Letter: Let’s get back on track with civic clubs

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Please let me briefly reply to Margot Kornfeld’s letter of Oct. 31 [“Blame Disinterest and Apathy, Not Women,” Xpress]. But first, I wish to thank Mountain Xpress for publishing my original letter about civic clubs’ decline in the Oct. 10 issue [“Changes Forced on Civic Clubs Yield Leadership Decline”]. Also, let me thank Margot for taking the time to respond. I’m flattered.

In my letter, as your readers may recall, I expressed a heartfelt concern. Service club membership in Rotary and other civic clubs has declined precipitously since 1987. That is the year the Supreme Court ordered them to become coed. It deeply concerns me that a valuable part of local communities nationwide have been torn asunder by this feel-good court decision. Communities have been robbed of the valuable services these clubs provided, the hands-on leadership training and the free exchange of ideas. No one could have foreseen the unintended consequences of this well-intended, capricious decision.

As a result of this court decision, examples such as the closure of Jaycees chapters in East Tennessee and the demise of the Civitan Club in Mars Hill were cited.

Let [me] make an important observation. I would be derelict not to point out that the National Organization for Women joyously applauded this Supreme Court decision that has destroyed service clubs. One can only hope that NOW will shuck their misandrous tendencies and support a reversal of this destructive 1987 court decision. Don’t we all need to work together for our nation’s well-being?

Margot says she was mightily offended. Everyone in America should be offended that a vibrant, noisy few can rob the rest of us of our right to free association. Let’s get America back on track!

— Anthony E. Ponder
Mars Hill

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4 thoughts on “Letter: Let’s get back on track with civic clubs

  1. Jason Williams

    Oh boy! Mr Ponder is back for another round of misogynistic mansplaining about how women are to blame for the decline of civic organizations.
    In his last letter, Mr Ponder said, “At their peak in 1976, Jaycees membership was 360,000; today Jaycees membership is 12,500.” Jaycees members had to be between 18-35 (later changed to 40). Now the Baby Boom Generation, from roughly 1946 to 1964 with it’s peak in 1957, probably constituted a large majority of Members between 1964 and 1986. In 1976 all Baby Boomers were still eligible to be Jaycees, by 2004 none of them were eligible to be Jaycees. Could that perhaps explain the decline in it’s membership?
    My point is that there are certainly other factors in play, besides this Supreme Court decision and by Mr Ponder’s extension, women, that may have contributed to the decline in membership in service organizations. Mr Ponder’s continued insistence to lay the blame at the feet of women is misguided hypothesis at best. At worst it’s a sickening example of how deeply misogynistic thinking is still prevalent in our society.
    We need to change our thinking.

    • James Cassara

      Or at least begin thinking, which Mr. Ponder clearly didn’t do.

  2. Sam

    Why does the Xpress keep publishing letters from this misogynist? Seriously y’all, WTF?

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