Opinion

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. ...

Fractured Down the Middle: The U.S. Senate Splits in Two

When voters went to the polls on Nov. 7, 2000 to decide the future leadership of this country, they expected the outcome of the election to be very close. Nobody could have imagined how close the results were. In the end, America witnessed something that had never occurred. Yes, the presidential protests and contests went on for 35 long, arduous days, and George W. Bush was finally declared the winner of the 270 electoral votes necessary to become the 43rd president of this great land. The historical importance of the election does not, however, lie in the election of the chief executive, but in the U.S. Senate. For the first time in this nation’s history, the Senate will have a split of 50 Democratic senators and 50 Republican senators. On election day, voters from across the country sent to the Senate freshman Democratic senators hailing from Delaware, New York, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, Missouri and New Jersey, and two freshman Republican senators from Virginia and Nevada. The freshman senatorial class of 2000 includes Jon Corzine of New Jersey, a former Goldman Sachs chief executive who spent $60 million of his own money to win a position in government that pays a paltry $141,300 a year. There is Jean Carnahan, who will be replacing the first-ever deceased person elected to the Senate, her husband Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan. Not to be outdone, there is of course Hillary Clinton, who is the first first lady to be elected to the Senate. A final “”first”” of notable mention is that there will be 13 women serving as senators in the 107th Congress. To be sure, 2001 can be titled “”The Year of the Woman in the Senate.”” All in all, Republicans who used to enjoy a 54-to-46, four-vote margin over their Democratic counterparts have now lost that margin and now must count on Vice President-elect Dick1 Cheney to cast the constitutionally mandated tie-breaking vote if it ever becomes necessary. In the two election cycles since the Republican Revolution of 1994, the Republicans have been cut down each time. Democrats hope that they will become the majority party. Observers note that the 107th Congress will be run with the campaigns of 2002 and 2004 constantly in view. The quickest way to guarantee a Democratically controlled 108th Congress is to portray the Republican-controlled 107th Congress as a do-nothing Congress and run a campaign purporting that nothing was achieved. The argument will be that, by returning the Democrats to power, the voters will be able to get rid of gridlock and have the representatives of the people return to doing the work of the people. Though it is easy to say that nothing will be achieved in the nearly evenly split Congress, there is one strong force that can guarantee that work will be done. That force is the desire for power, namely presidential power. It will be impossible for any senator to run on the record of having accomplished nothing. It is hard to run a campaign — let alone a winning one — in which the candidate cannot name any major legislation that he fostered or co-sponsored for passage. For Democrats and Republicans alike, the issues of job security and the achievement of higher office will require that work in the Senate be accomplished. The first order of business the Senate will tackle will be the confirmation of Bush’s cabinet nominations. It is generally agreed that the majority of the nominees will be quickly confirmed with very little opposition, as is the tradition of letting a newly elected president assemble his team as he wishes. The nominees for the Bush cabinet have been widely praised. To begin with, the cabinet nominations “”look like America,”” to borrow a phrase from the Clinton years. Bush has, by most accounts, chosen highly qualified people who are capable of doing the jobs for which they have been nominated. In the process, the president has sent a clear message from Washington that the American dream is still alive. However, there have been some rumblings from the left and far left on a few of the nominations. Many of the special interest groups that were in no way nonpartisan and in no way favorable to Bush’s campaign seem to imply that they have veto power over his nominations. There are questions about whether Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft played the race card in defeating the appointment of a black judge, Ronnie White, to a lifetime position on the appeals court. By and large, this question will be answered and most, if not all, of the nominees will be confirmed. Though the groups that are raising the questions, including Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, the Rainbow/Push Coalition and the AFL-CIO, are in a losing battle to deter Senate confirmations of the cabinet secretaries, it is increasingly clear that they are seeking to tee up for any upcoming Supreme Court nominations. What these groups are seeking to do is show the nation and their senators that they do have some power and are capable and willing to exert their political muscle when the time comes. The message they are sending is that when Bush does nominate a justice to the Supreme Court, the groups will oppose that nominee because of disagreements over policy and the issues very near and dear to them. Due to the fact that these liberal groups and organizations were not able to get either of their men in the White House, they are exerting their political muscle now and warming up for the bigger battles to come. Once the Senate has finished confirmation of the cabinet, it will move on. There will be two things that the Senate will act upon very early during its session. The first issue will be the contentious matter of abortion. The Senate, even with newly elected Democratic senators, will pass a partial-birth abortion ban. This ban has a good deal of support from Republicans and Democrats alike, including California’s own left-leaning Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The Senate ratified a ban in the past, only to have it vetoed by Clinton. The Senate once will again pass a ban on this medical procedure, and this time it will be signed into law by Bush. The second order of business that the Senate will deal with is the slowing economy and a tax cut. There is only a slim chance that Bush will be able to receive his $1.3 trillion tax cut in its entirety, yet a reduction in taxes will be dealt with. Once again, the greatest indicator of what will occur is what has occurred. The Senate ended the death tax and the marriage penalty. Those bills, however, were once again vetoed by Clinton. The Senate will be able pass a hefty tax cut on to the American people with the signature of the new president. Following a tax cut, there are many issues that the Senate can and will deal with. There is the reform of the public education system, campaign finance reform, the strengthening of America’s military, and the restructuring of Social Security. These important issue have strong bipartisan support from our elected officials and the voters who have put them in their positions. Though the naysayers claim that gridlock will rule Washington, the evenly divided Senate will cordially and, in a bipartisan manner, get the work of the people done. They will pass legislation that common sense requires. Through the combined efforts of the 100 senators and Bush, the lives of Americans will be improved. Those in office, whether Republican or Democrat, will be able go to their home states and say that they deserve to be re-elected. Others will be able to take their legislative records to the nation and give primary voters reasons to vote for them. ...

