The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 18, 1990, Page 4, Image 4

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Editorial Board
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Eric Pfanner, Editor, 472-1766
Victoria Ayotte, Managing Editor
Darcie Wiegert, Associate News Editor
Diane Brayton, Associate News Editor
Jana Pedersen, Wire Editor
Emily Rosenbaum, Copy Desk Chief
Lisa Donovan, Editorial Page Editor
Move on
Abortion isn’t the only Souter yardstick
In measuring Supreme Court nominee David Souter’s
qualifications, abortion should not be the only yardstick.
Such things as civil rights and affirmative action - and
his competency in interpreting the constitution - should be
given equal or more weight as emotional political issues.
But Thursday, on the opening day of confirmation testi
mony, the Senate Judiciary Committee, as expected, began
grilling Souter on his views on abortion.
Now Souter’s testimony is over. And still the New Hamp
shire judge has shown no signs of budging on his refusal to
speak out on the issue.
On Friday, Souter told the Judiciary Committee why:
‘‘1 have not got any agenda on what should be done with
Roe vs. Wade ... I would listen to both sides of that case. I
have not made up my mind and I would not go on the court
saying I must go one way or I must go the other.”
Good for him. It would be nice to think that a judge would
go on the court and listen to and weigh both sides of a case
before making a decision.
I It also would be nice if the process of selecting a justice
would be less political.
While it is difficult to imagine that Bush would nominate
someone who didn’t share his Republican ideology, it’s easy to
turn back the pages of American history.
Look at William Brennan, one of the most liberal justices in
the history of the Supreme Court. He was nominated by
Republican President Eisenhower.
Thai s not to say Souter will pick up the liberal flag where
Brennan planted it, but at least Souter has indicated that he
wouldn’t let conservative ideology force his decisions on con
troversial issues.
Today, the abortion issue is a political ax dividing liberals
and conservatives, and ultimately Republicans and Democrats.
The Democratic and Republican committee members
seemed to bail Soutcr by asking questions that would, depend
ing on the answer, pin him down as liberal or conservative.
While Sen. Joseph Bidcn, D-Del., asked Soutcr to “open the
window of his mind,” Strom Thurmond, a Republican senator
from South Carolina, patted Souter on the back for not answer
ing such an “inappropriate” question.
But this is not a question of what is politically correct -- this
is a question of whether he can interpret the U S. Constitution.
Souter has proven in the last few days that he is a competent
nominee. During the day-long hearings, he remains poised, for
mulating solid argun^^K and answering questions knowl
edgeably and logically.
Positions on single issues and political ideology
! shouldn’t be the only weighing factors on the minds of the
Judiciary Committee.
Good thing the committee members aren’t nominees.
— Lisa Donovan
for the Daily Nebraskan
mw—>i [■in— ■■ — ... iim.ahjiwj
STAND manager offers
apology for past actions
What I did last year was wrong.
The deal was wrong, keeping it a
secret was wrong and involving the
rest of the STAND party was wrong.
I deeply regret my actions last year.
Eveiything that the members of
STAND wrote in their letter last Fri
day (DN, Sept. 14) was true, and I’m
sorry it happened.
My actions were the result of a
complete loss of faith and hope that
AS UN could ever be really reformed.
The moment that I accepted the de
featist idea that some backroom deal
could or should take the place of more
open attempts at reform was the
moment that I committed my most
serious transgression. This was not
only against STAND or the students,
it was against myself as well.
When I examine my basic beliefs
about how the world should operate if
it is to be fair and just to all people, I
realize that what I did is a direct
contradiction to those beliefs. Look
ing back on all of it now, I can’t
believe that I was arrogant, selfish
and stupid enough to let myself get
involved in the wholeness.
Before all erf this happened, I would
never have admitted to myself that I
had the capacity of such a callous act.
The responsibility for all this will
weigh very heavily on me for a very
long time. For how long? I have no
I was wrong to do what I did last
year. I am sorry that I participated in
anything thatcould have hurt so many
people so badly. I hope, that with
time, the hurts 1 have caused will be
able to heal, and that everyone in
volved will be able to find it in their
hearts to forgive me.
Mark Buhrdorf
arts & sciences
former STAND campaign manager
f\ "TMA.NJK.
S 0(K16t
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it
Flag issue represents misinformation, ignorance, suppression
Some issues never die. They just
smolder forever.
In mid-June, the Supreme
Court ruled unconstitutional the pro
posed amendment that would outlaw
the desecration of the U.S. flag.
Congress killed the proposal a few
weeks later.
