent us from running advertisements from groups on the other side of this issue. In the past, the Guardian has run advertisements from Planned Parenthood without causing any controversy on this campus. This insert is not a public disservice; it is simply one that provides opinions from the other side of this contentious issue. The Guardian believes it is important to be fair, and we will not accept or decline advertisements based upon our own personal or political views. ...

Administration's Failure to Guarantee Housing Worries Apartment-Hunter

As if entering a large university for the first time were not nerve-racking and torturous enough, the freshman class of 2000 also faces the difficulty of finding housing next fall. The class is guaranteed housing on campus for only one year, as opposed to the traditional two years. With 2001 already in swing, there is only so much time for freshmen such as myself to find out where we are supposed to live next year. Whether it be on campus, in an apartment 30 miles away from campus or — dare I say it — in a cardboard box, no freshman is sure of next year’s living arrangement. According to the housing administration, the reason for this unfortunate restriction is due to the fact that admission and enrollment at UCSD have increased, while available housing for this large number of students has decreased. Without space in the dormitories and apartments for all students, the administration has been forced to subtract a guaranteed year of housing. In fact, space has been so limited in the past year that three people are routinely put into two-person rooms, which was the case with my apartment at Marshall college. Another reason for the loss of a two-year housing guarantee is that there would be no room to house the incoming freshman class of 2001, which is also going to be guaranteed housing for just one year. The question all the freshman are probably asking is, “”How will it be determined who gets to live on campus and who doesn’t?”” The answer is through the use of a lottery — luck of the draw — the specifics of which are yet to be mapped out. According to the housing administration, those who have housing this year will most likely have a place to live on campus next year, but the possibility of being denied a space remains. In other words, where some freshmen live next year is pretty much up in the air. With all due respect, it seems that this housing fiasco is more of a problem than anyone wants to acknowledge or believe. While it may be true that most of the currently housed students would get a chance to live on campus again, there are also those poor souls who are going to have to find somewhere else to live. And in case anyone has forgotten, this is the community of La Jolla, where apartments don’t exactly come as cheaply as what a starving college student can afford. Frankly, if UCSD admissions is planning to take an excess of students into the university, then it should also provide them with a place to live on campus for a minimum of two years. It is the responsibility of admissions and housing to collaborate and guarantee housing to students for their freshman and sophomore years. If space is limited, then it is time to consider solutions other than a random lottery. For instance, why not just limit the number of freshmen admitted every year, or build new dorms and apartments as fast as the parking structures are being built? I don’t know about anyone else, but I still have trouble finding my way around campus, and I live here. One more year on campus would help me familiarize myself with the campus completely. It would also be a way for me to save the money I would otherwise spend on an off-campus apartment and its necessities, such as furniture and gas and electric bills. As a freshman, I would want the security and satisfaction of knowing that I would have a place on campus next year. There remains the issue of picking people for housing spaces through this so-called lottery drawing. It would be completely unfair for some to get lucky and receive housing, and for the misfortunate others to get screwed over and be kicked out of the chance for on-campus housing. Because most of us pay the same amount in tuition, excepting those with financial aid or scholarships, shouldn’t we all be entitled to the same chance for housing? Freshmen will really worry about where they are going to live next year. With such limited space, it is impossible for all current freshmen to be housed for another year, but a lottery is not exactly a fair and negotiatable way to decide who should live on campus. While the housing administration may seem to have everything under control, it won’t be long before the complaints and worries kick in. I know I am already starting to stress out about my possible living situation as a sophomore. With space so limited and admissions so high, who knows if even first-year housing will be guaranteed in the future? With the complex and mind-boggling situation at hand, and with all our futures at stake, there is only one more thing to say to the freshman class: Let the apartment hunting begin! ...