Letters to the Editor

Editor: I write to you with great concern and disappointment regarding your Nov. 14 article on the perceived lack of political activity at UCSD during this past election. A profoundly large number of students played key, active roles in this current election cycle. Political groups on campus flourished with the heightened awareness that the election brought. Thousands of students registered to vote on campus and showed up to the polls on Election Day, yet the Guardian, for whatever reason, failed to report on such activities. With a current membership of over 150, the College Democrats at UCSD organized and mobilized an unprecedented political awareness campaign on campus this past year. The College Democrats began a voter registration campaign at the beginning of fall quarter and registered students to vote on Library Walk every day for nearly a month straight. The College Republicans and Students for Nader also participated in successful voter registration efforts. We at the College Democrats were able to register over 1,300 students, faculty and staff. Resident Advisors, student organizations and even professors asked representatives of the different political organizations to speak at various voter information sessions. A number of UCSD students were even hired by various local candidates and issue-campaigns during this past election cycle. And yet, the Guardian, fully aware that these activities were occurring, failed to report on any of these highly visible and important events. There were a number of political rallies and activities at UCSD during this past election cycle as well. UCSD was a particular hot spot, attracting local, national and international press coverage of the various events it held. The College Democrats brought author and activist Gloria Steinem, now Congresswoman Susan Davis, and now Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe to UCSD for a lunch-time rally. The A.S. Council sponsored a debate between congressional candidates Susan Davis and Brian Bilbray. Students for Nader welcomed the Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Medea Benjamin to campus, and the College Republicans scheduled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell to visit campus; all in an honest and noble attempt to raise student political awareness and participation on campus. On Election Day, the College Democrats organized nearly 100 students wearing bright yellow t-shirts and placed them throughout campus and in phone banks encouraging students to vote and be part of the process. As a result of our mobilization efforts, there was a dramatic increase in on-campus voter turnout compared to previous election cycles. And yet, the Guardian claims that there was no political activity on campus and that student turnout was nearly nonexistent. To say that political activity lacked on campus is simply false statement and an indication that the Guardian is desperately out of touch with the pulse of the student body. Instead of filling your pages with claims that left-wing bigots are running rampant throughout campus, I would encourage your writers and editorial staff in the future to report on the long hours and positive work that the various student political organizations devote toward breaking the stereotype of youth apathy toward the political process. The students of UCSD should be commended for their participation in this past election. Whether they simply made it out to the polls on Election Day, or sacrificed countless hours toward an issue they were passionate about, the students of UCSD demonstrated an inspirational spirit and an unwavering commitment to their community, their nation and the political process. Terry Schanz President, UCSD College Democrats ...

