God bless 'em. Fraternities of all sorts just can't keep from fucking up beyond belief.
First we have the grandest and most exclusive frat of them all, the United States Senate. Led by the eminent foreign policy expert, Tom Cotton, R-AR, earlier this week, 47 republican senators signed off on a letter to the leaders of Iran.
The note, which was solely designed to undermine the administration's negotiations with the Iranians over that country's nuclear policies and pursuits, was authored by Cotton, the upper house's youngest member. It is an extraordinarily condescending piece of work which, according to the Senator from Arkansas, seeks to "educate" the religious and political leadership of Iran about the constitution of these United States.
That it may have broken a law which has been on the books since 1799 seems of little importance to the republicans who signed it. It could be argued Cotton didn't even know the Logan Act, which makes it a criminal offense for any citizen to contact a foreign government in order to influence its decisions during a dispute with the United States, even existed. After all he spent a mere two years in the house before becoming a Senator a couple of months ago. However, even if he did, the truth is he probably wouldn't have cared. Hey, what is some ancient law compared to undermining the office and prestige of the President of the United States just because you don't like him?
Obviously Cotton and the rest of the clowns who have their names attached to the letter didn't think things completely through. They should have figured out something might go wrong as soon as they realized seven senators of their own party wouldn't have any part of their nonsense. After the content of the note was made public the always subtle New York Daily News ran the glaring headline, "TRAITORS!" which was located just below mug shots of Cotton and guys like Ted Cruz.
The New York Times called the letter, "...disgraceful and irresponsible..." It also used the word idiocy. In addition within days, 159,000 people signed an online petition wanting everyone who was on board with the letter charged with violating the Logan Act. Several media sources are saying republicans in both houses have admitted Cotton's missive was a spectacular screw up. The blow back has been so intense John McCain, R-AZ now claims he didn't read the text of the note as thoroughly as he should have before signing it, because he wanted to get out of town before a snow storm hit.
That's right. Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain blamed his participation in the affair on the weather.
Meanwhile, locally, the alumni board of the exiled University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has hired attorney Stephen Jones to represent them in a possible law suit against the school.
Jones called a press conference yesterday, probably because he loves press conferences and announced he wanted to enter into negotiations with OU president David Boren to find a "resolution" to the current racial issues roiling across the Norman, OK campus. Right--as if there could be any sort of compromise after a bus load of white kids joyously sang about n****rs never being able to join their frat and lynchings.
The attorney isn't a stranger to defending the undefendable. He represented that all American terrorist, Tim McVeigh a number of years ago. Despite earlier online reports, Jones claims he is not seeking litigation against the university--well--at least not yet. He did make sure to mention a court room option remains open if things don't go his way.
His argument is that Boren and the university are seeking to "exploit" the racist song sung by the SAE members and possibly their dates while they were on their way to a party at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club last week. In his words it was only a nine second video clip on one bus out of five and the university administration is now trying to paint the entire fraternity with a, "tar brush," because of it.
Unfortunately for him, one of the leaders of the vile little ditty, has already publically admitted he and the rest of the true gentlemen of SAE, "were taught the song." Indeed, it was nothing new, or isolated to the cretins we saw on the video. Given his confession, we know senior members of the fraternity drilled that awful shit into the guys who pledged Sig Alph. It was, in the end, part of the SAE culture. Even the learned counselor has to realize, at least privately, that means everyone in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house not only knew the words, but on certain, wildly happy nights, rehearsed them for special moments, such as the bus trip to OKC.
Perhaps that's why Brother Jones also talked about free speech and due process. The lyrics, as he said, are inexcusable, but this is America and everyone can say whatever they want. Ultimately, it appears, he is angling for a way to get the fraternity back on campus. He has more problems than just David Boren though. The national office of Sigma Alpha Epsilon pulled the charter of the OU house, so if he does sue he is going to have to go after them also.
Why any current member of SAE would want to continue at OU is a tad beyond comprehension. Jones, without providing specific instances, or numbers claims Sig Alphs who are still enrolled at the university have been verbally and physically assaulted and many are afraid to attend classes.
He is probably right about the first assertion, might be about the second, and is no doubt correct when it comes to the third. That is the price you pay when your free speech and traditions date back to when the fraternity was founded at the University of Alabama in 1856.
Frankly, there are two things OU doesn't need at the moment. One is a mob mentality when it comes to the members of the now defunct Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. The other is Stephen Jones holding press conferences so he can tell everyone those rancid goofs of SAE are the real victims in this disgusting episode. Nothing good can come of either one.
sic vita est