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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - May 26, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa '...and now we'll break from our live raid coverage for these important messages...' Editorial Page Sunday. May 26. 1974 Open invitation to fraud ON MAY 8 the U.S. house voted 204 to 197 against taking up Ihe controversial bill to establish a nationwide postcard voter registration system for federal elections. The vote in fact was not on the merits of the bill itself but on the "open rule" under which it was to be considered. Unfortunately, the house is developing a pattern of rejecting hot potato bills like this one by rejecting the recommended rule to govern floor debate. In ducking a vote on the bill through this backdoor method, a member can truthfully claim to constituents that he never got a chance to vote on the bill. This could never happen if the house had but one rule for all bills. As it stands now, the "open rule" means a bill may be amended during debate. The "closed rule" means it must be taken as recommended by the appropriate committee or not taken at all. While the open rule is much to be preferred, it is hard to work up any tears over the fact that the postcard registration bill was the victim in this instance. Opponents of the bill including the Na- tional Municipal League, the Na- tional Association of Secretaries of State, the American Conservative Union and the American Civil Liberties Union are right in their contention that the postcard system would present an ad- ministrative nightmare, for state and local registration officials. It would also be too costly (an es- timated. million needed to get the program off the would establish a new bureaucracy and would open the way for wholesale vote fraud. Registration is a detailed and complex business at best. It is better left to states, counties and municipalities. Even at those levels registration is not without its unavoidable duplications and its attempt at voter fraud. Those sometimes succeed through the registration of deceased persons and of individuals who have moved from the city or state in- volved. Then, too, there are what presumably could be omissions. Nothing is more frustrating to a citizen who knows he is properly registered to vote, only to find his name missing from the list of eligible voters at the polling place. Mistakes like this, if discovered early enough on election day. usually can be remedied im- mediately so the aggrieved individual can vote before the polls close, under the present registration system. It is doubtful whether such service could be rendered so quickly on a nation- wide registration basis. Supporters of the bill include the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers, the National Education Assn. and the Rural Electric Cooperative Assn. They maintain that postcard registration would make it easier for people to register, would expand the elec- torate and would reverse the current trend of declining voter participation in federal elections. Those advantages rest more on theory than reality, at least so far as Iowa is concerned. Registration is open the year around in Iowa except for the 10 days preceding an election. Even then it is open during those 10 days for future elections. Furthermore, Iowa has a mobile registration system which is working fairly well now that many of the bugs have been eliminated. So it involves no hardship to register here, and there is no valid excuse for not registering; hence no need for federal registration. In lieu of requiring federal legislation, congress could per- form a less costly and better ser- vice by requiring all states to have the same open registration rules that we enjoy in Iowa. Then there could be no valid excuse for failing to register. Greaf neighborhood AMONG Americans too close to the trees to see the forest, it may have come as a surprise to find the Gallup Poll reporting recently that lots of others in the world rate this country as their first-choice place to visit. Well-known warts and wrinkles aside, the United States was listed tops for visiting (in an eight-na- tion survey) by people from Great Britain, Switzerland, West Ger- many and Canada, as well as the U.S. itself. It got a top-three list- ing too from Spaniards, Uruguayans and Australians. For sheer variety mountains, deserts, forests, seashores, lakesides, semitropical and semi- arctic places, prairies, river set- tings, urban centers of all characters and sizes the too much taken for granted fact is that America has almost more of everything worth seeing than does any other corner of the world. That counts for more than most of us accredit in the midst of out- dissatisfactions and concerns. It counts not only in the context of vacationing but in a qualitative sense as to places for permanent living. With the get-up-and-go season almost at hand, appreciation of the high-desirability position for this land of ours can add to the enjoyment that it gives us. Provided the supply of gas holds out. Arab oil ultimatum: Impartiality or else By Rowland Evans and Robert Novak