A Trip to India Offers a Slew of Experiences

Some go to India for spiritual enlightenment. Others go for a chance to connect with their roots. And others, well, they go for the pashmina shawls. I, however, went for a carefully blended mixture of all three. Except I also left the luxuries of a “”first-world”” nation in order to escape from the chaos of school, a broken heart, and other tragedies. When I strapped myself into the seat on a Singapore Airlines Flight, my stomach lurched as the plane took off — not because of the sudden altitude climb, but because so much had happened in the week prior to my departure that had stained whatever good feelings I had going to India. For one thing, I received a D and a F respectively on my first two Bio midterms (I hope my parents aren’t reading this) and even my last-ditch effort to redeem myself on the final which I aced (in comparison to the midterms) wasn’t enough to get me more than a C in the class. So much for medical school. I had also destroyed any integrity I possessed by becoming foolishly infatuated with someone who reacted with more amusement than annoyance (thank God) to my poor attempts at conversation, but will probably always think of me as that “”hairy psycho.”” To top it off, I behaved like a rotten brat when I screamed at my mom for not packing the proper clothes for me and wailed to my best friend that not only had I destroyed my first quarter grades, but also terrified an innocent boy in the process. Yet, thanks to the makers of UNISOM (a sleeping aid) and some fervent prayers, I drifted out of my tortured conscience and fell asleep for a few hours on an airplane filled with crying babies, cantankerous adults and a serious shortage of cute guys. When I finally arrived in Delhi, India’s capital, after an arduous journey that consisted of tens of hours in agony, sitting in a poorly ventilated plane, I was ready to kiss the ground. Well, almost. As I strode confidently into the waiting arms of my relatives, I was filled with a satisfaction that everything would be all right. I would 1) finally figure out the meaning to life (as I was assured by my father that I would be able to interview his holiness, the Dalai Lama, due to my grandfather’s connections) 2) wow attractive foreign Indian guys with my amazing prowess in cosmopolitan fashion and etiquette (yeah, right) and 3) lose 10 pounds due to the absence of delicious American brand chips, candies, cookies, etc., that I have a special fondness for. All my problems would be solved. Once I shed my “”baby fat,”” (although I’m a bit too old to use that phrase) flashed my dimples, and learned how to coordinate my balance with my high heel shoes, I would be the hottest thing to hit India since Gandhi. Or so I thought. My plan quickly unraveled when I realized in Delhi, it was much more practical to wear my lucky Batman T-shirt (a far cry from sophisticated elegance) and scruffy tennis shoes to avoid having dust and dirt and cow dung being splattered everywhere. As I tried to find my niche in Delhi among a plethora of cows, cars and people, I found myself losing my desire to portray myself as a sophisticated American when I had so much to learn from the people and places around me. I suddenly felt ashamed that I wanted to lose weight when skinny four- and five-year-old children were approaching me, asking for a few cents so they could eat. I felt overwhelmed by a sense of guilt and a stronger feeling that in college I had hardly given a thought to someone in desperate need of food or shelter. Although I was not in the least as benevolent as Mother Teresa when I was in Delhi, I tried my best to make amends for my arrogance by slipping those children money and chocolate when my relatives weren’t looking. But if I had any stains on my soul due to my sins, I certainty thought I could erase them when I boarded a box of cardboard that faintly resembled a functioning aircraft as I set off for Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama spends much of his time in between his hectic schedule. I was nervous for two reasons during the flight. One was my concern that I couldn’t think of anything terribly profound to ask or say to and the second was that the pilot of the craft which held nine people, including me, excused himself out of the cockpit to get a newspaper and a sandwich. My goal of wowing the Dalai Lama with an eloquent vocabulary changed as the turbulence rolled and shook the aircraft (while the pilot caught up with the latest news in India) and switched to merely getting the chance to see the Dalai Lama while I was still alive. As the plane finally landed on the thin airstrip set in the middle of a field (we had to circle around a few times because a stray dog had parked itself on the “”runway””), I became giddy with excitement. Not only would I impress the Dalai Lama with my excellent verbal and written skills but my interview with him would be so thought-provoking and ground-breaking that I would no doubt impress my editors and eventually win the Pulitzer Prize. My hopes were dashed however as soon as I set foot in Dharamsala when someone gently broke the news to me that the Dalai Lama was on vacation and would return a few days after I was scheduled to return to Delhi (providing I survived the plane ride back home). So much for spiritual enlightenment. Yet, even without meeting the Dalai Lama, I felt I learned a lot while walking the same paths that no doubt he walks often while in the town. I explored Buddhist temples, joined various nationalities as they participated in their religious rituals and sparked conversations between a variety of merchants and professionals walking the dirt roads. Sure, electricity was unreliable, the food was repetitive, and showers were hot buckets of water, but I survived. There were difficult times, of course. Me walking in on my grandmother taking a shower was quite troubling, and when I became sick and had to use the restroom numerous times, the theories and discussions about my condition by various people outside the door were quite irritating as well. But I suppose this is what the journey of life is all about (if I can attempt to sound philosophical for a moment): good moments and bad moments and several in-between moments. When I got back to Delhi, I got over the fact that in the end, after much hoopla, I never did end up meeting the famed Buddhist spiritual leader. I had, in fact, met so many other people who had taught me a lot about Buddhism and a humble existence that I often hear little about in my environment here. Although, interviewing him wouldn’t have looked too shabby on a resume. As the trip wound down and I arrived in Bombay, I became a little homesick, content that I had discovered many things in my parents’ homeland but anxious to see my family and friends again. That feeling soon disappeared, however, when I hit the town with my cousins and siblings on my birthday and New Year’s with a slightly more svelte self (throwing up nine times and suffering from food poisoning twice clearly contributed to this) determined to once again show India’s millions and millions of people what they would soon be missing when I returned home. I lost my inhibitions as I shimmied alone up on a dance stage (due to the fact that a cute guy had approached my 16-year-old sister to dance and not me) and was suddenly transformed from insecure adolescent to confident vixen. Well, almost. Tripping head first over stairs kind of brought me back to my senses again. But all in all, taking a trip to an exotic land was well worth it, even if my poor stomach endured a lot of pain. It opened my eyes to the plight of others, helped stretch my own imagination and encouraged me to be more confident in my own abilities. It also made me realize that losing a little weight didn’t exactly give me the magic pill of happiness I desperately craved. Oh, and I think my heart is OK again. Besides, I think my former crush has a gorgeous girlfriend anyway. Luckily, my experience in India has enlightened me to what’s really important in life: sanitized food, good music and, of course, family and friends. Although a romance with a dashing Maharaja would certainly have been nice. ...

