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THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT.
September 20, 2002

by Bill Hogan

 
 

Martha Burk – head of the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) - is digging in her heels. Fighting a grave injustice perpetrated on women all over the world.

Well, not all over the world, but certainly here in America. Not all women in America, but some. Let's call it a handful.

 
 


In short, Martha Burk is leading the charge against the Augusta National Golf Club in order to secure membership privileges for a couple of very wealthy, very well connected women with high social status and low handicaps.

Hey, somebody has to speak out on their behalf. And Ms. Burk seems to be up to the task. She is dedicated to the cause and diligent in her efforts.

I don't think Augusta Chairman Hootie Johnson has any idea who he is messing with. It is obvious that Ms. Burk will do anything in her considerable power to achieve her objective.

She's targeted Augusta National's premier event: The Masters. Now it's open season on potential sponsors and tournament broadcasters as well as the rest of the all-male membership.

And she wants to see professional golfers boycott the tournament next year. Tiger Woods – the planet's greatest golfer – has come under fire for not standing up along side the NCWO and proclaiming his outrage.

I say, stand up and be counted, Tiger. You shouldn't keep your opinions to yourself – it's not the American way. You too, Mickelson, Love and Daly. There is no greater accomplishment than having a hand in helping a rich woman advance her social status.

Sure, you have the right to remain silent, but anything you don't say can and will be used against you by the NCWO and the media.

So what if this is an issue initiated by an organization you are not affiliated with? The battlefield is a golf course, and you guys are golfers. Take a stand.

I should say, take a stand against Hootie and Augusta – because if you are not with Ms. Burk on this issue then you are against her, and the rights of women everywhere.

I think, if push comes to shove, that the players should boycott the 2003 Masters. It doesn't matter that the tournament generates over 3 million dollars each year for charities across the country. Something has to give here. The loss of charitable revenue is a small price to pay to get even one privileged lady fitted for a green member's jacket of her very own.

It's shameful to think that, until this issue is resolved, these poor, well-to-do women will have to settle for teeing it up every weekend at some other, lesser known, private country club.

Sure there are naysayers out there that believe Ms. Burk has her own agenda. That she is enjoying her time under the bright lights of the talk show circuit. That this issue does nothing for the greater good of womankind and that the overwhelming publicity has given her a severe case of tunnel vision.

I say, if not Martha Burk, then who? And if not now, then when? Ms. Burk is following her heart and her convictions and I applaud her for it.

It's time for people to realize that socialites have rights too – especially if they can sink a six-foot putt.

On the surface, it does seem to me that there may be better causes for Ms. Burk and the NCWO to tackle. They could devote their formidable resources to issues that most Americans can rally around and feel passionate about.

There are homeless women and children in every city in America. Too many women are attacked and beaten every day. Deadbeat Dad's – 'nuff said there.

But what do I know; I'm just a stupid man. I'm sure Ms. Burk has a much better idea of what's really important when it comes to advancing the rights of women than I ever will. I'm not even sharp enough to know when I'm getting on my wife's nerves.

So let's go, Tiger. Let's all get on board, do what has to be done to bring an end to this issue and get a lady in the locker room at Augusta National.

Then Ms. Burk and the NCWO can team up with the AARP and go after Hootie and Augusta National for not letting past champions compete at The Masters after they turn 65. That's gotta be the most pressing issue with the elderly in America today.

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