April 24 2007
Is it time to pass the ERA?
by Micahel McNeil
Time-warping Teddy Kennedy wants Americans to relive the 70s by way of the Equal Rights Amendment. House and Senate Democrats reintroduced the measure (March 27th) under a new name -- the Women's Equality Amendment and vowed to bring it to a vote in both chambers by the end of the session. This newly elected Congress is full of fresh ideas aren't they?
To fully appreciate this debate, one should immerse themselves in the era first. So, feel free to get comfortable in a bean bag chair and turn on the lava lamp. While you're at it, go grab a can of Billy Beer from the kitchen, complete with Avocado Green and Harvest Gold appliances. Call your girlfriend over for a lively ERA discussion and ask her to wear those bell-bottoms and tube top that you love. Complete the mood by popping in a Mott the Hoople 8-track and admiring your Pet Rock. Right on, man! Have a nice day.
Democrats have misread the November election results as a mandate to rekindle their youth and their "anti-establishment" glory days of the early 70s. The anti-Iraq war stance is reminiscent of the anti-Vietnam message. The chatter immediately after the elections of Bush impeachment took them back to Nixon and Watergate. Now, they are trying to breathe life into the corpse of the ERA. What's next? Another push to legalize marijuana?
Turn the page, please. The original ERA died for a reason. Many reasons actually. The first of which is the myth of pay inequality between the sexes. The often misused Labor Department stat showing the median wage of women is 77 cents compared to a man's dollar is misleading. A column by Carrie Lukas in the April 2nd Washington Post illustrates this nicely. In it, she writes about how the figure ignores seniority, hours worked, occupation, etc. Also, how surveys have shown for years that women tend to avoid jobs that require relocation, take more time off, spend less time in the office, and how "men disproportionately take on the dirtiest, most dangerous and depressing jobs".
It also died because the sugar coated Equal Rights sound bites can't explain away the downright scary consequences if passed. The very pro-ERA Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a book titled, "Sex Bias in the U.S. Code" in which she details what would change with the passage of the ERA. A summary of the book's findings is found at Eagle Forum's website (an organization founded by ERA opponent and conservative icon Phylis Schlafly). The following excerpts should give you pause. "Women must be drafted into the military when men are drafted. Government must provide comprehensive child care. The age of consent for sex must be lowered to age 12. Bigamy laws would become unconstitutional. Same sex marriage must be legalized. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts must be sex-integrated. Mother's Day and Father's Day must not be separate holidays."
The opportunity to legislate from the bench would be enormous. The passage of the ERA is an activist judge's dream. It's also a pipe dream of liberal Congress members and radical left wing apologists. It's the last gasp of a generation longing to recapture their youth. The bill has no legs and has the staying power of a "dead cat bounce". For the sake of America, Keep On Truckin' and relive the 70s on your own time.
Michael McNeil is a free-lance writer from Dakota City.