WA: producing Arab .state indirectly but pointedly assured the United Stales last week that the oil boycott will not be resumed early next month even if Secre- tary of State Henry Kissinger fails to get final agreement on a military disen- gagement by Israel and Syria or stum- bles on his next diplomatic steps. But that assurance was accompanied by this hard warning: The pledge that Arab oil will continue to flow even if the Syrian-Israeli disengagement turns sour totally depends on continued U.S. "evenhandedness" in Kissinger's quest for a political settlement of the Middle East wars. The warning was delivered in (he Middle Eastern capital in a way cal- culated to maximize its impact on Kis- singer himself, just three weeks before the next meeting of the Arab oil-export- ing countries. That meeting is scheduled for June 11. The first oil boycott, which suddenly dramatized the energy crisis here, in Japan and throughout the in- dustrialized world when it was imposed after the fourth Arab-Israeli war started last Oct. li, was lifted on March IS. Frustrations needn 'f crush us Up Prometheus, down Atlas By William Safire w ASHINGTON "Is there hope for That stark question is posed by poli- tical economist Robert Heilbronor in a short, new book, "An Inquiry into the Human and his answer trou- bles some of the people in guiit-edged Washington who consider themselves, in Heilbroner's phrase, "the sentries of our society." The author assesses the "civilization malaise." or dread of the future, that appears to grip us, and finds that such anxiety is well founded. World population growth and food shortages, in his view, will lead to "iron" governments in have-not nations, and ultimately to nuclear war; if this does not obliterate us, environmental pollution is ready to replace the bang with the whimper. In the face of these external challenges to mankind, Heilbroner suggests "whether we are unable to sustain growth or unable to tolerate it" both the capitalist and the socialist worlds will have to deny even lip service to in- dividual liberty and humanism. Instead, they will have to learn to live with harsh hierarchies of power capable of respond- ing to. demands of population control, war control and environmental control. Heilbroner admits with some pain that Insights The American people never carry an umbrella. They prepare to walk in eternal sunshine. Alfred E. Smith his prescription "plays directly into the hands of those who applaud the 'or- derliness' of authoritarian or dictatorial governments." But the freedom of man must be sacrificed on the altar of the survival of mankind. "If he concludes, "by the ques- tion 'Is there hope for we ask whether it is possible to meet the challenges of the future without the payment of a fearful the answer must be: No, there is no such hope." Unlike previous catastrophists such as Thomas Malthus and Oswald Spongier. Heilbroner writes lucidly. For a mythic symbol, he rejects Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods to give to man and who stands for daring and creativity, replacing him with fellow-titan Atlas, who carried the heavens on his shoulders, to suggest that the future spirit of mankind must be one of resig- nation to the bearing of an intolerable burden. Fortunately for the affirmative Promctheans among us, another human prospector has come onstream at the same time, with a book the same length and price (about 140 pages, and a wholly different vision. He is Daniel Boorstin, senior historian at the Smith- sonian Institution who recently was awarded the Pulitzer prize for the final volume of his monumental triology, "The and who now offers "Democracy and Its Discontents: Reflections on Everyday "Perhaps it would be more comforta- ble." writes Boorstin, "to live in an age when the dominant purposes were in full flood, when the hope for fulfillment had nut been overshadowed by the frustra- tions of fulfillment." But today, in the "omnipresent Americans are worried and puzzled about "self- liquidating ideals." A self-liquidating ideal is one that crosses itself off the national agenda as it is accomplished, but leaves behind more frustration than satisfaction. For example, we have set aside huge areas in national parks to preserve the wilderness for people to enjoy but as more people trek to the parks to enjoy them, the democratized wilderness loses its vir- ginity. Another self-liquidating ideal was Henry Ford's cheap, long-lasting family car. Once, it was mass-produced, Americans wanted variety annual born) and status (a hierarchy of autos came into as the democratic ideal of the standard family car was subsumed by its success. As achievements accrue. Boorstin points out, dissatisfaction is guaranteed. Heilbroner sees this, too, as the explana- tion why social harmony does not follow economic growth: "Poverty is a relative and not an absolute condition." he Writes, "So that despite growth, a feeling of disprivilege remains Every solution breeds a new problem, Prometheus Boorstin and Atlas Heilbroner would agree, but from this agreement they march in opposite direc- tions. Heilbroner envisions such im- mense problems