UCSD Designed for Lack of College Spirit

Editor: Throughout the course of the year I have read many articles about the lack of school spirit at UCSD. From recent articles about the poor amount of support for school teams, to others about the lack of student involvement and organization, the student body has been accused of basically not caring. Well, I would like to address this claim by issuing a claim of my own: The perpetrator of this crime is UCSD itself. Take a look around the campus and discover the truth: The student body is separated into groups in order to keep it from organizing. A look into the history of the UC system will reveal a ploy to keep the student body from coming together. When the land was originally bought from the government at the time of the founding of this campus, the other two UC campuses, Los Angeles and Berkeley, had just gone through a major period of student organization-led protest movements. Thus came the development of the college system at UCSD, a way to keep student protests and organization to a minimum. Students are separated so as to minimize protest and keep the students from organizing (I mean, come on, how many of us have actually been to ERC?). Notice the blandness of the buildings, especially at Muir, where they look so similar. This form of control is also evident in the Price Center, with certain strategic entrances that can be easily blocked off in the event of student protest, and which is cleverly positioned right next to the police station. Walk around campus and try to find places to sit down with some of your friends; benches are few and far between, as the only time people are really willing to sit on the cement in the Price Center and listen is when Brother Jed is condemning us all to the fires of hell. While the people in charge will push all the benefits of the college system, like a small-college feel at a big university, they fail to mention the lack of all-campus involvement that the system creates. People do not get up for the basketball games, painting their faces and filling the stands, because they are not unified. Events such as the Un-Olympics can draw the whole school together because they bring the colleges together, but to say that we are unified under UCSD is quite difficult when we all feel so separated from those who are not at the same college. As the creation and development of Sixth College begins, I ask people to take a moment and reflect on the system that has developed over the years. The colleges have their advantages, the closeness they create, the individual attention. But expecting an entire university, already divided, to come together and cheer as one at a Division II sporting event, is a lot to expect. Take my words any way you want: as the rantings of a mad man who, perhaps, has had too much time to think since the end of finals, or words that implicate a system set up to divide people in order to weaken student organization. The choice is ours in the end — we can fall victim to the separation, or we can rise above it and unite, taking pride not only in our colleges, but in our university as a whole, together as Tritons. — John Lobato ...

