Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan on May 12, 1974 · Page 16
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Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan · Page 16

Battle Creek, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 12, 1974
Page 16
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Opinion and commentary- ENQUIRER and NEWS One press that is stilled BATTLE CREEK. MICHIGAN B-2 Seventy-fourth Year Sun., May 12, 1974 A mans size is determined: JS'ot by height or pocketbook, Or even by ivhat he says; Only by what he DOES.' -George it Givn by th Enquirer and Nwi for Significant Community Sorvic f The Enquirer's view Proximity to We are far from fulfilling Martin Luther King's dream of a promised land free of racial bias, but in the 20 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the integration of the nation s schools, we have come a long way toward that dream. When the court, in its Brown vs. Board of Education decision, laid down the principle that separate but equal schools really weren't equal at all. it sparked two decades of change a time when whites became aware that the blacks beside them have the same dreams, the same apprehensions, the same ambitions, the same fears, the same hopes that they have. It has also been a time when the black American gained a new confidence in his own blackness and in the democratic system that enslaved him before it freed him. Looking back over those 20 years we remember great heartache and scenes of tears and shame. We also remember moments of greatness when men and women who cared about people, not color, risked their lives to bring down suppressive, hateful laws and to build brotherhood in their place. The progress gained has often been at great cost and the work that remains to be done won't be easy. The court said integration was to be achieved with all deliberate speed but it didn't say how and it failed to address itself to de facto segregation which is as damaging and as inequitable in its consequences as de jure, or purposeful, segregation. As a result, the concept of busing students from one school building to another was born and with it came opposition'from racists who don't want equality at all: from parents both black and white who Pride is at stake A Texas crawdad representing Michigan? Outrageous! It should never be allowed to happen! Michigan's crawfish ( or crayfish, if you prefer) are as big, as fast and as athletically inclined as any crawfish in the world. It just isn't fair to those who pride themselves on Michigan's outstanding wildlife to let a Texas-bred crawdad represent the City of Albion in the Texas Championship Crawfish Race. The citizens of Port Arthur. Tex., probably thought they would have a lot of fun at the expense of us Yankees when they invited Albion to enter the big May 24 race down there. They probably thought we wouldn't even know what a crawfish is. How wrong they are! We take things like crawdad racing seriously up here. Just consider, if you will, how much time our state legislators devoted to debating whether the ladybug or the honey bee should be Michigan's official state insect. We think the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce erred when it authorized Port Arthur officials to choose a Texas-raised crawfish to represent Albion in the race, which is part of Port Arthur's annual Caj un Festival. We don't think that Port Arthur which, like Albion, is an All-America City will pull any hanky-panky. There is honor among All-America Cities and it is highly Write to these legislators When you wish to express your view s on state issues. MICHIGAN SENATORS Harry A. DeMaso (R-20th): State Capitol, Lansing 48902 MICHIGAN REPRESENTATIVES John P. S meekens ( R 41st) . Paul A. Rosenbaum (D-48th) , Dan Angel I R-49th, Wayne B. Sackett R-55th) and Dale Warner (R-5$th) State Capitol, Lansing 48901 a dream worry about the impact of busing on their children, and from the Congress and the President who label busing as ineffective and push for stronger measures against it. Also to be resolved are issues like the one in Detroit where a judge has ordered a desegregation plan prepared which would cover both the city and the suburbs. His order is being challenged. Also threatened is the concept of reverse discrimination in which members of minority groups are given favorable treatment in such things as college registration to compensate for past discrimination. The roadblocks confronting these integration tactics remind us there are hurdles ahead even though a majority of the nation's black children still live in racial isolation. In 1972, only 2.5 million of the 6.7 million blacks attending public elementary and secondary schools went to schools where minority students made up less than 50 per cent of the student body. Battle Creek in 1972 had three elementary schools in which the minority students made up more than 50 per cent of the student body. The order to integrate schools was made 20 years ago this week. In addition to mixing students in the classroom, it has resulted in a mixing of cultures and socio-economic conditions. But. the fact that segregation