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From Northeastern University the National Information Network presents urban confrontation. I don't think there is a conservative businessman in the country today that can stay in business for a year if he isn't continually updating is a process of doing business continually taking inventory. You cannot think competitive. If you follow the same business practices it great grandfather did it in front of the business. And if we do do it in business if we do it in our personal lives it's a continual struggle is it not. We're going to put a new one out how are we going to buy a new car. We're going to send Susie to school we're going to put braces on Johnny. All of these things we try to allocate our limited resources in those areas that are of the greatest importance to us. And time has come where we have to do this with our national resources on a national level. This week on urban confrontations urged by Democratic Senator from Indiana.
This week's program changing America urged by an electoral reform. During the past few months this radio series has presented many senators and congressmen in its lineup of guests men like Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota Adam Clayton Powell of New York and George McGovern of South Dakota. During the next half hour you will hear another legislator who is rapidly becoming one of the most outspoken senators in the Democratic Party. Birch bye of Indiana senator by Among his other efforts tried in the fall of 1070 to withstand a Southern filibuster of his legislation that would have provided for the direct election of the president and eliminated the electoral college in a day when change is on the lips of many people. Birch baaing considers the question of whether the American system of government can be maintained. He answers a qualified yes. I have the good fortune every year to share periods like
this with. Our young men and women in this country. If there's one question that is asked with great regularity more than any other is the phone. Senator Biden you think this system will work. Rephrased a bit Center right here. We are working with a system that was formulated 200 years ago to meet the needs of US companies aside a handful of people. Now we have over 200 million people who are living in the midst of the space age. Does this type of system does this type of government have within it the responsiveness the ability to deal with the critical problems that affect our nation in this day and in the sea. To me as one who has been in the system one way or another working in the legislative branch first in Indiana and now in Washington for some 16 years that has to be
the most basic the most fundamental question. And the fact that it is on the minds of not only young but older people increasing intensity is a symptom of the times in which we live. There's no easy way to answer that question. Basically I think the answer is yes our system will work. Yeah throw in a couple of carry out. First of all you know those of us who are concerned. Those of us who are responsible are willing to work within the system to give our time and our talents in a meaningful way. Into knowing who are presently in charge of the system recognize the need to make some basic changes some fundamental changes which are required to make the system respond to the problems that exist today which didn't exist 200 years ago or even 20 years ago. One of the most controversial issues in the Senate during past sessions has been electoral reform. Senator Biden says that America prides itself on being a democracy
yet denies its citizens the right to vote for the president or the vice president. Birch buy worked and tried to pass an amendment which would have provided for what he considers the very basic and important electoral changes needed to make the federal government work. He describes his reasons for pushing so hard on this bill and points out that interesting anonymous Electra's is no way to elect a president. Let me touch on some of the changes that I think can be very helpful. For the past four or five years I've been working with the problems of electoral reform not just to get my name on another constitutional amendment because it seems to me we have there in one relatively small area. What I call hypocrisy gap between what we say and what we do what we promised and how our system performs. Better than perhaps any other example I can point out. We pride ourselves on being the world's greatest democracy yet we
deny our people the right to vote for their president right. Most of you know that but for the few of you who do not let me remind you that we don't we never have voted for prez and Vice President we vote these elect or anybody you ever met intellect or. I remember trying this on a very good friend who I'd known like forever. You know if this person picked me up at the airport I'm going over to a meeting in Northern Indiana as we're riding along I was giving my pitch about how important this electoral reform thing is and I was saying just what I should not know. Here we elect these elect are the completely brain independent. They don't have to vote for the candidate that carried their state and ignored their constituency. Hamilton said they were supposed to be the most learned and best known individuals in each state. Here we don't know if you have a mental act or this person got around a sheepish look on their face and yes. I'm one. Basically we do choose economic doors and we do have the situation we had in the. Just in 1968 where Lloyd Lloyd Bailie Dr. Bailey from the 2nd
Congressional District of North Carolina ignored the fact that the state of North Carolina had gone for Richard Nixon and felt conscience stricken to vote for George was. Is there anybody here from the 2nd Congressional District of North Carolina. The interesting thing about this feature in our Electoral College system is here in 1968 every voter in that particular district that wanted to vote for Richard Nixon had no way of doing so. I'm not sure that's the greatest tragedy that ever. Grieve with the president and in his administration I think we have to recognize that we ought to give all voters the opportunity to express themselves. If the only way a Republican voter wanted to vote Richard Nixon could cast that vote was a vote the Republican ticket in North Carolina.
