The daily Tar Heel. (Chapel Hill, N.C.) 1946-current, November 17, 1983, Page 10, Image 10
10The Daily Tar HeelThursday. November 17 ior? OHjf lathi (Ear Bwl wa 0 editorial freedom Kerry DeRck hi, Eduo Alison Davis, Manaiuo "'""r Charles Ellmaker, twiarr Ewr Frank Bruni, Asslvmic Kelly Simmons, University Editor Michael Tooi v., o; frif.-r Kyle Marshall, Su um National Editor Karen Fisher. Ramus Editor Michael DeSisti, Sports Editor Jeee Grove, a m Editor Melissa Moore, News Editor Charles W. Ledeokd. Photography Editor A perspective on abortion Congressional clowning If there were awards given to the proposals most victimized by political maneuvering, the blue ribbon would go to the Equal Rights Amendment. For years, congressional and state leaders have stymied debate on the bill by attaching amendments sure to make it fail or signing secret agreements to solidify forces against it. The House action Tuesday rejecting the bill's revival is simply one more example of congressional attempts to trivialize what should be taken as an important issue. By allowing controversy sur rounding a parliamentary procedure to ensure its defeat, they've made a mockery of the bill and the equality it stood for. Before the debate began, Democrats had voted to limit opinions to 45 minutes, a move Usually reserved for less controversial bills. In return, outraged Republicans, hoping to tag on a few binding amendments, voted it down. What happened next was reminiscent of a schoolyard fight as each side began pointing its finger at the other. Conservative Republicans charged that Democrats had limited debate simply to force "no" votes from them. The Democrats denied the accusation, saying they'd limited debate because the amendment already had been deliberated for 60 years. The absurdity of the arguments only reveals the ignorance that both sides showed toward ERA's importance. It is obvious that small congres sional minds cannot see that inequality still exists today. They are blinded by the growing numbers of women in college and the business world and cannot see that most women still sit behind typewriters and telephones. Only 5 percent of the executives in the nation's top 50 businesses are women. The pay scales haven't changed much either; women still bring home about 62 cents to men's dollar. And though they constitute 70 per cent of all classroom teachers, the average salary for women is still $3,000 below that of their male counterparts. Equality today exists only in the mind of Phyllis Schlafly. Since the vote, congressmen fearing for their seats in the 1984 elections have vowed that the ERA. will be proposed againin January during the next session, yet it is doubtful that there will be any change. Fear of unisex bathrooms combined with the ignorance of continued discrimina tion will prevent them from seeing the need for constitutional backing to lipservice equality. The inequalities haven't changed. It only can be hoped that congressional actions will. In the Orient Although President Reagan's recent visit to Japan was accompanied by almost as many smiles and pleasantries as ABC-TV's Love Boat cruise to the Orient, there was tension enough behind this veil of good will. Domestic manufacturers, especially in the automobile industry, were screaming for the White House to correct the grave trade imbalance bet ween the United States and Japan. Other Americans denounced the Japanese government for failing to pull its weight in the arena of military defense. Although there is truth to both claims, it's disturbing to hear Americans whine the second our nation's self-interest is not served. At the heart of this and just about every other debate over U.S. foreign policy is the implicit question: Where should our government draw the line between the enhancement of our own country's welfare and respect for another's? Although the White House insisted that our invasion of Grenada was as much for them as it was for us, the real impetus for military action was the presumed security threat of a communist stronghold in the Caribbean. Our government is ready to suffer the loss of the friendship of millions of Filipinos because it feels the controversial presence of U.S. military bases in the Philippines is far more important. The protection of the American way all too frequently manifests itself in amoral, un-American strategies. Fortunately, this is not the case in U.S. dealings with Japan. For once, U.S. policymakers are willing to sacrifice in the economic sphere (the United States will bear an estimated $20 billion trade deficit with Japan this year) for the friendship and alliance of a powerful people. They are recognizing the bitter memories the Japanese still have of World War II and are not pushing Japan into the arms race. They are being both pru dent and patient in willing to let the Japanese government, which has shown interest in working to overcome the trade imbalance, take small steps. They are. being not hostile but cordial. Unfortunately, many