She sits in her wheelchair, this 91-year-old lady, grinning from ear to ear, just happy to be listening to her hero, Donald Trump, accept the nomination of the Republican Party. Some younger readers may not remember Phyllis Schlafly from the 1970s, but others will. She actually qualified for the honour of Idiot of the Week some 40 years ago, but since I wasn’t writing this blog back then she slipped by. Ms. Schlafly was the driving force behind the defeat of women’s rights back in the day, and she is still campaigning against equal rights for women in this, the 21st century!
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for women. The wording was simple:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
The ratification deadline was set for March 1979, and by the end of 1977 the amendment had passed both houses of Congress and received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications. Enter Ms. Schlafly. Schlafly focused opposition to the ERA on traditional gender roles, recruiting activists in every state, and in some cases even taking homemade bread, jams, and apple pies to the state legislators, with the slogans, “Preserve us from a congressional jam; Vote against the ERA sham” and “I am for Mom and apple pie.” Long story short, the proposed amendment was never ratified, and in fact after Schlafly’s anti-feminist campaign, a number of states rescinded their prior ratifications.
Today, Phyllis Schlafly is no less an anti-feminist activist than she was 40 years ago. Most recently, she attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland as a delegate, as she has every RNC since 1952. She applauds the GOP platform banning women from combat and restricting a woman’s right to an abortion in cases of rape or incest … a platform with no mention of equal pay or paid family leave.
I will let Ms. Schlafly tell you in her own words why she is receiving the honour of Idiot of the Week:
- “Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for the virtuous women.”
- “When marriages are broken by false allegations of domestic violence, U.S. taxpayers fork up an estimated $20 billion a year to support the resulting single-parent, welfare-dependent families.”
- “The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.”
- “The atomic bomb is a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God.”
- “Sex education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions.”
- “When will American men learn how to stand up to the nagging by the intolerant, uncivil feminists whose sport is to humiliate men?”
- “Women have babies and men provide the support.”
- “The people the Republicans should reach out to are the white votes, the white voters who didn’t vote in the last election. The propagandists are leading us down the wrong path.”
- “People think that child-support enforcement benefits children, but it doesn’t.”
- “What I am defending is the real rights of women. A woman should have the right to be in the home as a wife and mother.”
- “It’s really dangerous for a guy to go to college these days. He’s better off if he doesn’t talk to any women when he gets there. The feminists are perfectly glad to make false accusations and then claim all men are capable of some dastardly deed like rape.”
- “We’ve got very generous family leave right now. I do think the support of the children is the responsibility of the husband, not the employer.”
Okay, Ms. Schlafly, I think we’ve heard quite enough and you may step down now.
Needless to say, Ms. Schlafly fully endorses Trump, saying he “represents everything the grassroots want.” So, based on Ms. Schlafly’s values, apparently the ‘grassroots’ (whoever they are) want women to stay at home and bake cookies, keep the home nice and clean for their men-folk, not have the right to make choices concerning their own bodies and health, be paid less than men, and be subjected to sexual harassment at work. Does the term “barefoot and pregnant” come to mind?
Ms. Schlafly has equally stupid opinions on other issues too, most especially immigration, where her views once again align quite well with Mr. Trump’s. She believes we must stop all immigration. In an interview last year, she said: “One of the biggest political issues in America today is Obama’s plan to give illegal amnesty to 5 million South Americans. Obama is already admitting tens of thousands of aliens from South America and trying to justify it by repeating the line that “we are a nation of immigrants”. The problem is that the immigrants coming into our country today are not the same sort as the immigrants who contributed so much to building our great country. The immigrants who came to America in the 1920s and ‘30s were different – with very different motives.” (In other words, white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant?)
Not surprisingly, she is against what she refers to as ‘activist judges’, and once called for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy because he voted to abolish the death penalty for minors. Also predictably, she is against same-sex marriage, LGBT rights, against homosexuality, despite the fact that her oldest son is homosexual.
Her thoughts on the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton? She feels there’s no need for a woman in the Oval Office at all. Our greatest presidents have all been men,” she said, “and they’ve been very good for our country.”
And so, Ms. Phyllis Schlafly, for being a bigot, an elitist, and for trying to take the nation back in time some 60 years, I hereby award you Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week Award.