Year of the Dragon in Review

After more than a month of earnest waiting, I was finally able to watch “”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”” this weekend. I had high expectations for the movie, and director Ang Lee more than lived up to them. The movie boasts outstanding directing, beautiful cinematography (the best I’ve seen since “”Braveheart””), lively plot, frantic action, humor and tragedy all rolled into one. A great modern movie based on classic Chinese martial arts films, complete with flying and sword fights, “”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”” was simply one of the best movies this writer has ever seen. The release of “”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”” near the end of 2000 capped a roller-coaster year for Asian-Americans. Like the movie, there were many uplifting moments as well as many tragic ones for Asian-Americans in 2000. The perceived breakthrough of Lucy Liu, the unconstitutional treatment of Wen Ho Lee, the ascent of Asians in American politics, and the godforsaken “”Mr. Wong”” are only some of the conflicting highs and lows Asian Americans experienced last year. With Chinese New Year arriving soon to welcome the Year of the Snake, it seems only justified to glance back at the Year of the Dragon and shed some much needed light on the Asian American experiences in it. Perhaps this article will open people’s eyes, brown ones, green ones, blue ones or whatever, to themselves and to others. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “”He who knows others is learned, but he who knows himself is wise.”” Asian-Americans took great steps forward in the Year of the Dragon, particularly in politics and on the silver screen. Asians are generally stereotyped as indiscreet, “”model minorities,”” taking whatever hits and punches they receive quietly so as not to cause commotion. The year 2000 undoubtedly proved this stereotype wrong as Asian men and women stormed the political front. Perhaps the most prominent example of this political uprising, if you will, is President Clinton’s selection of Norman Mineta as Commerce Secretary. A former mayor of San Jose and member of the House of Representatives for 20 years, Mineta became the first Asian-American cabinet member in U.S. history in 2000. Even though he was imprisoned in an internment camp during the second World War, he does not look back on his life with bitterness, but rather with a voice of optimism. This is a testament to his character (much better than that of his boss) and his ability to reach across the aisle. In fact, President-elect Bush actually appointed Mineta to be Transportation Secratary in his cabinet. Mineta is now a force to be reckoned with in Washington. “”a Magazine,”” a magazine on Asian-American lifestyle, recently conducted a survey on which Asian-Americans had the brightest political future. Names included in the poll were Mineta, Mike Honda and Gary Locke. In this past election cycle, Honda, a former assemblyman, ran against Jim Cunneen for a congressional seat and barely lost. Locke won his re-election bid for governor of Washington state and is already touted as a possible future vice-presidential nominee. Other Asian-Americans receiving substantial votes were S.B. Woo, a former Delaware lieutenant governor and founder of the 80-20 Initiative, Christine Chen, director of programs for the Organization for Chinese-Americans, and Ted Fang, the first Asian-American owner of a major newspaper, The San Francisco Examiner. Another area where Asian-Americans made significant strides in 2000 was the entertainment business. The Year of the Dragon was when Liu became one of Charlie’s angels and her name became a household one. M. Night Shyamalan directed the wildly popular “”Sixth Sense”” and the equally dark “”Unbreakable.”” Angela Perez Baraquio was crowned Miss America, the first Asian ever. Rita Ng was likewise the first Asian Miss California. Movies such as “”Romeo Must Die”” and “”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”” thrust Asians into a strong leading roles. Yes, this writer is aware that neither Jet Li nor Chow Yun Fat are Asian-Americans, but to place Asians into lead roles in action movies in a culture that all too often suppresses such roles for Asian men is, to me, quite a revolution. More important, though, is the popularity of the films across ethnicities. It was well received by most, with Ang Lee’s movie gaining critical acclaim. And then there is Coco Lee. In the immortal words of comic book legend Stan Lee (no, he’s not Asian), “”‘Nuff said, true believer.”” Of course, not everything came easily for Asian-Americans in 2000. With the great stride forward, there is the juxtaposed step backward. In a new decade, in a new century, and new millennium, everyone — whites, blacks, Latin-Americans, Asian-Americans — would like to think that racism is a thing of the past decade, century and millennium. This, however, is as distant from reality as Taiwan is from mainland China on Taiwanese independence. The Year of the Dragon is a prime example of this. The most disturbing case of racism is the persecution of Wen Ho Lee by the federal government. With ridiculous accusations of spying and espionage and even threats of execution, the federal government picked Lee’s life apart. After imprisoning Lee in solitary confinement for nine months, the federal prosecutors did an about-face and released him after he signed a plea-bargain stating that he was guilty of some minor misdemeanor. Only days before, Attorney General Janet Reno had called Lee a threat to national security. Of all the other physicists at Los Alamos National Laboratories, only Lee was singled out and prosecuted in such unconstitutional ways. The reason: He’s Asian and had the most reason to spy for China. The ridiculous part: Lee is not from mainland China; he is Taiwanese. If you’re Asian, or at least Taiwanese, you know this makes all the difference in the world. President Clinton and the U.S. district judge that handled the case harshly criticized the federal prosecutors for their conduct and treatment of Lee. But it was too late for apologies. The Lee case opened a rather large can of worms. It was apparent that anti-Chinese sentiment was still prevalent and brought up memories of Japanese internment during World War II. As “”a Magazine”” writes, “”The question had never been whether Lee was guilty or innocent. The issue was that he had been a victim of the American justice system and a scapegoat for federal prosecutors blinded by xenophobia and anti-China hysteria.”” The most blatantly offensive — and annoying — affront to Asian-Americans of the year must be the “”Mr. Wong”” online cartoon. Portrayed with every offensive stereotype one could place on an Asian — yellow-skinned, bucktoothed, slanted eyes and submissive, Mr. Wong spends his time trying to seduce white women. It doesn’t take a Dimensions of Culture student to see where this is going. It is hard to find the words to describe the ridiculousness of “”Mr. Wong,”” and how utterly offensive it is not only to Asians, but to anyone that has any contact with an Asian. And to call it artistic freedom only shows how far Americans have not gone in race relations. Liu perhaps epitomizes the struggles and accomplishments Asian-Americans went through in 2000. Many view her, and rightfully so, as having made it big in Hollywood. Still, others view her as giving in to the stereotypes that are placed on Asian women by taking the roles. They point out that her roles in movies like “”Payback”” and the sitcom “”Ally McBeal”” play into the seductive, “”dragon lady”” stereotype. Whatever your view on her may be, it is hard to deny that she will continue to make her mark on Hollywood and the Asian-American community. An interesting aspect of the Asian community in the year 2000 that should be briefly looked at is the rise of the outmarriage rate among Asians, particularly among Asian men to white women. In a February 2000 article in “”Newsweek,”” writer Esther Pan referred to Asian men as the next “”trophy boyfriend”” for white women. Some view this as a positive thing, that Asian men are becoming accepted by a society that had before viewed them as effeminate. Still, critics refer to this attraction to Asian men as a new form of fetishism that had before been focused on Asian women. Which of these assumptions holds true will be decided in this new millennium. The Year of the Dragon brought with it much advancement for Asian-Americans. At the same time, it carried with it a stigma of fear and ambiguity. In a few days, the Year of the Snake will arrive. What it holds for Asian-Americans is anyone’s guess. The only thing that seems certain is celebrating Katharine Liu’s birthday. After all, who could’ve known last year that there would be string of Asian-American hate crimes on college campuses or that a Chinese martial arts film would have the best chance of winning Best Picture? During Chinese New Year, those who celebrate it wish one another good luck and best fortunes for the new year. “”Kung hei fat choy”” is the popular phrase. Prosperous wishes. My only wish for the new year is that Korematsu v. United States be overturned. ...

