I spent the day in Jefferson City, MO, standing up with many other feminists to demand that the Missouri Legislature bring the Equal Rights Amendment up for a vote. With only ONE MORE STATE needed for a Constitutional Amendment, Missouri has the chance to be THE STATE that puts it over the top!
Thank you to Erica Benson for organizing the event, and to MO Sen Jill Schupp and MO Rep Judy Morgan for sponsoring the ERA on this SECOND ATTEMPT at ratification. Everyone who believes in Equal Justice Under Law should DEMAND Equality for Women and Girls… what’s more American than EQUALITY?
Ever hopeful, I prepared a speech before the event, and since it didn’t come up, I’d like to share it here. I believe the historical parallels can help provide us with guidance… because we have seen this all before, and we know how it CAN go. Had I been given the opportunity, this is what I would have said-
As We Cross Another April
I’ve come here from the FREE STATE, the Great State of Kansas, as a self-appointed representative of the thirty-seven States that have already voted for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, with a MESSAGE for the remaining thirteen-
The war, is over! Today… NOT tomorrow. HERE is where we have drawn the line here, is where we make our stand… UNITED!
Because we have SEEN where division goes. We have seen where entrenchment leads… we’ve built monuments of granite and marble to stand as reminders.
Four score and seven years ago, the ideology of FEAR and DIVISION rose to power in Europe: the Nazi Party became the Majority, giving rise to a new leader.
We are now engaged in a new struggle, testing once again if ours is TRULY a Just Nation. Today, we are gathered in one of the LAST vestiges of our Civil War, just north of the Mason-Dixon Line, in the birthplace of the Missouri Compromise. It is altogether fitting and proper that, the renewed hope for the Equal Rights Amendment has brought us to this place, for as we struggle to recognize Equality for Women and Girls, we must also remember the unfulfilled promises made to Men and Women of Color, who CONTINUE to struggle for the SAME… long after Equality was ratified.
It is for us here today, to be dedicated to the unfinished work that so many have fought for and have thus far so nobly advanced. It is these principles that are born within the hearts of ALL humanity. That we are ALL created Equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. It is the basic compassion within us ALL that moves us to STAND UP and DEFEND the Rights of others. We must remember the stories, taught to us by our Great- and Grand-parents:
Stand FIRM for what’s Right.
STAND UP for the Rule of Law.
Yes, the path is long and yes, this struggle is draining, but today, OURS is a BATTLEFIELD of WORDS. We must remember, those words have all of the impact of a DIGITAL BULLET… because they can strike the HEART, and motivate the MIND.
So we must be dedicated to the great task before us. We must HONOR those who have been lost and take increased devotion to the cause for which they LIVED their lives believing in-
Equal Justice Under Law.
Let us not judge, that we be not judged. “Woe unto the world because of offenses, for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offenses cometh.”
When fear and division give rise to oppression and tyranny, each one of us is faced with a CHOICE. We know how to defeat the liar and the bully- STAND UP and SPEAK OUT for Equal Justice Under Law. Because when you stand and DEFEND the Rights of OTHERS, you defend them for YOURSELF!
Time-tested, history-affirming, righteous ACTION in defense of Liberty is what makes OURS, a truly BLESSED NATION! When we, individually and BRAVELY, STAND UP for EQUAL JUSTICE… We STAND in GOOD COMPANY!
With malice toward none, with charity for ALL, with firmness in the right, as god gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for HER who shall have borne this battle, and for HER widow and HER orphan, to do all that is necessary to realize that lost promise of a Just and Lasting peace, among ourselves and with ALL nations.
Let us remember the WORDS of Susan B. Anthony:
“These assertions, of the framers of the United States Constitution, of equal and natural rights of ALL the people to a voice in government, have been affirmed and reaffirmed by the leading statesmen of the nation, throughout the entire history of our government.”
And that of James Madison himself:
“Let it be remembered, finally, that it has EVER BEEN the pride and the boast of America, that the Rights for which she contended, were the Rights… of HUMAN NATURE.”
… seems pretty “self-evident” to me.
Equal. Means. EQUAL.