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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 22. 4th September 1974

Farewell old glory

Farewell old glory

Dear Sir,

The Post, Saturday, August 31, 1974:

"In an unusual comment for an American President, Mr Ford hit hard on the theme of Communist Chinese productivity, stressing its growth and increasing technology.

"Chinese productivity is gaining momentum, and the majority of Chinese are young people, highly motivated and disciplined," Mr Ford said.

"As human beings, we celebrate the rising capacities of the Chinese nation, people with a firm belief in their own destiny.

"As Americans motivated by tree competition, we see a distinct challenge and I believe all Americans accept that challenge."

"Instead of dwelling on how my team lost here in 1934," Mr Ford said, "I would prefer to advance the clock to 1974 and talk about winning against the odds that confront today's graduates and all America.

"I propose a great new partnership of labour and educators.

"Why can't the universities of America open their doors to working men and women, not only as students but also as teachers? Practical problem-solvers can contribute much to education, whether or not they hold degrees. The fact of the matter is that education Is being strangled—by degrees."

So there has been a change of dynasty in Washington. The new President, no doubt, was cultivating one of his many constituencies in this speech at Ohio State University. But his words still have a certain mint value.

Gerald Ford has gone further than most of his political contemporaries; he has recognised that America's greatest resource, its best minds, are working at odds, and have been condemned to cynicism or narrow ends. He sees that the catastrophe is ideological, and he sees with awe and admiration, like so many of us watching the Chinese experiment, that commitment to social rather than personal ends is a viable ambition for people of all kinds. He recognises the degenerate and sterile status system of the American academic class.

He has not mentioned that dedication by the people can only be based upon the example and good faith of leadership. He has not recognised that competition is the antithesis of the Chinese model, that it is a virus spreading social paralysis along with uncontrolled, indeed spectacular economic growth. He has not accepted that all the defences of the corporate-capitalist state are in its facade. Clawed brittly into the bark of an old tree, fragile in the breeze, the glistening hollow shell of a giant insect, its guts long since picked out by countless ants.

Farewell old glory, all hail the age of dedication. How many of the President's constituents will draw the proper conclusion from his daring contrast of ideologies?

Thorold May