Christmas Eve was Herald to a Bad Break

Life is full of irony, isn’t it? The holidays are supposed to be a time of joyous celebration. Well, my holidays were of no such things, to say the least. True, I do not celebrate Christmas, but I still got a few gifts. Some dress shirts, a J. Crew tie and a bottle of Issey Miyake cologne. Great gifts; I like them all, especially the cologne. I’ve been meaning to buy it for a while now. It has this light citrus smell to it. But in light of another present, it all seems so … futile. Santa Claus was generous enough to deliver his gift for my entire family early this year. It came in the wee morning of Christmas Eve (at 3 a.m. actually, as opposed to later that night). Not a thing was stirring, not even a mouse, when the phone call ruptured the silence. I stumbled to bed only an hour before my uncle called. Brrrng! Brrrng! My eyes popped open. Brrrng! Brrrng! My mother picked up the phone. A few minutes later, I could hear her hang it up. My father woke me up in the morning to inform me of Santa’s gift. But he didn’t have to. I’m no fool – I knew exactly what the news was. The entire family, for almost a year, knew this present would eventually arrive . And like a lump of black coal, none of us were anxious to get it. It doesn’t take a fourth-year English Literature with an emphasis in Asian-American works to ascertain that there was a death in the family. My paternal grandfather passed away Christmas Eve. He was a whopping 92, almost 93. He had been sick for almost a year, in and out of the hospital a couple of times. This time, his kidneys failed him. He left behind a slew of daughters and sons, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. My two brothers and I were his, as the Vietnamese saying goes, “”cream nugget,”” or “”cream-filled center.”” Vietnamese pastries are often filled with a sweet paste or cream, and what the idiom basically means is that my siblings and I were his favorite grandchildren. We came to the United States when we were very young and were able to make the most of it: We are, more or less, successful in our lives. We went, or in my case still go, to prestigious schools and have, in my brothers’ cases, thriving careers. If you were Asian, or at least Vietnamese, you would understand the importance of this to grandparents. Despite this bestowal of pride on the three of us, we were never close with him. I do not have a lot of memories of interaction between my grandfather and myself. I do distinctly remember one, though. Bear with me as I retell it. When I was younger, my family would often drive from Sacramento to San Jose to visit my grandparents at my uncle’s house. This time we were spending the weekend there, so I lugged along my box of G.I. Joe figures. It was morning. I remember it being cold. I brought out my box to the living room. My grandfather sat down next to me and picked up one of the figures, probably wondering to himself what the hell I was playing with and why the figures were so damned ugly. I proceeded to explain to him the figure’s name (I think it was Hydro-Viper) and what weapons he had and what he could do. He picked up another one and I again told him about that figure. As I had mentioned, we were not particularly close. As sad as I am over his death, I didn’t find myself grieving at his funeral. I am more sorry for my grandmother than for myself. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that practically everyone was sniffling when my grandmother, tottering on her cane, slowly approached the casket to light an incense stick and to view her husband of 70 years for a final time. I don’t know why I’m writing all this. There isn’t a real point to this column. Maybe it’s more of a catharsis for me. Or perhaps it’s an opportunity to better cope with the irony of this past holiday season. Well, it’s not working. ...

