"Secret Cabal admits Existence of Secret Cabal"
February 23, 2006
SGA Prez admits to membership in public/secret society - student body predictably apathetic after hearing news
Feb. 23 | Dateline Alabama Opinions Editor J. Zachary Dover speculates on the possible ramifications of Mary Margaret Carroll's admission/whines about the fact that there is a secret political cabal on campus, and she was a part of it.
It is certainly plausible to think that this is a bad time for the Machine. The name of their secret organization is published almost daily in the campus newspapers, Graham Flanagan has made a movie about them and will exhibit it soon, and the President of the Student Government Association admitted on Wednesday, February 18, 2006 to having been a part of it.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mary Margaret Carroll told us what we knew all along. There is a secret/not-so-secret organization on campus called The Machine, and she has been affiliated with it.
Let me be completely clear, so as to head off misguided letters to the editor written by two or three of the dozen-or-so of my readers. I do not think that Greeks are evil. I do not want to make anyone's life unpleasant, and I do not want to be a spoilsport. But I do want to know what the hell is being done with our government, and who is doing those things. Carroll was quoted as saying that the Machine has not existed on campus since the 1920s. Then she admitted that she had been a part of the Machine. (Is she 120 years old? Hint: No.) Then she was quoted as saying that she had never said that the Machine had not existed on campus since the 1920s. All of these things can not be true. Either someone is lying or printing libelous material in the Crimson White. Is the Crimson White printing falsehood, or is Mary Margaret Carroll lying to us? I want the answers to questions like these. And I want the answers to these questions themselves. The moment that there is something socially or legally wrong with asking questions like these, you can be sure that you do not live in a democracy.
Carroll tried to manage the public perception of the Machine by referring to it as "a group of friends," apparently deliciously ignorant of the relevant parallel to the mafia. But when she was pressed for information regarding the Machine's violent past (which, in case you've forgotten, includes burning crosses in 1976, threatening to rape John Merrill's wife, and shooting Joey Visseli's car), she refused to answer, saying that she didn't know what happened on campus before she was here. She can't have it both ways. She can't lecture us on the history of the Machine and then plead ignorance when she's asked about that history.
We have no reason to believe anything she says. Either she is lying to cover up the actions of the Machine, or she is their puppet and has been kept ignorant so that she can be used to do their PR. This is evidence of either mendacity on her part or the preservation of plausible deniability on the part of her Machine masters.
Throughout this semester, Carroll's rhetoric has been either rank deception or vapid flimflam. Surely it's not scandalizing to learn that an elected official is lying, but we shouldn't let our lack of surprise at this mendacity lull us into expecting this sort of crap from our elected officials. "I'm seeing this from a large array of perspectives," was her statement putatively intended to appease both independents and Greeks, and it doesn't mean anything at all. This should be pointed out, and known by everyone. Carroll has apparently entirely failed to profit from her chosen field of study (she's an English major).
Carroll's empty talk doesn't end there. She is quoted in the Thursday, February 16, 2006 edition of the Crimson White as saying "I'm tired of the stereotypes, and I know everyone else is tired of the frivolous stuff, too. People are trying to be looked at for who they really are." No one should take this seriously. The Machine, which is to say Theta Nu Epsilon, which is to say the Greek voting block, is absolutely NOT trying to, as MMC says, "be looked at for who they really are". The notion that people in the Machine are interested in escaping stereotypes or preserving some kind of individuality is a ridiculous one. Those in the Machine want an easy life, fast advancement, and no examination of their activities. If they wanted us to look at who they really were, they would hold their legislative discussions in public at the bi-weekly Thursday-night Senate meetings, instead of holding them on the prior Wednesday. They would make a full disclosure of their roster, and explain their hopes and aims. They wouldn't threaten students for trying to begin a dialogue.
Every thinking person at the University of Alabama (all eleven of us) deserve better from our student government.
At this time I am asking for nothing more than glasnost. I am not naive enough to hope that we might yet move into an era of perestroika.