Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - May 26, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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'...and now we ll break from our live raid coverage for these important messages...'
Sunday, May 26 1974
Open invitation to fraud
ON MAY 8 the U.S. house voted 204 to 197 against taking up the 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 National Municipal League, the National 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 administrative nightmare for state and local registration officials. It would also be too costly (an estimated $50 million needed to get the program off the ground). 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 involved.
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 immediately 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 nationwide registration basis.
Supporters of the bill include the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers, the National Education Assn. and the Rural Electrics Cooperative Assn. They maintain that postcard registration would make it easier for people to register, would expand the electorate 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 IO days preceding an election. Even then it is open during those IO 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 perform a less costly and better service 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
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-nation survey) by people from Great Britain, Switzerland, West Germany and Canada, as well as the U.S. itself. It got a top-three listing 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 our 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
WASHINGTON - A major oil producing Arab state indirectly but pointedly assured the United States last week that the oil boycott will not lo* resumed early next month even if Secretary of State Henry Kissinger fails to get final agreement on a military disengagement by Israel and Syria or stumbles on bis 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. “rvenhandedness” in Kissinger’s quest for a political settlement of the Middle East wars
The warning was delivered in the Middle Pastern capital in a way calculated to maximize its impact on Kissinger himself, just throe weeks before th(‘ next meeting of the Arab oil-exporting countries. That meeting is scheduled for June ll. The first oil boycott, which suddenly dramatized the energy crisis here, in Japan and throughout tin1 industrialized world when it was imposed after the fourth Arab-Israeli war startl'd last (let ti. was lifted on March IS
Frustrations needn t crush us
Up Prometheus, down Atlas
By William Safire
ASHINGTON — “Is there hope tor man?"
That stark question is posed by political economist Robert Heilbroner in a short, new book, “An Inquiry into the Human Prospect”, arid his answer troubles some of the people in guilt-edged Washington who consider themselves, in Heilbroners 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 individual liberty and humanism Instead, they will have to learn to live with harsh hierarchies of power capable of responding to demands of population control, war control aud environmental control.
Heilbroner admits with some pain that
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 ‘orderliness’ of authoritarian or dictatorial governments " But the freedom of man must be sacrificed on tin' altar of the survival of mankind
“If then." he concludes, “by the question ‘Is there hope for man?’ we ask whether it is possible to meet the challenges of the future without the payment of a fearful price, the answer must be No, there is no such hope “
Unlike previous catastrophes 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 resignation to the bearing of an intolerable burden.
Fortunately for the affirmative Prometheans among us. another human prospector has come onstream at the same time, with a book the same length and price (about 14(1 pages, $5 95) and a wholly different vision He is Daniel Boorstm, senior historian at the Smithsonian Institution who recently was awarded the Pulitzer prize for the final volume of his monumental triology, “The Americans”, and who now offers “Democracy and Its Discontents Reflections on Everyday America"
“Perhaps it would be more comfortable." writes Boorstin, “to live in an age when the dominant purposes were in full flood, when the hopi' for fulfillment had not been overshadowed by the frustrations of fulfillment." But today, in the “omnipresent present,” Americans arc' 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 virginity.
Another self-liquidating ideal was Henry Ford’s cheap, long-lasting family car Once it was mass-produced. Americans wanted variety (the annual model was born) and status (a hierarchy of autos came into being), 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 explanation 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 directions. Heilbroner envisions such immense 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, "(letting there is all the fun."
“The most distinctive feature of our system is not a system, but a quest," 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 enterprise?"
The debate is worthwhile Heilbroner is positive in his negation, and Boorstin is profoundly serious in his affirmation Which one will history prove tit be the realist'.’
To me. the creative spirit of Prometheus better symbolizes tin' human prospect than the resignation of Atlas As long as the Boorstins can place our discontent in historic perspective, and the Heilbroners can shake us up with purposeful foreboding, there is "hope for man."
