Augusta National: The bogeyman of discrimination
Prelude to War…
The latest round in America’s perpetual war against discrimination, both imagined and real, is taking place on the turf of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the prestigious Masters Tournament since 1934.
In what is old news by now, Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women’s Organizations wrote (spelled “fired”) a letter to Augusta chief Hootie Johnson and requested (spelled “demanded”) that Augusta’s policy of “male only” membership be changed to include women.
Johnson matter-of-factly responded that he (and presumably Augusta National) would not be bullied into action. Burk admitted her own surprise with Johnson’s response to her demand, “I honestly figured I’d get a note back saying, ‘We’re working on it, stay tuned,’ and I would have let it go for a while.”
With the certainty of her convictions, if not a joint U.N. resolution, Burk let loose the dogs of war.
Martha does not think Augusta is a good thing without her.
And the Battle Begins…
Burk, through her position at NCWO, retaliated by pressuring Augusta members who are CEOs of major corporations. Burk called corporations such as Citigroup, Coca-Cola and IBM to task for their sponsorship of the now sexist Masters tournament (the correspondence can be read at the NCWO website). Not surprisingly, Sanford L. Weill of Citigroup, former U.S. senator and Coca-Cola board member Sam Nunn and Louis V. Gerstner of IBM (retired) are all supposedly Augusta members.
Not to be outflanked, Hootie Johnson then pulled the plug on the tournament’s sponsors to block Burk’s end run attempt at greenmailing the club into compliance à la Jessie Jackson tactics. Apparently, the Masters is putting principal before profit.
And…just who are the principled?
The Warring Parties…
An unknown libertarian author once observed that, “Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.” In an odd twist of fate, those who are perceived to be the wolves have actually become the sheep.
James Madison speaks directly to this issue in the Federalist Papers:
A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide themselves into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and view. The regulations of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation…
What all of the defenders against the various “ism’s” want the world to believe is exactly what Madison wrote…the bad guys are guys and they spring from the moneyed interests of the world. This perfectly fits the image of the rich and powerful that populate the exclusive ranks of the Augusta National membership list.
The sad paradox, however, is that the “rich and powerful” have become socially sanctioned whipping boys in the politically correct world.
Whenever an “interest” is questing for an objective, the first step of the journey is to isolate an enemy much like the Nazis targeted the Jews. This deflects all of the attention from the merits of the case and identifies the objective of the “interest” with the demise of the targeted. In the absence of this abhorrent strategy, the “interest” would be forced to use logic that may be found to be faulty.
The new sensitivity of the politically correct world prohibits the use of boogiemen (spelled boogiepeople) as whipping posts. Hypocritically, the only exemptions to this rule are males; specifically white, successful, law abiding heterosexual males. Persecution of white males has been elevated to a socially noble pursuit.
The Forgotten Battle…
In typical bourgeois fashion, the trendy American media made front-page news about elite women denied access to the elite male bastion of Augusta National. This new cause célèbre is presumed worthy of front-page coverage because it bespeaks of the worst form of discrimination…the dreaded white male discriminating against the abused white female. Yet, in the same general time frame, another instance of gross discrimination was taking place and it was all but ignored except in the most obscure corners of the media.
At the five-day African and African Descendants’ World Conference Against Racism in Barbados, a vote was taken by the delegates to eject all whites and Asians from the conference. The vote was affirmative and they were ejected. As delegate Kwaku Bonsu, a London disc jockey and black activist, so eloquently explained it, “We told them emphatically that we don’t want to be sitting down with no Europeans or Asians….”
Conference chairwoman Jewel Crawford of the U.S. rationalized it more subtly: “There are a number of black people who have been traumatized by white people and they suffered psychologically and emotionally and, as a result of that trauma, some of them did not care to discuss their issues in front of them.” Besides, “the motion of exclusion was the will of the majority.” Well Jewel, that makes it OK!
So much for the Constitutional concept of minority rights protection from the tyranny of majority rule…or does that only apply when the perceived majority is white male?
And Now the Case For Quid Pro Quo…
Both of these cases of discrimination are based on the concept of public monies being used to subsidize private prejudices. Did the government of Barbados subsidize the conference with any public monies? Was the U.S. delegation subsidized by U.S. public money? Is Augusta National receiving any special tax treatment that furthers the cause of sexual discrimination?
Burk (from NCWO) has concerns over whether corporate funds or tax dollars are subsidizing Augusta National and she is pursuing that investigation. At the very least, if Augusta is receiving any special tax treatment it must, by federal law, either drop its male-only policy or give up the tax subsidy.
While Burk is at it, perhaps she should investigate the tax status of some other gender exclusionary private institutions. A good guess about gender discriminators receiving taxpayer subsidies might include the all women institutions of Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke and Smith colleges.
It has always seemed a hypocritical and paternal paradox that these all-women institutions claim non-profit status, receive preferential tax treatment and are encouraged by many supposed gender rights advocates to continue their exclusionary policies.
From the same relative perspective as Augusta National, these very exclusive institutions of higher learning cater to those who either are or will become the very elite of American society. Any qualified person not granted the opportunity for an education at one of these institutions because of gender exclusive policies would be placed at a permanent disadvantage. There is business conducted in alumni networks.
And it Becomes the War of the Roses…
Hootie and Martha are both correct to a degree and incorrect to a degree. There exists a Constitutional right to privacy in America. However, there is no right to have the taxpayer subsidize that privacy. Ms. Buck’s tactics against Augusta National border on personal harassment with the intention of denying the Augusta members their right to privacy and free association. Whether or not she inflicts enough wounds to make Hootie’s green jacket turn red (maybe pink??) is not the issue.
The real threat is personified by the likes of Jewel Crawford. The day that this country tolerates a person who would justify ejecting whites and Asians from an anti-racism conference is the day that the crazy people are running the institution.
There exists in America a Constitutional form of government that protects the rights of the individual from the tyranny of the majority. That is why America is a democratic republic and not a democracy. A democracy is a license for anarchy.
It is however the inequitable whining of the Martha Burks of this world that pave the way for the excesses of the Jewel Crawfords. And let there be no doubt that Crawford’s acts stink like petty anarchy.
Perhaps there should be a cooling off period in this entire debate during which Burk can help Crawford install a urinal at Mt. Holyoke College.
Because once the radical version of equity is upon us, Mt. Holyoke will surely be coeducational and by the law of Title IX they will have to have a men’s locker room for their men’s golf team. Maybe Hootie can be the coach.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”