No Problem Here With That . . . Except
For decades there has been controversy over the voting status of college students. As temporary residents in the college towns, the question is whether or not they can vote in local elections. This has largely been decided in favor of the students’ right to vote for local races. Of course statewide the issue has been raised by Republicans who want to make it very difficult for students to vote at all because Republicans think students don’t vote Republican, but that’s another story.
So this Forum has no problem with a story in the New York Times about a sort of “political machine” organized by the Greek societies in
Tuscaloosa, the home of the .
Except there is this troubling aspect. University of Alabama
The school year at the
gotten started, and already the campus has found itself in a charged
self-examination on issues of politics, power and race, with the exposure of
tenacious segregation among fraternities and sororities drawing national attention. University
But the turmoil began some weeks earlier. It raised the specter of the Machine, a secret society representing a league of select and almost exclusively white fraternities and sororities, which has been around for a century or more. Once a breeding ground for state political leaders, the Machine (it has long been known by that nickname) today maintains a solid hold on student government through an effective, and critics say coercive, brand of old-fashioned organization politics.
No the issue is not race, (this is
Alabama, what did you expect?). The issue is secrecy. Secrecy is the sworn enemy of democracy. Secrecy is the ally of totalitarianism. Secrecy sides with corruption and
venality. Secrecy means this group has
something to hide.
And no, there is probably no legal remedy that would force the
“Machine” to come into the cleansing glow of sunlight. But obviously the members of the “Machine” do
need some cleansing. In shrouding
themselves in secrecy they are admitting they are dirty.