Immediately when the Republican ticket carried the state of North Carolina the Republican electorate were elected in their incomes. Dr. Bailey his name wasn't on the ballot but by voting for Richard Nixon he automatically comes into play in the second district. That's the only way. And when he cast his vote for George Washington probably disenfranchise anyone who wanted to cast him rich. Well that's one of the problems the suspect. We do not vote directly for pres and vice pres all her votes don't count the same Some of them count a lot. Some of them don't count at all at least for the cancer which is a K. best example I've had given me and this occurred to me really and in the midst of the speech the spring before last when I was addressing a joint session the Arkansas legislature where I was in a beautiful ornate chamber in Little Rock and I suddenly realized right in the middle of my presentation to them that everybody in that chamber was either Democrat or Republican. All of the men and women the senators and representatives and yet every citizen in the state of
Arkansas in 1968 they cast their vote for Richard Nixon or Hubert Humphrey. Not only lost their vote but had cast instead for George Romney who got 38 percent only 38 percent of the popular vote in Arkansas. But under the Universal got 100 percent of Arkansas electoral vote. That's hardly a way to run a democratic process. Hardly anything to be proud of and the fact of the present system does not guarantee that the man who wins is the man who gets the most votes three occasions we've had this happen and I suggest to you we ought to learn the lesson the 968 the near tragedy where they're going to change of lesson point 2000. Forty two thousand votes in the right three city we went to electing any president on Election Day because Mr Nixon or Mr Hoover needed would have had a majority of the Electoral College vote and this would have given the governor while she had those 46 free and independent elect doors and we found out afterwards that most of them had signed affidavits before the election pledging to vote for whomever he
asked them to. He could have ended on first the Nixon campaign in the country came back and forth and then said OK gentleman. What am I bid to make you present the image that we would have auctioned off the presidency in some smoke filled room. And I feel very strongly that it would be absolutely impossible for any president the United States to govern if he was chosen in this manner if he was chosen in a matter in which you had a preponderance of votes for his opposition and yet he was the man to grab the brass ring and I suggest despite some of the. Admonitions to the contrary that this is going to wreck our system it's going to proliferate our party structure it's going to destroy the federal system it's going to death to create a constitution. This isn't such a novel idea. I wish I could claim credit for that but we choose our other offices the senators and governors and state legislators the mayors. We elect all other officials the same way it seems to me the time has come once a parar to put aside some of the straw man and give the people in this country the right to vote for the president. That isn't very
good. The filibuster is an old legislative maneuver where a minority of men can prevent an issue from coming to a vote by simply continuing debate on the bill. Senator Biden met head on with the filibustering that was waged by some senators who were against his electoral reform measure. He tells us that it is ludicrous to think that without the filibuster legislation would occur too rapidly. One of the other imperfections of the system is a very closely related to this battle that we're waiting right now some of you may have followed. We are being denied the right to even vote on this in the Senate. Here is a matter that passed the House by a 337 a vote there's a matter that is supported in every poll I've seen by about 80 percent of the people it's been endorsed by organizations as far as part of the Chamber of Commerce the AFL CIO the Bar Association the League of Women Voters. It has great national support but right now there are handful of men who have successfully filibustered this and prevented us from even going on. It's difficult for me
all I am here to suggest we have to make the system work and we can't. It makes my drive a lot more difficult telling you that I'm a good one right now there are a handful of members of the United States Senate who don't even have the courage to let the United States Senate vote on this important issue and I think the time of filibustering should be over. I see no rational reason for suggesting any emperor ever was a rationale or if you can even if you're a strong supporter of the filibuster. As necessary to let this nation mean Tina steady and to prevent a wave of hysteria from sweeping across America and finding Congress swept away in a motions and passing some hideous piece of legislation and we suddenly awaken the fine is very detrimental to the country. Even if you buy this line of argument I suggest that a constitutional amendment requires two thirds of the Senate anyhow. It also happens to require two thirds of the house and just
coincidentally you have to get three fourths of the state legislature. Hardly a precipitous type of legislative process. For more than a decade and a half Birch Bae has worked in government and one of the causes he tried to fight for was the right of 18 year old citizens to vote in the United States. He illustrates that in light of our involvement in Vietnam there is an inequity in preventing these men and women from taking part in the democratic process. One of the majors and I feel very strongly about since I first went to the legislature some 16 years ago deals with another element of this partnership gap and that's the fact there are tonight between 10 and 11 million young Americans that are required to carry the responsibilities of citizenship. But do not have all of the rights of citizenship. I think the fact that 18 19 and 20 year olds are not given the right to vote I think. In equities they believe in the fact that right now half of those who