still exists, even in neighborhoods like Battle Creek, shows that just placing students side by side at desks won' t end prej udice. It is only when racial thoughts are banished from the relationship between one man and another that our nation will achieve the kind of brotherhood which Martin Luther King described as the promised land of freedom. A era u dad unlikely that Port Arthur would enter a dud crawdad to represent Albion. The point of our objection is that not only the pride of Albion but that of the entire state of Michigan is at stake in the race at Port Arthur. It is only fitting that Michigan be represented by a homegrown crawdad. There is still time left before the big race dubbed this year as the ''All-America Cities Race" to find and train our own entry. We're sure that there must be at least one person on Albion's AU-America City committee that would be willing to devote an hour or two a day to supervise the road-work, special high-protein diet and other training necessary to produce a championship crawdad racer. "On the brighter side. dear, this is the first time iff" get the advertised 26 miles per gallon I " Reading each other's mail In 1929, Secretary of State Henry Stim-son closed down the "black chamber" the State Department's code-breaking office on the principle that the way to make men and nations trustworthy was to trust them. As he later told aide McGeorge Bundy. '"Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." Stimson made that remark in 1947. after he had been secretary of war and had encouraged the establishment of a vast American intelligence community. To him. what was fair and necessary in wartime was wrong when nations were striving to construct a peace. Throughout the cold war. Stimson's words were cited as aquaint peep of moral, stiffness by an intelligence community convinced that fire had to be fought with fire. His words, treated as if they had been spoken in 1929. seemed an anachronism to those charged with ensuring the nation's survival. When novelists Graham Greene and John Le Carre wrote about the morally debilitating effects of the ends-before-means attitude of espionage, their books were read for their drama (the means more than their message (the ends). After all. the spy as jury, judge and executioner found roots in American traditions of justice in the Old West, when some individual sheriffs embodied the entire process of law. Now, however, in this period of detente, we view the adoption of totalitarian means to combat totalitarian threats as less than wise; as we understand that we cannot overcome our enemies by becoming them, we have stopped romanticizing the professional spy. The time of the thin-lipped Hunt and the hot-eyed Liddy is out of joint, for derring-do has changed to der-. ring-don't. Throughout the rise and fall of the romance of American espionage, one technique that permeated the profession was the science of eavesdropping. In the 17th It's not perfect, but it's better We are coming up now on the 20th anni-ersary of Brown v. Board of Education. Perhaps this white, middle-aged southerner may be permitted a few anniversary thoughts. In terms of its impact on our people and our institutions, the Supreme Court's unanimous opinion of May 17. 1954. was the most important opinion of this century. An arguable case can be made, indeed, that Brown had even greater social and political impact than the Dred Scott case a century before. And, ironically, Brown remains to this day very bad law. In a single stroke that morning in May. the court struck down the segregated schools of 17 states. Chief Justice Warren's opinion accomplished much more. It paved the way. and it created the strong foundation, on which an entire new structure of la w could be built. After Brown, the deluge: civil rights, voting rights, public accommodations, equal opportunity. The black child born 20 years ago this week, not only in the South but elsewhere, has known a far different America and with all its imperfections, a far better America than his parents knew. As a matter of jurisprudence, Brown still seems to me wrong. In essence, the court looked at the institution of school segregation and said: This is immoral, therefore it is unconstitutional. It was a monstrous non sequitur. The palpable fact is that when the sun rose on the morning of May 17, 1954, segregated schools were indeed constitutional. They had been constitutional for 86 years. Courts repeatedly had said so, . William Satire century, that word was coined to describe secret listeners who stood so close to the outside wall that they were untouched by water falling from the overhanging eaves: in the 20th century, eavesdropping was made easier by electronics, and to hear each other's conversation became the quintessence of "reading each other's mail." The willingness to listen in. to put the need of national survival ahead of the restraints of what Stimson considered national gentlemanliness. to penetrate1 personal privacy in order to preserve national' securecy, was second nature to Richard Nixon . He and his chief foreign affairs lieutenant, both children of the cold war, were determined to end