MTV Offers a Rare Chance to Enlighten

As I wandered around my apartment Wednesday night, I was stopped suddenly, distracted by the program that my roommates were watching on television. The program had mediocre acting and I, at first, thought it was one of those silly drama series, but I was instantly intrigued and couldn’t pull myself away from the screen. There were no commercial breaks and I wondered what station was airing the show. To my surprise, it was MTV. It was the special showing of “”A Hate Crime Revealed,”” the story of Matthew Shepard. I recalled hearing about the horrific crime that took place in Wyoming and had read an article about it in “”Time.”” Though it certainly was not the first crime of such nature and magnitude, the case of Matthew Shepard drew national attention. The harsh treatment of gays in America, the “”land of the free,”” needed to be brought to light. The events surrounding Shepard’s death were unsettling. With its portrayal of the violence of the men who attacked him and exhibition of small-town anti-gay sentiment, the program struck emotional chords. But the most disturbing part of the story was the public reaction after Shepard’s death. There was footage of actual events and protests that transpired after his death woven into the movie. The posters that people made in response to Shepard’s death were appalling. Bold letters on posters screamed “”Matt is in Hell.”” To know that the people who made these posters were so-called people of the church was especially disturbing. Those people who claimed to be followers of God were certainly not practicing the unconditional love they believed was so graciously given to them. There can be no resolution when those who should ease the problem only contribute to it. I am not saying all believers are of the same outspoken and judgmental type, but those outspoken people are the ones who set precedence into the public’s eye of what all Christians are like. It is outrageously hypocritical to judge another person without considering one’s own faults. My initial reaction to the show was to praise MTV for sparing an hour of airtime from the bombardment of advertisements. A significant statement was made: This is an important topic that warrants no interruption. The popularity of MTV with youth adds to the impact. Eager young viewers flip to their favorite music channel to find something very different. MTV hopes their interest is piqued by this show and that they might continue to watch and broaden their understanding of such a topic as hate crime awareness. Certainly, many viewers were disappointed to miss their regular program and did not even consider what was being shown. Or even worse, the young viewers may have already been conditioned to think negatively about homosexuality and refuse to open their minds to other ideas. It is not that they should completely change their morals and the way they were raised, but they should at least try to gain a new understanding. One does not have to believe in or accept an idea, but an attempt should at least be made to understand it. It is encouraging to see programs that touch on important events and problems that affect our nation. By educating the people, especially the younger generation, there is hope for less hate in the future. ...