Americans don't seem to see it that way. After applauding the President's aggressive "accomplishments" in Grenada, they criticized his homecoming from Japan. They wanted better trade, more cooperation in arms production. Whatever happened to the virtues of peace and friendship? By BILL RIEDY There's a poster on a building in Raleigh with a picture of a sophisticated-looking woman standing behind bars with a cap tion that,reads: "There are some right-wing radicals out there try ing to make you a criminal." There used to be a billboard just this side of Winston-Salem on 1-40 that had a picture of a fetus on it that read: "Kill her after it's born, it's murder. Kill her now, it's abortion." The first poster was sponsored by Planned Parent hood, and the billboard was placed there by the Right to Life Committee. They represent two sides of an argu ment that has been hotly debated for at least 10 years following the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. In a forum Tuesday night, Donna Turner, state chair man of Women Exploited by Abortion, discussed her own traumatic experiences with abortion. As part of Human Rights Week, Turner brought the perspective of a woman who has joined the pro-life movement follow ing three abortions. "I used to really believe in free choice," Turner said. "When I lived out West, I used to wear on my lapel a lit tle coat hanger. That coat hanger represented my pro abortion conviction. It stood for all the women who had ever been denied the opportunity of free choice." Turner's first pregnancy came 13 years ago in Spain when she was a teen-ager in the Navy. She was unwed at the time, and the Navy wanted her to have an abortion. They wanted her to have an abortion so badly that they offered her a week in Germany a paid vacation. All she had to do was sign on the dotted line, hop on the next flight to Germany, spend one day in the hospital to take care of her "little problem" and relax during a week-long stay in Germany all at no cost to her. She refused. But it wasn't easy. She was in a very Catholic country, and unwed mothers were almost unheard of. The persecution she had to go through as a woman pregnant and unmarried was something Turner said "girls here don't have to go through." She was spit on in the streets and refused taxi service. "I had to walk to the hospital in hard labor and delivered just minutes after I got there," Turner said. After the military, Turner returned home with her daughter and got pregnant again. Going to Bible college at the time, Turner was almost forced into an abortion by her parents. It was a sin to get pregnant, but not to have an abortion. "Just repent for the sin, have an abor tion, and it's all over" was her parents' attitude, Turner said. Then Turner got pregnant a third time. By this time she said her life was a mess. She didn't know what she was doing or what was happening to her; she didn't even know or remember the names of lovers she'd had. So a girlfriend helped her out with her "little problem." Her little problem was that her jeans were fitting too tightly. So to take care of it her friend made an appoint ment for her and told her to take the day off from work. "So I took the day off, had an abortion in the morning, went for pizza in the afternoon. We made a full day of it." It wasn't as if Turner were just taking chances with sex. When her first pregnancy occurred, she was on the pill. "I took it religiously," she said. "None of this 'Oops, I went on a camping trip and forgot.' So I decid ed to be extra careful and started using a diaphragm with the pill." But it didn't work she got pregnant again. When she got pregnant a third time she was on the pill, using a diaphragm and foam. "All spontaneity went out the window, but I was being safe," she said. Her fourth pregnancy also came while she was on the pill. Every time she went in for an abortion it was the same thing. "There would be a nurse there patting my hand saying, 'You've got a right to do it.' But the worst part is the woman doesn't even have the right to know" her full medical condition. That stance has been upheld in numerous federal court decisions, Turner said. When she went in for her second abortion, the one arranged by a friend, they never told her she was pregnant. "The doctor said to me, 'A group of cells have lodged themselves in your uterus, and we're going to have them expelled.' No one told me I was pregnant or was going to have a baby. They were just going to expel some cells and take care of my problem." When her fourth pregnancy came, Turner ignored it, pretending that it didn't exist, hoping it would go away. Finally a friend made another appointment for her to take care of her "little problem." By the time she went in for her abortion she was entering her seventh month. For the sake of expediency, Turner said, the doctor gave her a second-trimester, instead of a third-trimester, saline injection. After the injection was finished, she was told to go home and come back the next