Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Before Godzilla eats New York - Ratify the ERA
In the wake of the Alito confirmation the Left is in shambles, unfocused, unbalanced, and unable to act. They are not alone.
Large sections of those who identify themselves as republican or libertarian or independent are living through a deer in the headlights moment; they know that the executive mandate now poised like a sovereign anointing over the head of George W. Bush is the last thing they want. But their tools for organizing political protest, the Republican Party and the Libertarian Party, are lost to them, swallowed up by the NeoCons who so suavely converted their labor and lives to cold hard cash in NeoCon pockets. NeoCons are no more Republican than they are Democrats.
The 'game' of politics has turned into a reality as frightening as Godzilla arising from the Hudson River to eat New York.
That is the bad news. The good news is that the means are within our grasp to drive a wedge in the machinery of tyranny now poised to roll over the rights and lives of Americans. It is time to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and to get serious about a common understanding of our rights, where they originate and who has them.
That will surprise most people in the republican-libertarian camp. It surprised me when I realized three years ago I had been sold a bill of goods by my own movement. I had spent all of my life as a libertarian and a republican. I had been told that the ERA was about privileges for women, in effect, about entitlements. Wrong. It is about nothing more than recognizing for women the original package of rights envisioned by our founders for everyone.
When, after many generations of struggle women were unable to secure the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment most women settled for privileges and hoped it would work. They were wrong to have done that. Never settle when it is your rights that are at issue.
Ironically, it was Republican women and the Republican Party who had originally championed the battle for rights for women as an extension of their right to vote.
That long history had forged the largest political organization in the world, and arguably the most effective for most of its history, the National Federation of Republican Women. In 1980, when the ERA was struck from the platform of the Republican Party a generation of women who had poured their lives into the Republican Party went through the same deer in the headlights moment now being experienced by so many non-NeoCon libertarian-republicans. In one moment they had been betrayed, losing their political home and the investment of their time and money made over long life times.
That was one in a series of actions that converted the Republican Party into the NeoCon tool it is today.
The NeoCons are a minority, a small powerful minority, we need to remember that.
96% of all Americans from all ethnic groups, both genders, and all parts of the country have already affirmed in their hearts equality for all and the equality of women under law. (see link at ERACampaign.net, Newlstter No. 6)
Most us want to do the right thing. We have been divided and confused by a highly sophisticated campaign of disinformation designed and implemented by those we know now as NeoCons.
The mission statement of America has always been clear. Our rights are not granted by government; they preexist any government we choose and cannot be altered. But instead of securing those rights to everyone our Founders made a profound mistake. All too human, they failed to sunset slavery, leaving blacks in servitude. They failed to secure to women their right to control their own lives and property.
It was a failure that has haunted us ever since.
That failure is the basis of the conversion of all rights to privileges to be granted or withheld by government. This is why libertarian-republicans should sit up and take notice.
If our Constitution affirms the original Mission Statement then we have ground on which to stand and reverse the conversion of basic rights to privileges controlled by government. And by so doing a common ground will have been created for cooperation, right and left, so that the unceasing attrition of our liberties can be opposed successfully.
It is the right thing to do, and it is time for Progressives, Democratic moderates, and Liberals to deliver. Women have been the heart and power of the Democratic Party for generations. That party has failed over and over again when it had the control of state legislatures and the Congress to secure to women their proper rights under the Constitution.
They, too, preferred to grant privileges instead of the absolute security of rights. It is time to put aside other issues and do what should have been done generations ago. The leadership of the Democratic Party has ignored and compromised away the essential acknowledgment of rights for women that would have provided exactly the protection we now so desperately need.
But it is not too late.
The ERA today stands just three states short of ratification. There is no time limit on the need for the amendment; securing those rights are as relevant today as they were in 1776. Active campaigns exist in most of those states and together the non-NeoCon segments of the republican-libertarian wing of American politics and the Left possess enough clout and money to do the job if they choose to do so.
Women from all parties and persuasions should keep watch.
The outline of the campaign is simple.
We need a website to apply to the legislators in each of the unratified states the scrutiny and encouragement they need to ensure ratification. We need money to lobby them. We need to communicate and to network, watching for the ugly tactics that will come from the NeoCon camps.
The NeoCons think they have won. They set up this scenario in 1980 with the removal of the ERA from the Republican Platform. They set out Phyllis Schlafly to tell women that the ERA would diminish their womanhood. Today the idea promoted by Schlafly that women had a 'right' in the "Christian tradition of chivalry to be supported and protected by men" sounds like text from a harlequin romance.
Women dying for their country in Iraq, raped while serving there, or left homeless by no-fault divorce law understand the reality that Schlafly, who profited so richly from her work, was really selling.
Allowing government to convert rights to privileges is making slaves of all of us.
Business and Professional Women, a major leader in the earlier efforts for the ERA, is once again putting ERA high on its action priority list. Now, every day, women are working and organizing.
It is time for all of us to come together, right, left, libertarian and independent.
If freedom is not for everyone then none of us are truly free.
With the ERA in place Alito can could still damage our freedoms, but the ERA will built a buttress against the predators he represents.