Nf* YO'* Times Service
Twit of tin* 111 members of the Or gamzation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries refused to go along with that March lifting of the boycott One was Syria, the focus of Kissinger’s present diplomacy; the other was Libya, a major oil producer which has just concluded a sizable arms deal with the Soviet Union
What now concerns such moderate, pro-U.S. Arab states as Egypt. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait is that if Kissinger’s diplomacy stumbles bid ween now and the June ll OAF EC 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 position as the only Arab leader to sign oil tin1 dotted line with Israel, any serious setback to a Syrian-Israeli agreement might logically lead to a toughened posit ion 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.
As for Syria, in the words of one Arab expert here. “Moscow opened the door all the way arid 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 up all details of the Syrian-Israeli pact, as 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 tho strain of future stalemate or setbacks in Kissinger's Mideast diplomacy will raise the spei ier 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 Acting Secretary of State Kenneth Rush, senators who hastened to pass a tough condemnation of the Palestinian terrorist attack on Maalnt recently were persuaded 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 tilt' 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 Rush), and quickly agreed to by Democratic Sen Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, author of the resolution It did no harm to the resolution. but the state department's instantaneous intervention proved that as of today, at least, the Arabs have no reason to fear U S “evenhandodness."
Publishers Hall Syndicate
People 's forumERA 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 letter 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 [flints slit* made, only one is true That is the eligibility of women for serving on the armed forces in combat duty P is my hope that neither sex will be required to serve combat duty again
Mrs Lillis stated that wives would Im* legally bound to half of the financial support of their families The ERA does not attempt to restructure familial roles It serves, rather, as a means of striking down laws which may be used to discriminate against persons on the basis of sex. The ERA would ensure employment rights to women wishing to work outside the home and to those who are not so fortunate as to Im* 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 to the considerations and rights of an accused person The ERA would not alter this The victims of crimes would not lose the rights to present evidence and bring charges
Mrs Lillis sanl the amendment means that men and women would have to share public restrooms This childish reasoning deserves no comment
Furthermore, the ERA is not supported by just a “minority of women " as Mrs Lillis maintained She pointed out that 30 states 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 FRA “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
Gazette readers should I think be given the opportunity to understand that till' ERA was not designed to deprive
women of their privileges but to ensure heir rights as citizens of this country
Marcia Plumb Coralville
(Editor s note lf 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 to voice opinions buttressed by their own versions of fact )No coercion
To the Editor
Concerning Mrs Charles Lillis’ Inter May 2b stating that she fears a minority of women are trying to turn her into a man through the Equal Rights Amend merit (ERA) Her first item states that every wife would Im* legally responsible for half her family’s income Perhaps she doesn’t know that very many women are res|>onsible for tin* entire family iii come Also, has tfie law been knocking on her door coercing lu r into tho labor market? Iowa has already ratified the ERA
She fears for women s protection from sex (rimes Most women won t even report a sex crime now because the men in control of the law subject women to
such humiliation that they carry the guilt of someone elses crime when they were tile 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 subjected to’’
Regarding the fear that 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 ,i dangerous jot) 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 to do. It will better enable both sexes to (by shared responsibility) pursue their goals and develop their talents without discrimination
Dc Vee DeUarlo 4413 Pepper wood Hill SEDistortions
To the Editor
Iii reply to Mrs Charles Lillis (Forum May 2b) concerning the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), my comments follow her very distorted statements
I Then1 has never been a law forcing anyone — man or woman — to take a lob
ERA would not change this While some states do have laws which obligate bus bands to support their families, in actual practice this is enforced only through action for 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 classification based on their sex ERA would not invalidate laws which punish rape.Another
for these laws are designed to protect women in a way that they are uniformly •met from men
3 Congress has always had the power to draft women, and, in fact, nearly did so during World war ll While men and women will both have to register for any future draft on an equal basis, tins does not mean that all women will be drafted, any more than all men have been drafted in the past Also, women would bo placed in the military where they are physically and mentally callable of serving, just as men are now
4 "Protective’ laws for hazardous jobs iii industry now serve to restrict employment opportunities by keeping women out of jobs winch 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 bour legislation, adequate guarantees against occupational hazards, etc
5 ERA calls for equality of rights for men arid women bul tin-, does not mean that the sexes must be regarded as ideo Ileal "Equality" does not mean
sameness Common sense dictates that separate restrooms continue to be lirov tiled for men and women
Betty I Wagner Monticello