A slightly edited version of a post about Phyllis Schlafly from six years ago this month:
Below this post is the full transcript and video of Phyllis Schlafly speaking last month at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition. If you don’t know who Schlafly is you can learn more here, here and here.
I stand literally with millions of other people who see her as an amazing example to follow. In her speech she outlined how a small group of people in the 1970s took on “all the power and money in the country and won” in the fight over the ratification of ‘ERA’ (the Equal Rights Amendment). It was a fight that lasted ten years. What follows are just a few transcribed sections from her remarks put into bullet points. I post them as a reminder to those today who lack imagination and courage — Phyllis Schlafly showed what is possible. If we fail in our task — it won’t be because victory wasn’t possible.
You think we have it bad? Look at what she was up against!
- [T]he real lesson of our campaign against and defeat of ERA was that we showed that a little group of grassrooters can take on the whole establishment and beat ‘em all. And that’s what we did.
- As I go about the country I find that many of our people are despondent; they’re very sad about losing the election last year and [about] the trail that Obama is taking our country down and they almost don’t know what to do.
- When ERA came out in congress in 1972 it passed the US House 354 to 23. In the senate it passed 92 to 8.
- The other side had big momentum.
- Within the first year 30 states passed it and they only needed 38.
- The other side had a head start.
- The other side had a good name. Who could be against equal rights?
- Everybody who was anybody was for ERA — from Ted Kennedy to George Wallace – you couldn’t name any important person who wasn’t for ERA.
- It was in the Democratic National Platform it was in the Republican National Platform.
- Everybody said it was impossible to stop it. Out of the entire US Senate there was only one senator who was willing to say a good word for us — U.S. Senator Sam Ervin.
- In the US House there were only three who dared to say a good word for us: Henry Hyde, George Hanson and Bob Dornan. Nobody else would say anything.
- All the women’s magazines were for it. Thirty of them went in a consortium to demand that ERA be immediately passed. All the women’s organizations were far it.
- Hollywood was for it. Alan Alda came repeatedly to our Illinois legislature to tell legislators to hurry up and pass ERA.
- They had 99 percent at the media. Out of the whole country there were only two newspapers who ever said a good word for us. They were the St. Louis Globe Democrat (now-defunct), and the Tampa Tribune. No other paper spoke up for us.
- There wasn’t a single governor out of all fifty states who was for us. And two governors actually protested and marched against us — the governors of North Carolina and Florida.
- They had three presidents on their side. They had Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. During Jimmy Carter’s regime they ran the ERA campaign out of the White House. In the White House they had something called at the situation room or the war room. That’s where they were all supposed to go if Khrushchev dropped the bomb — they’d go in that room to decide what do we do now. Well they ran the ERA campaign out of that room in the White House. And they invited wavering legislators to come for a visit to the White House.
- They had three first ladies on their side; they had Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter and Lady Bird Johnson. And they were giving interviews all the time.
- The conservative movement wasn’t even for us. The chief vehicle for conservatism in those years was National Review. In ten years National Review never wrote one single article about the Equal Rights Amendment.
- There was no Rush Limbaugh talking about the FemiNazies. There was no Fox News saying we need fair and balanced news.
- There was no Internet. The only thing we had was of course the telephone and the Phyllis Schlafly Report. And our campaign started with the first one in February 1972 called “What’s Wrong with Equal Rights for Women.” And over the ten years of the fight I probably wrote a hundred different issues of the newsletter describing various bad affects of it.
- The media were not fair to us. Everything that was on was very much loaded against us. The only place we got a fair break was in the hearings before the state legislatures.
- They had a time limit and then they got a crooked extension when they couldn’t [get it done] within in the seven years. But toward the end of the game day they somehow got fifteen million dollars and they ran television ads with Hollywood stars. And they used not only Alan Alda, but Archie Bunker, Mrs. Archie Bunker, Ed Asner, Dick Gregory, and a lot of other famous Hollywood stars.
- So my message to you here is be of good heart. Don’t be despondent about the sad state of conservatism in the Republican Party. The future of our country depends on what happens next year.
Read/watch her full speech here.