But last week, one network’s eve
ning news program broadcast a story
about a war veterans’ group petition
ing for an appeal on the ruling.
People still are pushing for a law
the government has decided is uncon
Like abort ion, the issue is based on
values rather than the law. It just
won’t die. It just gels rehashed, again
and again.
On one side, you have those who
adamantly oppose violating the flag,
the proud symbol of the United States.
On the other, there are citizens who
feel their right to freedom of speech is
in jeopardy.
To hell with the farm crisis, the
Middle East, the budget deficit and
the homeless epidemic. This is a real
whizzbanger of a problem, and it needs
our full attention.
Kids on crack? Who cares? Just so
long as they don’t smoke it in Old
Living in the world’s greatest na
tion can have its drawbacks. Public
ignorance and double standards are
two that come to mind.
We as a nation produce, buy and
use American flag shorts, T-shirts,
socks, cups, stickers, napkins, table
cloths, overalls, underwear, swimsuits
and wastepaper baskets. During the
1976 Bicentennial celebration, there
were even toilet seals and toilet paper
emblazoned with the flag.
If the amendment were adopted,
the United States would join nations
with laws prohibiting destruction of
the flag including Iran, Iraq, the Soviet
Union, South Africa and Nazi Ger
many. What good company. Strangely,
those nations have more respect and
admiration for their flags than for
their own citizens.
But that’s exactly what the 27th
Amendment would have done - placed
more faith in a piece of cloth than in
the people, values and ideas the cloth
In fact, some still are trying to do
Disallowing any form of free
speech, as offbeat or distasteful as
some may view it to be, is a danger
ous step in the wrong direction.
It’s mindless. Many of the same
“patriotic” Americans who scream
for the heads of flag-burners drive
Toyotas, Hondas, Volkswagons or
Porsches. They buy designer clothes
made in Europe, eat at Italian and
Chinese restaurants, and buy Japa
nese stereos, televisions, radios and
computers. They allow foreign cor
porations to buy up American real
estate and businesses, bit by bit.
In fact, the Bush administration
which originally pushed for the amend
ment, secretly sent weapons to Iran -
the world’s leading burner of the
American flag.
The debate is a twisted and de
mented one, full of misconceptions
and misinformation.
Last week’s news story had a man
comparing flag burning to the killing
of bald eagles.
“We don’t burn the flag for the
same reason we don’t shoot bald
eagles,” the man scolded. “It’s be
cause they arc both symbols of our
And I always thought it was illegal
to shoot bald eagles because there are
only a few left on the planet Silly me.
Some veterans, many with prehis
toric, Archie Bunker-like “love it or
leave it” attitudes, continue to vo
cally support the amendment, argu
ing that they fought wars for the flag.
But they didn’t. They fought for
what the flag symbolizes, not the least
of which is the freedom to demon
strate your opinions, and the belief
that no idea should be suppressed.
Suppression of any idea is about as
un-American as a Koala bear.
In other words, our flag stands for
the right to bum it, if so deemed
If not for the recommendation o
the flag-burning amendment, feu
people would have thought to bun
the flag in the first place, and then
would be no problem.
But our leaders, with their infimu
wisdom, have opened a big, juicy
stinking, red, white and blue can o
worms that will never close. It’:
contrived patriotism at its best.
Isn’t it funny how our govemmen
seems to create problems just so it ha
something to fix?
Unless we realize what’s at stak<
when tampering with the Bill of Right
— the absolute epitome of our na
lional love for tolerance - freedon
itself may one day go up in flames.
An amendment of this sort onl;
would be the beginning. Next, mayb
someone could devise a law prohibit
ing political cartoons satirizing th<
bonehcads in office? Shortly thcreaf
ter, newspaper editorials criticizin
government policies will be outlawed
as will any discouraging words out o
the mouths of John and Jane Public
If you were born in the Unite
States, you were bom with the right t<
vote, the right to demonstrate am
petition, the right to a fair and speed;
trial and, yes, the nght to bum th
To be sure, 95 percent of Ameri
cans would never think of burning
flag. Why should they? Those sam
people probably would never marc
in demonstration against an electa
official, either.
But in both cases, it’s nice to hav
that option.
Next year marks the bicentenma
of the Bill of Rights. To continue i
support legislation so intolerant o
Americans’ rights to free exprcssioi
would be the greatest desecration o
the flag imaginable.
To hold sacred a piece of cloth i
ridiculous. To hold sacred what tha
cloth represents is American.
fireen I* a senior news-editorial major.
Daily Nebraskan night news editor, a sporl
writer and a columnist.
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