An exclusive country club in Maryland is debating whether to allow President Obama membership in his retirement should he ever apply. The controversy has caused one lifelong member to sever ties with the club with a farewell e-mail in which he signs off, “Stay woke.”
No one knows if Obama even wants to join Woodmont Country Club, which costs $80,000 to apply and $9,600 in yearly fees. But Politico reported that the spot could be a possible golf destination for the president during his two years in town after leaving the White House.
He has played there four times during his presidency, and apparently the members are trying to get ahead of his possible application with their debate on his admittance.
Israel position cited
It’s Obama’s position on Israel/Palestine that has some of the members vexed.
Woodmont was founded in 1913 when Jews were often not accepted in other clubs. To this day, the club remains predominantly Jewish.
According to The Washington Post, some members have a problem with Obama’s recent decision not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements.
The Post obtained an email from lifelong member Faith Goldstein, who reportedly wrote of Obama: “He is not welcome at Woodmont. His admittance would create a storm that could destroy our club.”
Another member, attorney Marc B. Abrams, called Obama’s possible membership “inconceivable” because of his position on Israel.
‘Stay Woke’ signoff
Some club members, however, join Somerset mayor and Democratic activist Jeffrey Slavin in wanting to welcome Obama, should he apply. He says a sermon he heard from civil rights leader Rev. William J. Barber II encouraged him to end his lifelong membership.
Slavin sent an email to the club stating:
“I can no longer belong to a community:
Where Intolerance is accepted,
Where History is forgotten,
Where Freedom of Speech is denied,
And where the nation’s first black president is disrespected.”
Slavin signed his email “Thanks for many great memories,” followed by a quote from the black national anthem “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” and then the words “Stay Woke.”
“I decided that unless someone did something bold, the club would do nothing. There would be no reason they wouldn’t want someone like that, a prominent figure they could rub elbows with,” he told the Post. Slavin says other Woodmont members also want Obama to feel welcome, but are trying to change the club from within.
Slavin, whose father was also a member of Woodmont, said he would lead a mass membership resignation if Obama were not invited to join.