that the only political solution is anti-democratic. Boorstin thinks a "belief in solutions" is fallacious, caused by the example of technology in solving technical problems. Democracy is not the solution to anything, but is the process of solving the problems its solutions create as he puts it. "Getting there is the "The most distinctive feature of our system is not a system, but a Boorstin holds, "not a neat arrangement of men and institutions, but a.flux. What other society has ever committed itself to so tantalizing, so fulfilling, so frustrating a community The debate is worthwhile: Heilbroner is positive in his negation, and Boorstin is profoundly serious in his affirmation. Which one will history prove to be the realist? To me, the creative spirit of Prometheus better symbolizes the human prospect than the resignation of Atlas. As long as the Boorstins can place our discontent in historic perspective, and the Heilbroncrs can shake us up with purposeful foreboding, there is "hope for man." New York Times Service Two of lln- 10 im-mbi'rs of the Or- ganization of Aral) I'etroleum Exporting Countries refused to go along with thai March lifting of the boycott. One was Syria. Ihe focus of Kissinger's present diplomacy; Ihe other was Libya, a major oil producer which has just concluded a sizable arms deal uifli the Sinii-t I'liinn. What now concerns such moderate. pru-U.S. Arab stales as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait is that if Kissinger's diplomacy stumbles between now and the June 11 OAPEC meeting. Libya, Iraq and possibly Syria itself may try to force a resumption of the boycott. With Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in a dangerously exposed political posi- tion as the only Arab leader to sign on the dotted line with Israel, any serious set- back to a Syrian-Israeli agreement might logically lead to a toughened position by Sadat aimed at self-preservation. Moreover, pro-U.S. Arab leaders are highly suspicious of Soviet intentions. That suspicion stems partly from the extraordinary negotiations Moscow has been conducting with Libya, until recently a hotbed of violently anti-Soviet feeling. With the once-cozy Moscow-Cairo axis now destroyed, erratic, volatile Libya has become Moscow's new best friend and welcomes the role. EVANS NOVAK As for Syria, in the words of one Arab expert here, "Moscow opened the door all the way and has sent Damascus every piece, of military equipment requested" for the Golan Heights war of attrition. Nothing would please the Kremlin more than a new anti-U.S. oil boycott. It is against that backdrop that the conditional pledge not to renew the oil boycott was sent to Kissinger. But even if Kissinger does manage to wrap-'iip all details of the Syrian-Israeli he may well do, the conditional pledge against another boycott gives the U.S. important leeway in preparing for the Geneva Conference'and deciding how to go about untying the knot of the 25-year- old Palestinian issue. Any slight hint, however, that the Nixon administration might start leaning back toward its old pro-Israeli policy under the strain of future stalemate or setbacks in Kissinger's Mideast diplomacy will raise the speuter of a new- oil boycott. To assuage just such fears in the pro- U.S. Arab camp, the state department is taking extraordinary precautions. Thus, at the strong suggestion of Act- ing Secretary of State Kenneth Rush, senators who hastened to pass a tough condemnation of the Palestinian terrorist attack on Maalot recently were persuad- ed to make two changes: Delete the word "Arab" from their text and eliminate their demand for an immediate session of the United Nations Security Council to condemn the terrorists. This diplomatic nicety in appeasing the sensitivities of America's Arab friends was insisted on by the Republican whip. Sen. Robert Griffin of Michigan (after conferring with and quickly agreed to by Democratic Sen. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, author of the resolution. It did no harm to the resolu- tion, but the state department's instan- taneous intervention proved that as of today, at least, the Arabs have no reason to fear U.S. "evenhandedness." Publishers Hall Syndicate People's forum ERA goals To the Editor: In printing letters on such matters as the Equal Rights Amendment, The Gazette should accept responsibility for their accuracy. I am responding to a let- ter May 20 by Mrs. Charles Lillis. Her arguments against the ERA's passage were based on an emotional appeal "as a Christian woman." The inaccuracies of her argument require correction. Of the five points she made, only one is true. That is the eligibility of women for serving on the armed forces in combat duty. It is my hope that neither sex will be required to serve combat duly again. Mrs. Lillis slated that wives would be legally bound lo half of the financial support of their families. The does nol attempt to restructure familial roles. It serves, rather, as a means of striking down laws which may he used to discriminate against persons on the basis of sex. The ERA would ensure employment riglils to women wishing lo work