have lost their lives in Vietnam have not won or not vote for the public officials that sent them there. I'm sure some of you are. Aware of the other inequities in this particular area. I'm concerned that we're losing a lot of resource. I may look at you in terms of cold terms a resource with a lot of young people in our dedication willing to work within the system and something like this turns of off. Hopefully the Supreme Court will. Concur with Congress and will. Uphold the Constitution now the of the 1970 Voting Rights Act that happens in the next year 18 19 20 year olds will be able to vote. I must say and I know this may not be a very popular thing to do I must be very frank with you I don't think giving the vote to young people is automatically axiomatically going to make all these problems disappear. I just don't believe that I must say to you I think young people have their faults the same degree as older people do. What this does is give young people a chance to be in there
where the action is and then it's up to them to make the system work. Right now there's no way of finding a handle on the system no way of getting in and feeling involved and I think this is a tragic situation. Many. Men have spoken about reordering our national priorities our involvement in Vietnam the ABM and the s s t all have been questioned and some people feel that the resources spent on these commitments could be better spent Birch by explains that the United States could be solving the problems of pollution hunger and disease. If we set high priorities for these programs another area that is of deep concern to me in the business of. The gap between where we would like to be and where we are and where I think maybe most people feel we are and where we really are dealing with a subject that. Has been discussed in some way and it's sort of one of the in topics and I know that but just hope it is a priority.
I just think we are past that time in our history when we can continue to follow a certain program to invest our nation training in certain areas just because been done that way ever since we can remember. I think we have to say once and for all we're going to invest the National Treasure of the United States of America on those things that are the most important to our country and we're not doing that now. We're not doing that. I know there are some that say well you know this is another one of those wild liberal schemes or whatever you mean. Care to describe it I wonder that day really but I don't think there is a conservative businessman in the country today that can stay in business for a year if he isn't continually updating is a process of doing business continually taking inventory. He cannot think competitive if he follows the same business practices. His great grandfather did who founded the business. And if we do this in business if we do it in our personal lives it's a continual struggle is it not.
We're going to put a new rap on the how are we going to buy a new car we're going to send Susie to school we're going to put braces on Johnny or all of these things we try to allocate our limited resources in those areas that are of the greatest importance to us and the time has come where we have to do this with our national resources on a national level. There's going to great real discussion about that not maybe some of you would Caird pursue that in greater detail. Later on talked about the lives lost and twisted bodies billions of dollars that are spent and what if we ever stopped askers of just how important is the continued involvement of it. How important is the expenditure of resources in this area compared to the way we can spend it in other areas. I've answered that question in my own mind. I just think there's something wrong with the national priority system which we've been following which is ban twenty
one thousand dollars for each enemy soldier we kill and are only vetting about four hundred twenty five or thirty dollars for every boy and girl we have in the Primary Secondary School of national resource. Something wrong with that. Something wrong. When a system that would almost write a blank check and believe me that almost what we've done despite the claims of 7 8 10 11 billion dollars for the ABM system. There's something wrong with the system. Let's invest our natural resources for this very questionable venture of billions of dollars. When tonight in this great rich wealthy country of ours are about a million children going to bed hungry. There's something wrong with a society that will sit still for. A policy of cutting back in cancer research and heart research and stroke and rheumatism arthritis when we've made so much progress. The job is also far from finished.
We have to do something about it. A great deal of talk about environment and economy on the White House rhetoric and all of that comes off a Capitol Hill and all of it that comes from students and professors on Earth Day. Not going to solve that problem. We had to dedicate ourselves to establishing a national goal oriented program and we're going to invest as many dollars as much of our national traitor as necessary to actually do the job. There is no easy way of doing. We have to be willing to make these tough difficult decisions and hopefully do a better job of allocating our resources. And we've done in the past as the problems in this country grow and the people become more concerned. There has been a tendency towards a certain polarization in American society. Too often issues lose their significance and problems are personalized. We sometimes even question one another's patriotism. Senator by concludes by describing proudly his love for America and builds an
optimistic hope that the problems and priorities can be changed to build a better America. In closing let me suggest one of the things that perhaps concerns me more than any other is the. And the fact that I'm convinced the day we have the ability we have the technological capacity we have the resources to deal with some of the problems that concern you and concern me and concern all of us as a citizen. I suppose you could say I'm convinced we have a cane and I'm not totally convinced we have them we are not totally convinced we have the will. Perhaps there are some of you who are here who say well we just no way of doing it. We can't harvest our resources we can't be sophisticated enough in our programming comprehensive enough to to really solve some of the critical problems of crime of drugs the poverty. Of hunger. And I think you're selling this country sure.
