Vol. 12, No. 2,856W - The American Reporter - March 18, 2006

Hominy & Hash

Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- If I voted for a woman candidate for no other reason than her pro-feminist leanings, I would waste my vote. But I have on occasion voted against both a woman and a man if I knew their agendas didn't meet my personal take on morality.

Also, when a man and woman vie for the same seat, and their platforms are such that I could stand on either, I would vote for the woman because in that situation, she would be the underdog. Yes, I am partial to those.

In fact, except for those moments when I had to decide one way or another, it was always my conscience guiding me, not my gender.

And so it was last evening, when I was called to take part in a survey conducted on behalf of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, and agreed to respond.

"Yes," I said, when asked, "I am aware that a woman is pressuring the membership committee of the elite, all male, private club to admit at least one woman to membership." And, I also knew Hootie Johnson, President of the Augusta National, said no, only the membership can decide upon eligibility.

I am also aware it's not merely a gender issue. Applicants for membership are on a long, long, list and, for example, one who has waited for some time is none other than Bill Gates; money would certainly not be a reason to hold up his nomination. So, yes, I was vaguely aware of what was going on in Augusta when the surveyor called.

And, I knew, there were one or two members of Augusta National who said, "oh, let's get on with it. Let's not buck progress." At the same time, there are thousands, tens of thousands, of women who want to tell Martha Burk -- the non-golfing president of a national society of 15 other women's organization groups -- to back off. She is embarrassing the rest of us.

Let the men have their clubs and the company of each other and let's not be in their faces as we scratch against all the perceived glass ceilings.

Armed with this scant bit of general knowledge, and a ready impression of how I felt, I went on with the survey. Most questions were prefaced with words from the First Amendment. I thought my opinion was firm, but I listened closely to each question and mulled over the possible responses: I strongly agree; I agree; I disagree; I strongly disagree.

I had no trouble saying "I strongly agree" to the first few, questions like: "Do you think a person has the right to form a club with like-minded people on privately-owned property, taking no funding from the government?"

The questions were long and convoluted at times and I had to back up to be sure I wouldn't condone discrimination in any way. Some of the questions used the word "gender." I listened carefully to be sure I wasn't hearing :gender preference" instead of gender meaning "male and female."

And, I had to be sure when I heard "women's rights" in the same sentence as "legally" that I wasn't strongly agreeing with abortion as a "legal" right, when we were simply talking about female membership in a male club. For the first time since Betty Friedan's "Feminine Mystique," a book that made us all take notice, I started examining my personal opinions -- after all, that's what I agreed to offer.

Personally, I've never been denied anything simply because I'm a woman. After high school, I was more interested in getting my MRS in Matrimony than a PhD in Literature. I got what I wanted.

The questions continued and I allowed myself to mull over Ms. Burk's point of view. What does this woman want, I wondered, for herself and for all women?

The survey took about half an hour and my mulling reminded me of a scene in a movie called "Lady of Burlesque," in which Barbara Stanwyck playe a smart-talking broad -- a movie staple in the ;40s. Arrested for dancing in what her community's standards called a lewd manner, the stripteaser faced the judge defiantly.

He asked her name, and she snapped "Justice," tossing her feather boa over one shoulder. The judge rolled his eyes, scrawled the name and at the same time said, "Justice what?"

"Justice good as you are," she bellowed.

And, there you have it. Although sometimes you have it right in your face. Women are just as good as men are, just as able, just as smart, just as curious, just as educated and these days sometimes just as brawny. And, they make sure you hear it loud and clear. Of course, we acknowledge "some." Some women and some men.

But, asking for equal rights under the law does not allow for Ms. Burk's stomping across almost hallowed ground to make demands about what goes on behind closed doors: it's nobody's business. The issue is privacy, and the club is private.

No one is picketing Private Drive, Private Property, Private Office, Private Party. I checked Webster. "Private: confined to the persons immediately concerned."

The survey ended with a few questions about my race, age, ethnicity, approximate family income and whether or not I play golf. (No, I don't play golf.) They asked everything but my name before transferring me to a supervisor to verify my call. I was thanked for my time and left to ponder how I really feel about the entire issue.

If you believe as I do that woman came from Adam's rib and not from under his heel, you'll know I believe that man and woman are 100 percent equal under the law of God and man, but there are no two creatures as different as we are. What makes us all so wonderful is exactly what the French have been celebrating for centuries: Vive le difference!

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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