The Many Faces of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton: supportive wife, protective mother, astute corporate attorney, devout social activist and dynamic woman. Or, if you prefer, she is also known as the Nazi first lady, Bill Clinton’s shadow chief of staff, overambitious politician, psycho-feminist, democratic heretic and, more commonly, (insert your personal favorite here). Whatever name Hillary Rodham Clinton has made for herself, whether it be one of praise or one of spite, it is one that is synonymous with resiliency, compassion and ability. When Clinton belts out an intention, whether it is “”I’m going to run for Senate,”” or “”I’m going out for a run,”” she leaves the president, fellow Democrats and opposing Republicans alike shivering in their Bruno Magli loafers, nervous to their wits’ ends in anticipation of the explosion of ideas that usually result from her actions. Sure, the Clinton we all know is the Clinton who wanted to serve as her husband’s attorney general, the Clinton whose health care initiative failed, the Clinton whose hairdo never seems to quite fit and, finally, the Clinton whose sole purpose as first lady is to be a leech on the neck of her husband in hopes of furthering her own political ambitions. All this is wrong. Beneath her exterior, there is a kinder, gentler Clinton. It seems that all we can think about is Clinton’s failed programs, broken marriage and rocky road to Capitol Hill. What stays hidden is the interior of a woman who transformed the traditional role of first lady. For the first time since Eleanor Roosevelt, the first lady did not exist mainly to enhance her husband’s political career; she had an agenda of her own. Clinton is the first first lady to have her own office in the West Wing. From her days with the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas to her days at the White House, Clinton has always been a part of vital legislation. Her drive for educational reform has been one of her biggest works in progress and has made a world of difference in school districts across the country. She has played vital roles in improving access to child care, modernizing adoption processes, fighting for international human rights, attending to Gulf War Syndrome and raising awareness of breast and cervical cancers, just to name a few. Above all this, she has managed to remind America that our children are not “”rugged individualists”” and that “”it takes a village to raise a child.”” Clinton helped establish the Violence Against Women Act and, from her new position in the Senate, she hopes to do wonders for New York’s taxes, environment and education. It is a mystery to me how critics can base their opinions about such a hard-working woman on scandals and events beyond her control. For instance, because of the Whitewater scandal, Clinton is seen as dishonest, self-centered and controlling. But if asked today, most Americans would not even remember what the scandal was called or what it was about. What about the Lewinsky incident, you ask? Do you know anyone else who would forgive her husband for cheating on her, prompting every journalist in the country to vie for her “”feelings”” on the affair? For that, she should receive the Woman of the Century Award. It seems that Clinton is a strong, outspoken and determined woman who lacks the finesse and demure qualities that we have come to expect from a first lady. Many men and Republicans are threatened by her attitude and actions. Her cutthroat political ability and rhetoric leave many to conclude that she is controlling, power hungry and difficult. That’s a new one. Politicians who are controlling, power hungry and difficult? Please, give the woman a break. When you ask Clinton-haters why they despise her, you will get many different answers. Some will say that her policies and ideas have failed. Some will respond with simplistic adjectives, saying she is cold, mean, bossy or selfish. Some will just say that she is a bitch and that they have no other justification. Even if some of her ideas have failed, why should she be considered useless? How can a woman who fights for human and women’s rights worldwide be seen as cold? Does Hillary’s use of her position to voice her ideas qualify her as a bitch? If all these qualities were pinned on someone else other than the first lady, would there be such an explosion of criticism? Probably not. Clinton has graced the covers of nearly a dozen magazines, been at the top of many Most Valuable Politician and Most Influential Women lists and has assisted in many successful democratic campaign victories. Clinton is a team player, a diligent and compassionate worker, a woman of substance, and a person who has always commanded a lot of respect and attention. Though these attributes have made her one of the most loathed women in politics, they are the very things that will make her great. Bill Clinton’s term is ending, but Hillary Clinton is not ready to fade away. One must look at what she has to offer despite her shortcomings. Where else can we find a woman who has supported and defended a husband who has strayed more than once, endured eight years of media criticism, worked on countless legislation reforms, and simultaneously been a mother and run for senator, winning with a smile? Coming to the Senate in the 107th Congress, Clinton will be in the company of 12 other women who will surely change Capitol Hill as we know it. Clinton, as one of the most vocal senators in Congress, will definitely give attention to legislation that would otherwise not have been acknowledged. She is familiar with struggle, controversy and hard — sometimes futile — work. Clinton will be one of the grandest additions to government simply because of her resilient character. Although she will be reminded that she is not a popular figure, and many will argue about her ability to perform, one thing is certain: When the next first lady or female senator or the first woman president storms D.C., she will have Clinton to thank for paving the way. Whatever your opinions on this lady may be, it is advisable to see beyond her rough demeanor and image and actually look at what she represents. You may discover she is not so bad after all. You may even like her. ...

