Ho-hum. Augusta National Golf Club invited two women to join the club, the first females in the club’s 80 -year history.
Before you start placing labels on me, let me say I believe in fairness and equality for all people. Everyone should have the same rights. No one should be judged solely on race, religion, gender, age, physical stature or lifestyle.
But here comes the giant BUT . . .
A private club that does not seek or receive outside help of any kind (taxes, etc.) should have a right to select its members solely on how its membership decides. Augusta National may be a bit snooty, — okay, it’s very snooty — but it is as private as a club can be. You’re not welcome unless you’re a member or the guest of a member.
Period. End of story.
I can’t imagine a Women’s Book Club being forced to include me as a member. If the Rotary Club doesn’t want me as a member, that’s the club’s decision. If I can’t afford to join a certain private country club, that’s my problem. I don’t have the right to join your private poker game.
I’m fine with Augusta National adding women to its membership because that’s what the club’s membership decided to do. I don’t think it’s a great day for women, just I didn’t think it was an injustice when they weren’t.
Martha Burke, who led a protest against Augusta National a decade ago, is taking a lot of credit now, saying she and the women’s groups she represents are the reasons Augusta National finally caved in. Bull. I think Burke’s protest, if anything, delayed Augusta National’s decision to include women because the club didn’t want the appearance of caving in. Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne has practically promoted having women guests play the famed course in recent years.
I realize some people, particular some women, will dismiss my take on this because I’m a man, but I don’t see this as a landmark occasion. Women getting the right to vote and the civil rights bill were milestones we should be proud of. If anything, forcing a truly private club to add certain members is taking away our rights and a step in the wrong direction.