day. "For 6I2 hours that night I felt such a violent thrashing and kicking fight that I wept." Waking up the next morning, Turner was During Human Rights Week, The Daily Tar Heel will be running daily columns by the editorial staff highlighting several of the speeches and programs offered to students and faculty. Today's column centers on the controversy over the issue of abortion. Friday: Cities and the Poor already in hard labor that lasted for 12 hours. On the way to the hospital she delivered her son. "I delivered him myself in the back seat of the car. He was an almost perfect baby except for the bruises, the oozing chemical wounds and the burned-out eye sockets. I had committed a premeditated murder. I lost my mind, holding my son, rocking him, telling him how sorry I was." And in losing her mind,. Turner lost everything. She lost her job, her husband, her daughter, herself. "I wasn't even allowed time to grieve," she said. "I was ex pected back at work the next day. If someone had had a miscarriage or a stillbirth, she would certainly receive sympathy and be expected to take time off from work." But anyone who has an abortion isn't supposed to mourn for any kind of loss. Two-and-a-half years ago Turner said she finally got her life together with God's help. During a trial to regain custody of her daughter, she told the courts of the prob lems of abortion. The only reaction she got was, "So what?" When she decided to try and get a support group to gether to stop infanticide, she didn't even know of the pro-life and right-to-life movements. "I thought I was the only one in the nation who felt this way," she said. For a rookie such as herself, Turner said the fight against the exploitation of women by abortion has been at times exhilarating. Since her involvement with WEBA she has met people who have been involved with the pro-life movement for more than 50 years. And she has worked with women suffering from abortions they had had 60 years ago, illegally. Abortion exploits women physically, financially and sexually, Turner said. "Abortion is the grossest form of exploitation we've got." Bill Riedy, a junior English and political science major from Raleigh, is an editorial assistant for The Daily Tar Heel. 'We Shall Overcome' The songs and ideals of Pete Seeger By GIGI SONNER When civil rights protestors marched in Washington, D.C., in 1963, the nation witnessed a quarter of a million people linking arms and singing "We Shxll Overcome." This song was part of the march last August also, and in the crowd was Pete Seeger, a man who has been singing for jobs, peace and freedom for over 40 years. He and Arlo Guthrie will bring their music to Memorial Hall tonight. "We Shall Overcome," like most folk songs, is rhythmic, repetitive and has a deceptive simplicity. An early version probably sung by slaves said "I will overcome." In 1946, a group of black union members sang it on a picket line but with one important change: The "I" became "We." In 1947, someone taught the song to Seeger. He added a few verses and in troduced the new version to people in different parts of the country. It took on a life on its own, showing up at civil rights demonstrations across the country. It was sung during the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., in 1956. It was sung during the Selma, Ala., march of 1965. Today people sing it at church services, sing-a-longs and family reunions. , The process this song has gone through is the process that defines folk music. As people from different times and different places in different situa tions sing a song, it changes and becomes more topical. Throughout the process, the song entertains and gives hope. The only thing atypical about "We Shall Overcome" as a folk song is the wide audience it has received; few other folk songs are so widely known. Seeger has taught it to millions of people in over 25 countries. This song has not only seen, it has taken part in, a lot of history. And so has Seeger. Seeger, who has been a professional folksinger since the late '30s, has called himself a "joiner," someone who bor rows different elements from many dif ferent songs to make a new one. He is also a joiner of causes and organizations. In the '30s, he sang for unions and peace. During World War II, he sang against Hitler. In the '50s and '60s, he sang for civil rights. In the '70s, he sang for a clean environment. to answer, pleading the First Amend ment rather than the Fifth. If he had used the Fifth Amendment, he would have been saying that he didn't have to testify against himself. But by using the First, he said that the committee had no right to ask any American these kinds of questions, that his associations and be liefs were personal and not subject to anyone's approval. He was cited for con tempt of Congress and tried in 1961. He was found guilty of refusing to answer 10 of HUACs questions, and was sentenced to a year in prison. After seven years of The past 20 years have seen a major change in