Uncertain Future Awaits Graduating Senior

Well everybody, happy New Year. Seniors, it’s officially time to start worrying about what you’re going to do after spring finals. While I’ve been thinking about the ominous future for several years now, it has suddenly dawned on me that, come June, I will no longer be a student. Even if I decide to apply myself to graduate education to postpone my career path, I have to do something during the down time. This realization provoked a few minor panic attacks during my otherwise restful winter break: What am I going to do with my life? How am I going to get into medical school? Do I really want to be a doctor? Do I want to spend the rest of my life pipetting microliters of solution? Should I run off to Guatemala and work with street children instead? I’m sure the rest of my fourth- and fifth-year brethren share most, if not all, of the above sentiments. Even if you’re not seriously considering the plight of Latin America’s children, you’re probably trying to figure out what you are supposed to be doing with your life, and how you’re actually going to make that happen. If you already have that all figured out, please stop reading. The hard truth is that no matter what we decide now, the odds are pretty good that we’ll make some drastic deviations from those plans in the future. You’ve already seen this in college: Half of the pre-meds decide to go into psychology, and a good portion of Revelle jumps to another college to avoid the humanities sequence. After school, or between schools, people are also allowed to jump areas of interest. Don’t worry so much about what you’re going to do in June; chances are, it won’t be permanent. While I hate to drag my family into my school’s newspaper, my father is a perfect, almost laughable, example of what I’m talking about. After getting a degree in business, he went to law school, graduated, and then decided not to take the bar examination. Thus, he never practiced law. He then went into the commercial real estate business for a while. After getting bored with that, he built a boat and became a commercial swordfisherman for several years. Since then, he has revisited real estate, left real estate and formed a pay phone company. The pay phone market is crashing due to cell phone usage, so he has something else up his sleeve … I’m clueless. My dad is a crazy example of a career switcher, and he enjoys being self-employed more than I ever will, but it’s an interesting case nonetheless. If he can go from law school to fishing in a span of two years, then I can change my mind about what I’m doing, too. My point here is that even though we’ll all graduate from UCSD with a great education, we don’t necessarily have to use the knowledge from our degree. We can be flexible. I have one friend who is graduating with a degree in biology and plans to work with the high school students at her church. She won’t be using her biology knowledge in that occupation, but that intellect will sure help her if she decides to go back to school and do research, so her education was not a waste. Your degree, whatever it is, just gives you more options for a life plan. Don’t limit yourself to your “”field,”” and don’t feel like any decision you make now is permanent. With this perspective, it’s a lot easier to think about June. Even if the summer finds me pipetting alone in a lab somewhere, there’s always the next summer for Guatemala … or grad school. I just hope I don’t end up chasing swordfish. ...

Editorials

The conservative former Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft recently received widespread criticism upon his nomination as attorney general. The Guardian feels this criticism is warranted and that Ashcroft’s extremely conservative congressional record makes him an unfit choice for an office of such significance, and that a more moderate politician would be better qualified for this position. A vocal opponent of affirmative action programs, Ashcroft voted to end funding for struggling minority- and women-owned businesses. He also opposes all abortions, including those sought by victims of rape and incest. Ashcroft also voted against an increase in the minimum wage in 1999. The former senator’s approach to environmental and foreign policy is equally conservative: He opposed a bill that decreased government funding of logging road-building in national forests and he voted to decrease funding for researching solar and renewable energy. In addition, in 1997 Ashcroft voted against a bill that would favor China firms that had adopted a code of conduct on human rights. On gun control, he supports the right to carry a concealed weapon and, in 1999, he voted against mandatory background checks at gun shows. Ashcroft also has supported legislation that infringes on the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and privacy. He supported the Communications Decency Act, which would have censored and filtered Internet content regardless of users’ preferences. Also, he voted for mandatory honorable discharge of all HIV-positive military service members. The Guardian feels that this politician is clearly the most partisan-voting, right-wing party loyal that President-elect George W. Bush could have chosen for the weighty office of Attorney General. We feel overall that the attorney general’s office should be held by a less extreme partisan. Though many argue that the opinions held by the Attorney General would not affect his or her ability to execute the laws, such views would carry great weight within the Justice Department itself. Such internal attitudes guide policy development and steer the course of legislation that the Department collaborates on with the Congress. Digression with regard to policy and action has undeniable consequences in the Justice Department’s interaction with the executive and Congress. An ideal Attorney General must guide policy options with such offices in the interests of bipartisanship, not extremism. Ashcroft does not fit this description and would certainly develop Department policy in the adverse interests of most Americans. ...