The time has arrived. The time many foresaw but blissfully chose to ignore. The time we hoped would never arrive despite having been developing for some time now, more rapidly as it gains momentum in light of recent events. Unfortunately, it’s here. That time is here, and that time is now. The way of life we know and love, the way of life we’ve earned, the way of life we call our own, is under attack.
My day started as any Saturday would. Having somehow managed to escape the grasp of the sanctuary that is my bed, I ventured outward into the house in search of life-giving nourishment, hopefully providing some form of relief from the ailments of which I was still afflicted incurred as a direct result of the previous evening’s festivities. What I discovered as I passed through our central common room stopped me dead in my tracks — first out of interest, then out of sheer and utter bewilderment. After a few moments of disbelief, I absent-mindedly pulled up a chair in hopes of discovering what the actual fuck I had come across in my still dazed state, struck by a grave feeling as I soon realized the next hour would not be of a similar nature to what one could discover under the same label across numerous websites generally intended for mature audiences. The television had been set to FOX News (nothing out of the ordinary), and Sean Hannity was just beginning to conduct a panel discussion entitled, you guessed it, “Spring Break Exposed.”
Exposed? What about our coveted, week-long relief from mind-numbing examinations and other grinding academic endeavors required exposure? Perhaps a more pressing inquiry: why, in the middle of economic crisis at home and global unrest abroad, is “Spring Break Exposed” the selected story broadcasted by our endeared right wing news organization of choice?
As you gentlemen can all likely guess, the usual talking points of keg stands, beer bongs, and social media quickly shifted to incorporate the now all too common accusations against fraternity life and our supposed “degenerate and unacceptable” behavior. Surprising? No, of course not. I mean it’s as if anchors these days are required to literally check a box on some checklist before airing each story ensuring fraternities are negatively targeted and slandered in some particular way. “Oh, alcohol poisoning on college campuses? Fraternities.” “What’s that you say? A drug bust? Find out which fraternity was involved, immediately.” “The S&P 500 closed at 1,188.07? Chalk it up to the fraternities again.” “Wait, you mean to tell me my wife filed for divorce and she’s taking the George Foreman? Those DAMN frat boys!”
If I’ve learned anything throughout the course of my undergraduate career pursuing a double major in Political Science and Public Policy (besides a healthy sense of pessimism), it’s that our media has failed us — failed to serve the millions of Americans entrusting them to provide reliable information on significant issues daily, opting instead to deliver the same sensational garbage that provides networks with their precious ad buys they adamantly strive to garnish: FOX, CNN, MSNBC — it doesn’t matter. The ideological bias many are quick to levy as the chief source of the degradation of the American media pales in comparison to the corporate bias actually responsible for said degradation.
Ideological bias is not why you’re consistently subjected to the slander and debasement of the American Greek system you repeatedly endure day-in and day-out. Rather, the blame can be levied upon corporate bias and media sensationalism. The powers that be aren’t concerned with providing you the information you as an American have entrusted them to deliver; they’re concerned with delivering whatever earns them the most ratings. Unfortunately, slandering fraternities earns them those ratings.
Many of your fellow Americans, sadly, have no desire to flip on CNN first thing in the morning as they make their coffee, half-heartedly tying their tie before heading off to their respective place of work, to listen in on discussions of Dodd-Frank, the estate tax, or even of our crippling debt crisis and developments surrounding efforts to successfully pass a budget. No, they’d rather hear about the birth of a new panda at the National Zoo, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s most recent publicity stunt, the scores of spring breakers who flock to Panama City Beach, Cancun, and Punta Cana in search of a week-long bender, and how fraternities are ruining America. So that’s exactly what the media gives them: relentlessly running stories persuading their viewers that fraternities must go, that their sole purpose is to provide an outlet for upper-middle class white students to engage in degenerate, racist, and sexist behavior. Stories about how these organizations are no good, the same organizations that produced 85 percent of current Fortune 500 executives, 40 out of the 47 Supreme Court Justices since 1910, 76 percent of all Congressmen, and all but two of our presidents since 1825, as well as 63 percent of their cabinet since 1900.
Gentlemen, I know your fraternity, as well as my own, held no place for racism or sexism within your chapter. Your fraternity taught you how to be a leader, how to be a man, responsibility, integrity, accountability, and perseverance. Your fraternity, like mine, played a significant and crucial role in molding you into the man you are today. Likely, that man is one of outstanding character, a man with his head on straight and his future bright. Likely, that man loves his country and his community, a man who selflessly cares for others, as Greek organizations across the nation are responsible for raising over $7 million towards charitable causes annually. Likely, that man will never apologize for the values instilled in him. Likely, that man will never apologize for his decision to become a part of an inseparable brotherhood. Likely, that man will never apologize for the letters he has earned the privilege of wearing, because those letters are what have helped mold him into the man he is today.
Now more than ever, is it imperative that society understand the lies the media is selling them. We must rise up as leaders within our communities. We must demonstrate what it is we truly stand for, a responsibility that lies on each of us, as it is our own reputation as men at stake. As Emerson said:
“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”
Gentlemen, our way of life is under attack. The way of life we know and love, the way of life we’ve earned, the way of life we call our own. It’s time to take a stand..