the cold war, and a willingness to eavesdrop came with the job. Step one. using the FBI. The President and his men sure of the necessity of such action to protect the national interest began to eavesdrop on the men in the press and in the White House to find the sources of leaks. Step two. when the FBI appeared squeamish, was to create a "special investigations unit' ' in Room 16 of the Executive Office Building, which was willing to eavesdrop, or worse, in order to plug the leaks. Step three down the eavesdropping road was the transfer of the ability to eavesdrop for avowedly security purposes over to political campaign purposes, and the Hunt-Liddy team moved to the re-election committee. Belatedly trying to figure out what went wrong, H.. R. Haldeman explained to the President that John Mitchell The evidence is overwhelming that the 39th Congress never on earth intended the 14th Amendment to prohibit the states from operating racially-separate institutions. Such Northern states as New-York. Ohio, and Indiana continued to operate segregated schools long after the 14th was ratified. The United States Congress itself saw nothing unconstitutional in the segregated schools of the District of Columbia. But when the sun set, the Con- stitution had changed. Bad law breeds bad law. The teaching of Brown was that students could not be assigned to public institutions solely by reason of race. But in subsequent cases, having to do with racial balance busing, the court stood that principle on its head. The court now approves the assignment of children solely because of their race. The contradiction has yet to be resolved. Other judges, building their own bizarre constructions on Brown, have further distorted the law. Last January a federal district judge in New York, Jack B. Weinstein, found that the Constitution commands desegregation of the Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island. The school, which was 81 per cent white in 1962, had changed to 18 per cent white in James J Kilpatrick had grown so accustomed to eavesdropping that he must have lost his sensitivity to the illegality of wiretaps. When events of the previous year were being driven into the Oval Office, the habit of eavesdropping was so ingrained that it was natural for John 'Ehrlichman to suggest that he make a recording of his confro with John Mitchell. As the transcripts show, the President told him to go ahead and "gear up" for electronic eavesdropping, adding that he personally did not want to listen to the tape. The irony is so exquisite as to be unbearable: here was Ehrlichman suggesting that he eavesdrop on the man accused of authorizing the Watergate eavesdropping, unaware that his own conversation planning to bug the bugger was being bugged. That is the triple dead heat of eavesdropping, the royal flush or unassisted triple play, the ultimate hat trick a plot twist that E. Phillips Oppenheim would have blushed before using. The President's willingness to go along with the eavesdropping on all his advisers and visitors should not surprise us. seen as the final, massive dose of the poison he had been sipping steadily for years. It was not wrong, he felt, because it would be used for the right purposes for History, for Truth. I am not among those who think the President guilty of an impeachable high crime. An addiction to eavesdropping was his grievous fault, and grievously hath he already suffered for it. The man who was ready to eavesdrop to protect the confidentiality of his office was. in Hamlet's words. "Hoist with his own petard" a petard is a bomb, and this one has blown presidential confidentiality sky-high . Because Nixon would read everyone else's mail, we are now forced to read his own. hardly an edifying activity, and in so doing we see why Henry Stimson was right. (C. i New York Times 1973. largely as a consequence of changes in residential patterns. Judge Weinstein conceded that there was no evidence of state compulsion. There was no segregative design on the part of public officials. Indeed. "Desegre-gation was the goal of all." What happened was simply that white families moved away, and black and Puerto Rican families moved in. The judge saw this as a "'conspiracyexplicit and implicit of an entire society." He now has ordered every resource of the city, the state, and the fedral government committed to a draconian plan to drag whites back to Coney Island in order to "Tefertilize" the district with white child-bearing families. At whatever cost in money and in Social upheaval. Judge Weinstein proposes to compel the reordering of an entire community, just to change the racial balance of a single school. It is a disgraceful abuse of the judicial power. But if questions of jurisprudence canbe put to one side, the "road from Warren to Weinstein has proved a good road. Oliver Brown, Harry Briggs, Dorothy E. Davis, and other plaintiffs in the several cases were only children 20 years ago. They could not have known what a lasting contribution thev would make toward a better life for their people. Giving full account to the tensions, the hardships, and the new-abuses that have been created in uprooting the old