For better or worse: Breaking Down the Barriers

As UCSD students begin yet another quarter at our fine university, they will endure a second onslaught of tests, midterms and finals. Amid all the drama and excitement that typify college, I begin to wonder how many students take time to truly reflect on the process in which many of them were granted admittance. Frostenson Guardian Because of the passing of Proposition 209 a few years back, many of today’s students have not had to worry about dealing first-hand with the effects of affirmative action. Since 1995, the debate over the legitimacy of affirmative action has raged, fueled mostly by conservatives such as Pete Wilson, Dinesh D’souza and Ward Connerly, though many so-called liberals, too, have been vocal members of the opposition. Many opponents of affirmative action in California bring up the familiar argument that such practices are racist and support a form of “”reverse discrimination,”” wherein certain more qualified students get denied admittance to UC schools over less qualified minority students. They go on to argue that even though admissions boards may no longer maintain specific racial quotas when deciding who to accept and who to deny, they are still unfairly influenced by a racial agenda. The case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke in 1978 is often cited by affirmative action critics to support their stance. In it, Allan Bakke sued the University of California for twice denying him admittance to the UC Davis School of Medicine. According to Bakke, although his test scores were higher than many of the minority applicants the school admitted, he was still rejected because he was white. Ultimately, the case went to the Supreme Court in which the justices ruled 5 to 4 that UC should admit Bakke. The decision further states that schools cannot use racial quotas in determining who they accept. However it leaves open the practice of considering race in admissions to encourage diversity. While I agree with the notion that students should be judged by their own merits, I also recognize that we do not live in a perfect world — that is, judging students on an even playing field, the fact of the matter is that everyone is not on an even playing field. To assume that would be a naive and misguided attempt to ignore all the inequality that exists in our society today. This is where the case against affirmative action is weakest. Too often affirmative action has suffered from being overly scrutinized for the moral and ethical issues that it raises. What is often forgotten in the debate are the systems of discrimination that created a need for such a program in the first place. For opponents to suggest that admissions boards judge a person solely by their own merits as if we were all equal would be a dire mistake; it conveniently implies that our society is and has always been cured of the prevailing disease known as racism. Unfortunately, this simply is not the case. Historically, groups of people have been disenfranchised and marginalized in numerous institutions exclusively on the basis of their race. Affirmative action should be seen more as a necessary, albeit flawed, remedy for creating greater opportunities for groups who normally experience considerable inequalities.. Without a program like affirmative action, we would have a system that only serves to further polarize and segregate our society. In many ways, this is precisely what has happened over the past few years at UC campuses, as well as colleges across the nation. Minorities in general are increasingly absent from most student populations, particularly in elite colleges. UC Berkeley and UCLA have suffered from a lack of more diversity as a result of Prop 209 and its subsequent abolishment of affirmative action in state programs.. UCSD is definitely no exception in this regard. At a recent Graduate Diversity Conference hosted by UCLA, Patricia Gurin, a professor at the University of Michigan and one of the state’s expert witnesses in an affirmative action suit against the university, expressed the crucial role programs such as affirmative action play in society. “”Knowledge is not just what you think or what you know, but how you think and how you discover new information. This is affected by diversity,”” Gurin said. Diversity should not necessarily be the narrow goal of affirmative action, but more of a positive byproduct. The true goal of affirmative action and the reason it should be reinstated in the UC system has always been social justice. We can no longer live in a “”color-blind”” society, pretending that race and socio-economic status do not matter in today’s America. It is time we remind ourselves that race does matter regardless of how much we buy into the lie that we are all equal, or at least treated as such. Affirmative action, or some form of it, will always be necessary so long as we live in a society that continues to create inequalities between a majority that is content to maintain the status quo and a minority that struggles to conform to the mainstream majority social and cultural faction. ...