outside Ihe home and lo those who arc not so fortunate as lo be supported by men. Mrs. Lillis feared that the amendment would nullify protective legislation in the area of industry and in cases of sex crimes against women. On the contrary, any gains of protective legislation by labor would automatically be extended to both sexes. The person who commits a crime, male or female, no matter what the charge, is entitled lo Ihe considera- tions and rights of an accused person. The ERA would not alter this. The vic- tims of crimes would not lose the rights to present evidence and bring charges. Mrs. Lillis said the amendment means that men and women would have to share public restrooms. This childish reason- ing deserves no comment. Furthermore, the ERA is not support- ed by just a "minority of as Mrs. Lillis maintained. She pointed out that 30 slates had already ratified the amendment. To me, 30 states represents more than just a "minority of women." Mrs. Lillis expressed her belief that women supporters of the ERA "insist on turning us all into men." Among the supporters of the ERA is the League of Women Voters, who to my knowledge, have never urged any woman to change her sex. (iazellc readers should, 1 Ihink, lie given the opportunity lo understand that Hie ERA was nol designed lo deprive women of their privileges but to ensure :hcir rights as citizens of this country. Marcia Plumb Coralvillc (Editor's note: If The Gazette as- sumed responsibility for all letters' ac- curacy, many fewer would be printed. As always, we rely on letters like the one above to counter those to which exceptions can be taken. We would rather let people be wrong in print sometimes than curtail their opportunity io voice opinions buttressed by their own versions of fact.) No coercion To the Editor: Concerning Mrs. Charles Lillis' letter May 20 stating that she fears a minority of women are trying to lurn her into a man through the Equal Rights Amend- ment Her first item slates that every wife would be legally responsible for half her family's income. Perhaps she doesn't know that very many women are responsible for the entire family in- come. Also, has the law been knocking on her door coercing her into the labor market? Iowa has already ratified the ERA. She fenrs for women's protection from sex crimes. Most women won't even report a sex crime now because lln.' men in control of Ihe law subject women to such humiliation that they carry Ihe guilt of someone else's crime when they were the victim. As for draft duty, why should women be exempt from the dirty abhorrence of war that young boys and children and many families are subject- ed to'' Regarding the fear thai protection from dangerous jobs would be taken from women, this amendment was made to protect women, not endanger them. No company would force a man or woman into a dangerous job without the utmost protection and cooperation from the worker. The bathroom caper isn't even worth discussing. The ERA isn't going to make people do what they don't want lo do. It will belter enable both sexes lo (by shared respon- sibility) pursue their goals and develop their talents without discrimination. DeVec DoCarlo 4413 Pepperwood Hill SE Distortions To Ihe Editor: In reply lo Mrs. Charles Lillis (Forum, May 20) concerning the Equal Rights Amendinetil my comments follow her very distorted statements: I. There has never been a law forcing anyone man or woman lo take n job. ERA would not change this. While some states do have laws which obligate bus. bands to support their families, in actual practice Ihis is enforced only through action lor separations or divorce. ERA would not require husbands and wives to contribute identical amounts of money to a marriage. 2. The underlying principle of ERA is that the law must deal with people as in- dividuals, not as members of a clas- sification based on their sex. ERA would nol invalidate laws which punish rape. for these laws are designed to protect women in a way that they are uniformly from men. :i. Congress has always had the power to draft women, and, in fact, nearly did so during World war II. While meri and women will both have to register for any future draft on an equal basis, this docs not mean that all women will be drafted, any more than all men have been drafted in the past. Also, women would be placed in the military where they are physically and mentally callable of serving, just as men are now. "Protective" laws for hazardous jobs in industry now serve lo restrict employment opportunities by keeping women out of jobs which offer higher pay or advancement. Women do not need protection against oppressive conditions which have ceased to exist. Rather, they need the same things men workers need: broad coverage by federal wage and hour legislation, adequate guarantees against occupational hazards, etc.' !i. KHA calls for equality of rights for men and women, but this dues not mean Mini Ihe sexes miisl he regarded as Idni- Meal. "Equallly" docs nol mean "sameness." sense dicliili's iliiil separate ri'slrunins nuiliniic to he provided for men mid women. 3.1
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