My Hero, R.I.P.

Phyllis Schlafly, totemic figure in American political history, gone but never forgotten

When I heard conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly had passed away yesterday at age 92, I stopped what I was doing with the kids, went into the bathroom and sobbed.

What a friend! What a lady! What a fighter! What an inspiration!

She was a standing rebuke to the lazy notion that conservative women are weaker than feminists.

She was a true giant — one of the great figures of American history. Consider these facts.

On Oct. 12, 1971, the House passed the Equal Rights Amendment by a vote of 354-24. On March 22, 1972, it passed the Senate by a vote of 84-8. The Equal Rights Amendment would have opened the door to eliminating gender-specific bathrooms, put women on track for the draft, and revoked tax protections for dependent women not in the workforce.

And it was supported by both parties’ platforms.

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In 1972, the Democratic platform called for “a priority effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.”

The GOP platform also called for “ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.”

By the end of 1973, 30 states had ratified the amendment — the ERA and its band of supporters only needed eight more.

They never got them. Phyllis Schlafly, acting against overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Congress, the will of the president of the United States, and the desires of both parties, took on the ERA and its elite supporters — and beat them.

In 1978, with time running out (the ERA was supposed to be approved by 1979), Congress granted an extension until 1982. No new states approved the ERA during this time frame.

In my opinion, this is one of the greatest political victories ever won in American history. The odds against her, the importance of the issue, and the scale of her victory are almost impossible to overstate. And of course that’s not all. She was an early supporter of Ronald Reagan, and we all know what he did. And to the end of her life, she kept fighting for her country.

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She attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in a wheelchair, frail but as determined and feisty as ever. Warning anyone who would listen about the loss of our sovereignty and the Supreme Court, she supported Donald Trump when so many latter-day conservatives are turning up their noses at him. It should be noted that she did more for conservatism in one day than most of them will ever do in a lifetime.

She didn’t mind being unfashionable. She didn’t mind taking on Republicans. She didn’t mind getting hammered in the press. She never gave up, never grew bitter, never let down her guard, and never quit doing her best. She was a standing rebuke to the lazy notion that conservative women are weaker than feminists.

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The conservative icon died the day before her last book, “The Conservative Case for Trump,” was released. The book will be the capstone on an incredible life spent fighting for conservatism — launched when Schlafly self-published her first book, “A Choice Not An Echo,” that sold an incredible 3 million copies in 1964.

People should write books about her, and write poems about her, and make movies about her. She was an American hero — or, as she would probably prefer — heroine.

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