Democracy?

DISSENTING OPINION

SOUND THE ALARM! The sky is falling, the walls are crumbling, the earth is shaking. Democracy is being repudiated.

Or so it seems, at least to a majority of The Crimson, which today turns its back on the needs of minority students as well as its own past editorial policy. Now that the acid test of its commitment to minority students has arrived, The Crimson has decided to bail out, and all in the name of the most sacred of gods, Democracy.

Is it the democracy of our Founding Fathers, which The Crimson values above the legitimate concerns and fears of minority students? If it is, let us recall the framers' tolerance of slavery as well as their oppression of women.

Or is it the democracy of ancient Greece that the Crimson respects above all else? If it is, let us remember the Greeks' insistence that all voting citizens own land before we dismiss the minority students' demands.

Perhaps it is the most perfect, idealized form of democracy that the Crimson worships. If it is, let us say that real people, real needs, and real interests are now being sacrificed to an idea which has never and will never exist.

What is more, democracy in its purest forms should never be allowed to exist. The Founding Fathers, the ancient Greeks, even a majority of the Crimson realized that unleashed democracy will always fail to protect minorities from a tyranny of the majority.

Special provisions for special interests must be included if we wish to fashion a republican government that will work fairly for all, not in some fortune-teller's vision of a future perfect world, but in our imperfect world today.

The Crimson is willing to overlook traditional Bill of Rights guarantees as corruptions of democracy, but refuses to take the essential step beyond into our current society, where Blacks, Chicanos and gays continue to suffer discrimination because they have been effectively shut out of the political process.

Although we expect the new Dowling government to fail in meeting the needs of most students--since it is only an advisory body with no real power to affect Harvard's policies--we can see no reason not to give minority students' concerns an equal chance of success.

If to achieve this goal of equality we must add another special interest to the already long list that exists today, we will do so recognizing minority students' demands, not as perversions of democracy, but as another attempt to make government work for all the governed.