President Clinton's Legacy is a Mixed One, Both Good And Bad

The excitement of Election Day has come and gone and all the controversy surrounding the selection of the next president is finally coming to an end, so slow down and catch your breath. At last, the consequences of what transpired Nov. 7 and in the weeks that followed can be fully analyzed. We now know who won which elections and can debate about what their victories will mean when they take office. On the other hand, I have decided not to do that. I will not write about my thoughts on the new president, the “”chad,”” Florida or any of that. I even promise not to mention the new president’s name. Instead, I will focus on the outgoing president and what transpired over the past eight years and perhaps give you a new take on his presidency. Love him or hate him, William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, is nearing the end of his second term. Affectionately considered a “”lame duck”” by students of political science, Clinton has spent the last few months of his presidency out of the limelight, not able to do much with the Congress, as he no longer has any bargaining leverage. When the new president is inauguarated, exactly eight years will have passed from the time of Clinton’s inauguration. Looking back, we cannot help but wonder what mark Clinton will leave for America. What single event will a person first remember when the name “”Clinton”” is evoked? In other words, what is Clinton’s legacy for the American people? Most presidents of the 20th century carry a legacy. Franklin Roosevelt led us through World War II and left us with the New Deal. Lyndon Johnson intergrated the country with the Civil Rights Act and the Great Society, but tore it in half with the Vietnam War. The bitter legacy that Richard Nixon left continues to affect how Americans view their government. Ronald Reagan left Americans a legacy of unfulfilled possibilities, which were only realized later in the Clinton administration. That, and a huge debt. George Bush, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism, left Americans with a new sense of national pride. What will be Clinton’s legacy? When considering what Clinton has and has not accomplished over the past eight years, an interesting aspect should be pointed out. Clinton seems to epitomize a type of self-juxtaposition, not only in policies but character as well. To determine his legacy, both must be examined. One option that Clinton can claim as his legacy is the tremendously strong economy. Clinton entered the White House while the economy was in a recession. When he leaves office, the country will be coming off one of its largest economic booms in history. The New Economy has made many Americans very weatlhy and has brought about advancements in technology. Is it fair to say that we can thank Clinton for these wonderful times? Unfortunately for him and for Vice President Al Gore, both who continuously remind people that the great boom was of their doing, it is simply not true. Many economists agree that the economic boom started in the last year of Bush’s term, and perhaps even reaches back to Reagan’s substantial tax cut. Hence, Clinton’s legacy cannot and should not be equated to the New Economy. In reality, a president has very little control over how the economy is managed. Even if you believe that no single person can manage the economy, the president has much less influence than most Americans believe he does. He cannot directly raise taxes to slow growth nor cut taxes to stimulate it. Perhaps Clinton’s best move for the economy was the re-appointment of the omniscient Alan Greenspan as chairman of the federal reserve. Greenspan, along with the genius of former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, kept the economy going strong. Another option for Clinton’s legacy would be foreign affairs. For most of his first term, Clinton seemingly fumbled through many hotspots, failing in Haiti and Somalia. The violence in the Balkans and the United States’ confused stance on it only further proved Clinton’s inadequacies in foreign affairs. Into his second term, however, Clinton made some very important decisions, namely his appointments of Madeleine Albright as secretary of state and the hard-nosed William Cohen as secretary of defense. Thanks to them, Clinton’s foreign affairs record has been tremendous, with successes in helping create peace in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. His greatest foreign affairs accomplishment, believe or not, was forging the peace between Israel and the Palestine before this latest violence. Not since Carter had a president been so involved with the Middle East, forging peace accords between Yassir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, and after Rabin’s death, Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite Clinton’s obvious and often criticized attempt to base his legacy on foreign affairs, he accomplished much more with the issues at home. Clinton again started off on the wrong foot with national issues. He forced a tax increase through Congress, which, later on, defeated his highly touted Health Care Reform Bill. This was an embarrassment to the administration, one that spilled into the 1994 congressional elections, resulting in the Republican takeover of Congress. Near the end of his first term and into his second, there was a turnaround. Always the crafty politician, Clinton moved from the left to the center, referring to himself and his followers as “”New Democrats.”” He took the credit for the Welfare Reform Bill of 1996 away from Republicans and pushed a minimum-wage increase in through Congress. Thanks to the economic boom, the massive national deficit dwindled. It is predicted to eventually turn into a trillion-dollar surplus. This surplus, however, is as shaky as a house built from a deck of cards. It is based entirely on the capital gains taxes from the bull market. Where the market goes, this surplus will follow. Lastly, one cannot ignore the complicated nature of Clinton’s character nor his constant battle with scandal. As mentioned before, Clinton seems to epitomize a duality. Here is a man that was on top of everything, the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. Yet he fell in the eyes of Americans and the world with the emergence of the Monica Lewinsky fiasco. It all culminated in 1998 with Clinton’s impeachment by the House and his trial in the Senate. Will this be his legacy, to be forever scarred by scandal and only the second president to be impeached? Looking at all of these events, the economic boom, the peace accords in the Middle East and Bosnia, unprecedented changes, attempts to change, the welfare state, and his impeachment, what can we say will ultimately be Clinton’s legacy? What will American remember of Clinton after he leaves office? My answer: everything. All of these events will be part of Clinton’s legacy for America, the good and the bad. And, though many would argue with me, this is the sign of a good president. Clinton had a hand in almost every arena possible, like Franklin Roosevelt 60 years before him. Everything that Clinton did, all the peace accords and all the scandals, is remembered because of its importance to the economy, the world and to our society. Even the economic boom will be credited, if unfairly, to Clinton. As mentioned before, all of this will culminate to one single aspect: his character. His dueling personalities, coupled with his accomplishments and defeats, reflect this character. He was a great president brought down by his human, carnal desires. This will be Clinton’s legacy: the duality of his accomplishments and defeats that reflected the duality of his nature. As promised, I did not mention the new president’s name. I cannot tell you what will happen in the next four years. What I can tell you is that our new president will be inheriting a nation from a great president, a great leader, and most importantly, a fallible human being. ...