attitudes, a change that has been in part brought about by people like Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie. He has seen enough hatred and ig norance to embitter a weaker man. In 1968 he and his family, along with about 1 ,000 others, were attacked as they left a Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill, N.Y. Robeson, a black singer and actor, was hated for his outspoken opposition to race discrimination. The assailants threw rocks and stones at the cars as they left and beat with clubs all who resisted. As the rocks crashed through the car win dows, the shattered glass cut the men, women and children who had attended the concert. The assailants yelled, "Go back to Russia! Kikes! Nigger-lovers!" He's been subjected to red-baiting and blacklisting, which has kept him off radio and television. In 1955, he was sub poenaed by the House Un-American Ac tivities Committee and asked about his communist associations. Seeger refused seeing his name in the headlines, he was finally acquitted when the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the decision in 1962. In his book, The Incompleat Folk singer, Seeger articulated perhaps the best statement of his beliefs: "It's too easy and too untrue to call anyone these days some kind of an 'ist' ... I can only say that whatever I believe in can be easily deduced from my songs. Darn near a thousand different ones during the last 25 years or more. My songs can't help but reflect my feelings about people, the world, peace, freedom, etc. I'm about as much a Com munist as my songs are. I'm about as anti-Communist as my songs are. I am as right as my songs are. And as wrong." Most people in college today grew up during the 20 years between the 1963 march on Washington and the one last August. This generation was raised on songs like "We Shall Overcome." For the most part, it takes for granted that civil rights belong to people of all races, although we still have a long way to go before ideals become reality. The past 20 years have seen a major change in at titudes, a change that has been in part brought about by people like Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie. As part of his HUAC testimony, Seeger said: "I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation of life. . .and I am proud of the fact that my songs seem to cut across and find perhaps a unifying thing, basic humani ty." There is no arguing that Seeger is idealistic. Critics have charged that, like his music, his philosophies are naive and simple-minded. But when the practical and sophisticated among us get bogged down in the complicated details of nuclear deployment plans and industrial regulations and supply-side economics and first strike capabilities and budget cuts and Middle East peacekeeping logistics and methods of educational reform, an idealist like Pete Seeger comes along like a breath of fresh air. Not only idealistic, but committed to his convictions, Seeger can make the issues simple again, can make us recognize our basic human responsibilities. He forces us to question the humanity of our ac tions. And through both his message and his medium, he gives us hope that one day, we will overcome. Gigi Sonner, a junior English major from Norfolk, Va is an editorial assis tant for The Daily Tar Heel. Fast for hunger responsibility By MARSHALL MILLS For now I ask no more than the justice of eating. Pablo Neruda, from The Great Tablecloth Food is man's most basic need, the sustenance of life. To live a life only partially sustained is to be less than fully alive. Hunger saps one of physical and mental energy, creating a dull, weary existence of nagging desire. At least one-sixth of the earth's in habitants are seriously malnourished. Although enough food is produced in the world to feed everyone, the world system fails to provide adequate nourishment to almost a billion people. This same world system manages to spend $800 billion a year on defense programs, while contributing a relative pittance to meet the basic needs of the defenseless. To the average American, world hunger calls to mind pictures of starving babies and doleful pleas for donations. But it is much more than that. We who live at the top of the system often fail to notice those below us. For it is always the weak and powerless the babies and the poor who starve. This disparity is suitably illustrated by the allocation of the world's cereal production. Almost half of this grain is used to produce meat for consumption primarily in the developed world, while the other half is stretched to feed three-quarters of the world's population in the developing countries. The crux of the problem lies in the predicament of those societies unable to feed their members, for whom world hunger is hot a mental abstraction or "worthy cause," but a physical fact of life. These societies are undergoing massive social change. The rapid introduction of modern health and sanitation methods has greatly increased life ex pectancy and