way. it has to be said that this way is better. It is not perfect. It is better. Washington Star-News WUILLUW By WATSON SLMS Editor Cevlon is an island of waving palm trees and sandy beaches glistening against the blue waters of the Indian Ocean almost within sight of the southern tip of India. Ceylon is also an island with a problem between the press and the government that makes President Nixon's relations with the media seem almost calm and friendly. Ceylon the old name for what is now Sri Lanka i was part of the British empire which embraced all of south Asia for two centuries. It was always an enlightened spot for Asia, and today, for example, 80 per cent of Ceylon's 13 million people are literate, compared to 30 per cent of India's 500 million. An asset bequeathed to both Ceylon and India by Great Britain was the tradition of vigorous newspapers, based broadly on the Times of London. These papers were literate, enterprising and outspoken. Like the Times of London, they did not hesitate to .criticize the government if they felt this-wasjustified. Trie tradition is still carried on in India.. Watch the news closely, and from time to time you will read that the Times of India. The Statesman or the Hindustan Times, has spoken out sharply against some action by the g overnment. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi does not take such criticism as cheerfully as did her father. Jawaharlal Nehru. She has figuratively shaken a stick at the papers from time to time by such things as special taxes or controls on newsprint . But in Ceylon, another woman prime minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike. has solved the problem entirely. Having earlier had two groups of newspapers taken over by the government. Mrs. Bandaranaike last month padlocked the doors of the Sun group, the last private newspapers left in Ceylon. Mrs. Bandaranaike said she was sorry she had to close down the Sun newspapers. But she said it had been necessary because they were '"spreading their invented or deliberately distorted untruths and halt" truths which they mistake for journalistic enterprise." The closing of the last independent papers in Ceylon climaxed a feud I watched closely during four years as an Associated Press correspondent in south Asia. To understand the situation, you will have to know a little about Ceylon's politics. Mrs. Bandaranaike is head of the Freedom Party, which embraces the left wing of Ceylon's politics. The opposition, em-" bracing the right wing, is the United National Party. The UNP is also known as the uncles and nephews, because there always seemed to be jobs for relatives of officials, when the party was in power. The UNP dominated Ceylon's politics immediately after the island became independent in 1948. It maintained many of - Britain's traditions, including parliamentary government, equality of religion and a free press. The Freedom Party was less ecumenical. It catered to the Buddhists who comprise 75 per cent of the island's population and had dominated Ceylon long before the British came. These two parties have dominated Ceylon's politics over the past 25 years. The real issues have been food and jobs, for this is another desperately poor Asian country. But always there has been an undercurrent of leftvs. right ideology. The island's newspapers sought to cover politics in the traditional western manner of giving both sides in the news columns and confining opinion to the editorial pages. Generally, however, the ownership of the newspapers was conservative, and "more often than not the newspapers endorsed UNP candidates. Mrs. Bandaranaike took this as clear evidence of prejudice. She also pledged that one day there would be a change. Editorial opposition by most newspapers did not prevent Mrs. Bandaranaike" from winning election in 1960. Among other assejs. she had the sympathy of the nation, for then she was the almost unknown widow of a prune minister who had been assassinated by Buddhist extremists. In 1965 Mrs. Bandaranaike presented a bill in parliament by which the government would take over Ceylon's leading newspaper group. There was a showdown in parliament over the bill and Mrs. Bandaranaike was thrown out of office. When I last visited Ceylon, in 1969, the UNP was in power but Mrs. Bandaranaike was again on the campaign trail. She won 'the elections of 1970 and has gradually-closed down or taken over all of the island's newspapers. After the last newspapers were closed down last month, one of their editors told the New York Times: "The government knows that there is a lot of discontent. They don't want anything published about what is going on. The Prime Minister has an idea that the press is inciting people and she is blaming the newspapers for whatever goes wrong." Mrs. Bandaranaike had another explanation. "The press has made governments and broken governments." she said. "It has made leaders and destroyed leaders. This sort of thing cannot be allowed to continue any longer." i A sober student of history might suggest that hereafter Ceylon's leaders will be allowed to destroy themselves! V

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