Editorials

The UCSD Guardian is published twice a week at the University of California, San Diego. Contents (c)2000. Views expressed herein represent the majority vote of the editorial board, and are not necessarily those of the UC Board of Regents, the ASUCSD, nor the entire Guardian staff. Vincent Gragnani, Editor in ChiefBill Burger Managing EditorsJeffrey White, Copy EditorTom Vu, Opinion EditorLauren I. Coartney, News EditorRobert Fulton, Sports EditorDavid Pilz, Photo Editor With the announcement of the certified vote in Florida on Sunday afternoon, Texas Gov. George W. Bush has been unofficially named the president-elect of the United States. This, however, has not stopped Vice President Al Gore from contesting the results of the election on several counts in an attempt to have the decision turned in his favor. The Guardian believes that it would be in the best interest of the Democratic Party if Gore conceded the election now and looked toward the 2004 election. Was Gore cheated? Possibly. Did more people vote for him than Bush? Definitely. Does he, by all rights, deserve to be the next president of the United States? Perhaps. Despite all this, it would be better for Gore’s party if he conceded now. First of all, by conceding, Gore would make the Democrats appear that they have the best interests of the presidency and the country in mind. This would plant a seed in the minds of voters that the Democratic Party is attempting to do away with partisan politics, a problem against which the population claims to be rebelling. With this thought entrenched in their minds, the voters would be much more likely to elect a Democratic president in four years. Second, winning this election is not much of a prize anymore. Whoever does win will be labeled a phony or counterfeit president and will likely not be given the support and power that the office normally earns. After four years of a weak Republican president, the nation will likely vote in a Democrat next election, whereas if Gore did happen to win, he would stifle the candidacies of many qualified Democrats in 2004 and almost ensure that the next president is Republican. At this point, it is almost certain that Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Dick Gephardt are holding out for a Gore concession. A Gore loss would also put Joseph Lieberman back in the Congress for six more years as a senator from Connecticut. In a Senate that will most likely be split 50-50, the loss of Lieberman to the vice presidency could be catastrophic for the Senate Democrats by giving the Republicans the slight majority. Gore may have something to gain by contesting the results in Florida, but the Guardian feels he would be better serving his party if he simply conceded the race and cut his losses. This election is obviously a very disappointing one for the Democratic Party, one that they felt they should win because of the strength of the economy and President Bill Clinton’s two-term legacy. Despite how much it will hurt to lose the election, it is better to forfeit it now then to go on contesting it and further alienate the American people. ...

