Seeing Green

Thank goodness that Augusta National has finally admitted Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore.  Now we can all sleep easily knowing that the last bit of injustice that plagues society has finally been brought to its knees. Augusta National Golf Club, the epitome of exclusivity (some may say snobbery) has now gone from a membership of 300 uber-wealthy males to a membership of 300 uber-wealthy males, an uber-wealthy female and GW Bush’s Secretary of state. Well done Martha Burke, looks like you showed THEM!

Putting aside Burke’s ridiculous contention that her ahem, “movement” some nine years earlier was responsible for this watershed event, the recent addition of these two women has done nothing to change the fact that Augusta National is built on, and will always be driven by, exclusion of people like you and me – and I’m ok with that.  Hell, I’m a man, but if I lived a thousand lifetimes I’d never be invited to join Augusta. It’s a club of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy. Even if I won Powerball I still wouldn’t be considered Augusta material – and I have male genitalia.

I never understood Burke’s near quixotic mission to simply gain admittance for a woman, no matter which one. Honestly, what is her point? “Now listen up all you little girls out there, you can achieve anything you want in life – as long as you have a few hundred million dollars and the proper conservative credentials.”

To be clear, my objection here isn’t driven by a dismissal of genuine women’s issues, nor by some kind of white man’s burden where I don’t care about the plight of others just cuz I have my own plights.  It’s driven by the fact that to frame the whole Augusta issue as a women’s issue completely ignores the fact that at the very core (and frankly, on the surface too) it’s a class issue.

Burke’s crusade always struck me as less of a crusade for women, and more of a crusade for women one-percenters.  If your goal is global equality, I’m standing right here with you soul sister. But if your goal is to make sure that women elitists have the same advantages as male elitists, then I have to put down my raised fist and my Norma Rae placard and slowly walk away.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Martha Burke other than her ill-fated publicity stunt to shut down the Masters in 2003. Maybe she’s given herself to a lifetime of advancing women’s causes.  And if so, good for her – seriously.  But maybe she needs a better PR person. Because proclaiming victory for women everywhere because Condi and Darla now have green sports coats is like claiming you’ve eradicated poverty by mailing a check to Sally Struthers – actually it’s kinda like claiming you’ve eradicated poverty by mailing a check to Melinda Gates.

Somewhere, the ghosts of Clifford Roberts and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are rolling around – together.

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