I just happen to believe that any nation that has the dedication and the capacity technological capability of harnessing all is necessary. My man on the moon. If we have our way all we can do any even better job of cleaning up what's right outside our own back door. I'm convinced we can do it. I've been to most parts of the world in the. Let me say before I terminate there's been a filibuster I haven't been to the place where I. Really want to trade places with anyone else. Despite my concern about our inability yet to come to grips with the problem dining. John Kennedy's book of virtues by. Hopefully for most of you and he said in his inaugural address I would not exchange places with any other people. Or any of the generation I think we can make this system work. And I make no apologies for the fact that I.
Dearly love my country but I am concerned about some of the pronouncements from some of these modern day Patriots. Let's put a different definition on plagiarism that I wrote that I remember. Now we were told by some that if we disagree with the president. Or if we point to things that. Are yet imperfect in a great. Country. And do something suspicious. Unpatriotic. And disloyal about us or our motives. Well this is a free country and anybody is free to make this judgment for themselves. And I think yes there are some here who by the definition of paid to. You know to go back home before you go to bed tonight you're out of luck. You got your civics book and you're look at chapter one. And see what some of the truly depraved rich Nathan Hale and some of the rest of them. Did and said about patriotism.
Sure. Maybe we ought to do more to stress what's right in our country rather than what's wrong the president said. But I think we have a responsibility off to do more to right what's wrong. With our country. In truth Peter Pan them suggest yes you thank God for the fact that we live in the United States. But you're wanting to stand up and speak out and make whatever sacrifices necessary including the supreme sacrifice. If you think our condition or problem can exam that need to be right. True patriotism is a symptomatic. And uneasy lie. Given. The go along. I'm. Going to make America go along in my judgment. And I suggest that some of you. Have the obligation I hope you know except. To do what's necessary around. Now or later. To use your influence to put things in proper perspective.
Those who try to degrade their fellow Americans who look at things differently than they are. Are looking at their country differently than I do. This responsibility of course of getting this country moving. Reordering these priorities. Maintaining the environment in the. Attic cage necessary to. Make America truly the nation where the impossible dream can come true. This is our responsibility. It's not going to be stopped by the US to. Work in Washington whether we live in the. Whether we work in the Senate or the Congress or the White House. When you go to Albany or you work in City Hall this is. Our country as a great mass of individuals joining together. Is going to ultimately determine whether we accept this responsibility or not. Edmund Burke put it pretty well I think some of you may say when I you know when you. Rely on the. Top of the Britisher that lived 200 years ago.
Edmund Burke described by some of the radical as a favorite of mine because he was one of the few million members of the British Parliament that had courage during the Revolutionary War to go on to the floor of the House of Commons and say you thought the Americans were right. He didn't think there should be taxation without representation he didn't think that mothering them should have counted. He was on the side of the revolutionaries in this country. And he spoke very eloquently. The Democratic prophet. When he said all that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world is for enough good men to do nothing. And that history 200 years ago in an admonitory tonight. Right here in New York or Cairo in the end. All that's necessary for evil to prevail in the world or not the death of that and do nothing. I'd like to get to you if we can take a lesson from Evan Burke and put a little 20th century twist on it and. The positive approach and say that all the necessary for good to provide.
For enough good men and women that it ya know Black and White got a brown. Running man. To do what in their capacity. And to do everything that in their capacity. My judgment. Anything less than that. Is not really going to get this country going where I think it can go on and pray to God it will. Northeastern University has Rocky break by Democratic senators from Indiana. Based program changing America first by and electoral reform. The views and opinions expressed on the preceding program were not necessarily those of Northeastern University or the state. This week's
Urban Confrontation
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Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Urban Confrontation is an analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century man in the American city, covering issues such as campus riots, assassinations, the internal disintegration of cities, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Produced for the Office of Educational Resources at the Communications Center of the nations largest private university, Northeastern University.
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Producing Organization: Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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Identifier: 70-5-27 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Chicago: “Urban Confrontation; 27,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 4, 2021,
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APA: Urban Confrontation; 27. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from