Letters to the Editor

Editor: In light of the recent developments in the Middle East, we strongly feel that this issue ought to be properly addressed. Having said that, the events as addressed in the article “”Peace Vigil Unites Students,”” published on Nov. 16, give an unrealistic impression of peace in the Middle East. We have seen leaders such as Clinton, Barak and Arafat attempt to construct “”peace”” along illusory lines, which sadly but expectedly culminated in the latest Al-Aqsa Intifada. We can talk all we want about peace, but when the core human issues of justice and freedom are ignored, peace loses its meaning. We cannot achieve peace along false lines. More importantly, the line in the article stating, “”The vigil primarily concentrated on Christians, Jews and Muslims”” is questionable. If this was the case, then why was the event organized at the same time that the Muslim Student Association held its Islamic Awareness event, thus making it difficult for the group to attend? Secondly, the Arab Student Union and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee were not contacted. If you ask us, the planning was shady and casts doubt on the intentions of the organizers. Moreover, the quoted words of Rabbi Goldstein, “”It is important to understand that what happens there, happens there, but here is our own world”” take away from the severity of the situation and our moral responsibility as citizens of the United States and human beings on this planet to guard against the suffering of innocent populations. Let us not forget that our own president is at the forefront of the situation. Let us not forget that what happens here greatly affects what happens there, as the actions of the United States since 1948 have determined the developments in the region. In conclusion, when we get together to hope for peace, we cannot turn a blind eye to the source of the conflict, which is largely about occupation, independence, and self-determination, rather than the way it is misrepresented in the mainstream American media. Even if Jerusalem were a desert, devoid of holy places, the conflict would be no less fateful. After all, this is an issue of basic human rights to property and liberty. Wasn’t it the great American Patrick Henry who said “”Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God, I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”” — Nour Chammas and Lana Kreidie ...

Taking Political Correctness to the Extreme

With dire determination about the nature of his being, an annoyingly assertive red M&M once said, “”I’m not plain, I am milk chocolate.”” I would like to meet him, give him a big smack upside his candy-coated shell, roll my eyes and tell him, “”Oh puhleese!”” Forgive my insensitivity, but when M&M commercials dramatically echo the complaints of present day stereotypes and respond to them with such creative euphemisms, I have but one question: Has society become too politically correct for its own good? Believe me, I am as much for politically correctness as the next person when it comes to issues regarding race, gender and politics. But do we really need to sugar coat every other word in a conversation just to avoid sounding stereotypical or degrading? Take the case of my high school friend Gina, who had recently found a job at a local nude bar. We had been talking about what she did for a living. “”For the sake of political correctness, I’m a not topless bar stripper,”” she smiled and told me matter of factly. “”I’m a male entertainer, thank you very much!”” I thought for a minute. “”Um, no,”” I said. “”You’re a stripper.”” I simply rolled my eyes and laughed. I sensed she was being politically correct for the sake of her ego. Somewhat disappointed, and embarrassed at the sheer bluntness of flat-out being called a “”stripper,”” she shrugged. “”Stupid, I know,”” she replied. “”I’m a bit overly sensitive about that, huh?”” Stupid? No. Overly sensitive? Maybe. Anal? Unnecessarily. Too politically correct for her own good? Yes. In my opinion, it was fine for Gina to sugar coat her not-so-smiled-upon profession and avoid criticism or speculation. I bet one will agree with me, though, when I say it gets old when people always want to be politically correct about every little thing. It is simply not necessary, because when people use politically correct terms incessantly to avoid sounding shady, they succeed in accomplishing the very opposite. Political correctness was born sometime in the 1980s as a device to curb public figures from speaking without inhibition and offending minor factions in society. Although it started only to hold public figures to a higher standard of professionalism, it soon became an unwritten and written law in most communities. Using political correctness was to prevent people from being offended, to compel everyone to avoid using words or behavior that may upset homosexuals, women, nonwhites, the crippled, the mentally impaired, the fat, the ugly or anything not in the desirable norm. However, political correctness has risen to new heights in people’s consciences when the only thing people are concerned about is the preservation of others’ feelings and egos and the risk of sounding too stereotypical. What people do not realize is that political correctness is an ideal, but should not be mandated by social norms. We should be able to speak as plainly as we want without worrying about how we sound, just so long as we are genuine and do not speak with fighting words. If we are judgmental and critical people to begin with, no politically correct term will be able to mask that. Every word, whether describing a person, a group of people or a profession, seemingly has a politically correct counterpart. Although most of these terms are arguably needed to prevent prevailing stereotypes, it is easy to get carried away. Soon we are left with commercials that mock the behavior of society and animated candy pieces telling us what to call them — something that this vertically challenged, Asian-American, Greek-affiliated, academic athlete (or: short, sorority, nerdy Asian girl) will certainly not have. ...