decreased infant mortality. Mean while, the birth rate has remained the same because traditional social arrangements have continued. The obvious result is a boom in population growth. More than 40 percent of the populations of Africa, Latin America and Asia is less than 15 years old. Consequently, the growth in population in many of these societies has outpaced the growth in the food supply, despite advances in agriculture. Integration into an advanced world economy exacerbates the effect of this change. Arable land is frequently used for cash crops. Intended to ac cumulate capital for development, cash-crop agriculture has placed developing nations at a disad vantage, with the industrial goods and replacement food from developed countries costing more than the income from cash crops. Furthermore, cash crops displace subsistence farmers and concentrate income and land ownership. Developing countries must also compete with rich, industrial countries for raw materials, increas ing their costs. The clamor for the expensive weaponry of more advanced countries, encouraged by superpower conflict, further depletes crucial capital and increases poverty. The net effect is a diversion of resources from food production to technological production, creating masses of unemployed and unproductive people. In light of its causes, world hunger is hardly the sole responsibility of the hungry or their societies. As Americans, dedicated to fairness and equality, we should examine our position with respect to world hunger. We must acknowledge that there is hunger in the world. The problem exists. Developed societies such as ours had a role in the creation of the problem, because of the introduction of modern health methods, the creation of an advanced world economy and the participation in an unending arms race. And we are in a position to do something about world hunger. America is a land of plenty. This plenty leads to staggering waste. With only 6 percent of the world's population, this country consumes 40 percent of the world's annual energy production. We waste 20 per cent of all the food we buy. To make matters worse, members of industrialized societies have a great predilection for meat. Meat production, however, is a grossly inefficient method of obtaining nourish ment from the land; eighi pounds of grain is needed to produce one pound of beef. People in developing countries try to live on a fifth of the food that peo ple in developed nations consume. This overcon sumption on our part encourages heart disease and obesity. Ironically, we in the developed world usual ly experience hunger when counteracting the effects of overindulgence. Clearly, there is a surplus here in America, one that has been estimated to be capable of eliminating world hunger. Of course, the solution is not so sim ple as giving the hungry our surplus. As demonstrated, world hunger is part of a complex world system affected by social and political forces and afflicted with many ills. Yet Americans should keep this surplus in mind when considering world hunger. The problem is not that there is not enough food but that the world system does not distribute this food equitably enough to meet everyone's needs. What is needed is an improvement in the system. And as Americans enjoying the fruits of this system to an unfair extent, we should work hard for that improvement. What can we do? The basis for any improvement is understanding the problem. After educating ourselves, we must decide whai effective changes would help. Programs to increase American awareness of the problem, aid to developing societies to feed themselves, and stopgap measures to alleviate widespread starvation should be con sidered. The problems of a system of which we are a part must be recognized and addressed. As the richest, most educated individuals in this system we should begin the process of improve ment. Organizations have been founded for this purpose. Oxfam America, a private, non-sectarian aid agency, has a proud history of effective fund raising and self-help programs. They offer the. tools and training to achieve agricultural self-sufficiency to those nations who need them. Oxfam's most famous stateside activity is its annual Fast for a World Harvest, which raises money for projects in some 30 nations and raises consciousness in our own country. Individuals fast for a meal or a day to ex perience the effects of hunger firsthand and con tribute the money not spent on food to the relief programs. The Committee for Hunger Responsibili ty of the Campus Y shares Oxfam's objectives and is organizing the fast on campus for today. Those who want to help can fast, make a donation and at tend the Break Fast meal, where fellow participants will share their thoughts. Sign-up tables are in the Pit and the Pine Room. While you were reading this, at least 50 more peo ple died of starvation. Wouldn't you like to prevent further injustice? Marshall Mills is a sophomore international rela tions major from Charlotte.