Archive for July, 2013
To all of us who supported Hillary Clinton for President in 2008 or now in 2016, I challenge us to become a united drumbeat behind one simple ideal: constitutional equality for women in the US and around the world. It is a universal and profoundly important message missing from American public discourse that needs to be at the forefront if we are to succeed in electing the first woman president, Hillary Clinton.
The ERA 2015 campaign was born out of quite frankly, my anger at Hillary’s 2008 defeat. Uncle Sam is a hypocrite on the issue of human rights as long as 1/2 of all Americans – women – are held back as 2nd class citizens with limited rights under law. The 1923 Equal Rights Amendment turns 90 years old today, July 21, 1923. We begin the countdown to one century that women have demanded and been denied inclusion in our constitution.
Global women’s equality is Hillary’s passionate cause. Gender equity must begin at home.
Hillary’s 2016 platform will be shaping up over the next two years. Her message must be fresh, inspirational and authentic in order to break through the media noise machine and grow her base of support among men and women and across party lines. We must begin our campaign strategy now as a sea of voices echoing the call for our fearless leader to take on and lead this worldwide movement by example. The World will again watch her ascent. Her message must also resonate with them.
To find out more about our ERA 2015 campaign that includes a joint resolution in Congress – H.J. Res. 43 & S.J. Res. 15 to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, go to http://www.united4equality.com. Lend your voice to pass these ERA resolutions’ now in Congress and place women voters front and center in American politics to ultimately chose the winners and losers in 2014 & 2016. The path to victory begins with our setting the stage for a fresh, seasoned and authentic world leader to emerge and embrace the torch for women’s equality worldwide- President Hillary Clinton!
I thought a lot about the anger that my angry comment stirred and the direction it took and didn’t reach on facebook.
Here’s what I said:
“I resent President Obama making a scapegoat of white women in remarks that suggest we all grab our purses and hold our breath when black men join us in an elevator! Don’t attack Eve when you are really fed up with Adam!”
Lines were drawn, sides were taken and insults hurled to justify one’s position instead of speaking from the heart based on one’s own experience. This is what prevents real dialogue from happening in order to move forward. Too much pandering happens in the political realm. Politicians and citizens only seek out those who echo their sentiments versus challenge their perceptions and beliefs.
This preferred pattern will never bring about the changes we seek. It seemed impossible for one woman to resist personal attacks while she perpetrated her own blanketed stereotypes. Surprisingly, the men were much better at maintaining a reasonable discourse without hitting below the belt. No one deserves a free pass on common decency and respect for another. When the name calling and hatred begins – reception ends.
Personally, I would like to see President Obama host a televised Town Hall meeting around the country where all are invited to speak their minds calmly and express their feelings and perceptions in an honest, candid and personal way. Speeches aren’t going to bring about understanding and empathy. And they certainly aren’t going to change anything. Change will come from seeking common ground on which to converse and expand our awareness and connection as human beings.
William Thomas Carolyn: At the outset let me say that I admire both your passion and your cause. I was a champion of women’s rights before you and probably your mother were born. I was a contributor to NOW for many years back when they were actually a supporter of women’s rights and not a purely partisan advocate of a political party. I also quit the NRA and AARP for the same reason. My take on all three is that if you profess to be non-partisan be non-partisan. I really don’t care which party you work for in violation of your professed non-partisan claim.
The reason I preface this post with the above attempt to establish that I am not unsympathetic to the women’s movement when I tell you that I RESPECTFULLY take issue with the Equal Rights Amendment. I have as they say in the sorted world of politics “waffled” on this issue. At the outset I was a strong proponent of ERA. Years ago during the initial ERA move I was in New York on an extended assignment. There was to be a debate on the issue between two noted N.Y. attorneys. I showed up and sat in the ERA amen corner and frankly the speaker in opposition to the Amendment turned me around. I had three passions in my high school years (shortly after the invention of the wheel). In no particular order they were girls, debate and football. I wasn’t much of a football player and the ladies really didn’t grasp how wonderful I was but I was a state champion debater. The ERA debate in Madison Square Garden may have been the only actual debate I have ever seen with adult participants. Most of what we refer to as debates are simply shouting matches between immature brats running for office. If you want to see intelligent mature people debate I suggest you attend a debate at the high school level. An eloquent and well orchestrated argument was made by the lady who supported ERA. From an academic and logical position void of our typical insertions of emotional factors she was completely destroyed by the lady who opposed ERA. After completely agreeing with her opponent’s case that ERA was a righteous cause and every point needed to be the law of the land the lady lawyer speaking in opposition made a single point and proceeded to methodically prove her case with indisputable evidence. The lady’s case was that a constitutional amendment was not needed to support the rights of this specific group to equal treatment under the law. She sited specific federal statutes as well as the words of our founders to support her case that all the elements of law were already in existence. She made the case that what was needed was the enforcement of the current law rather than an amendment to our Constitution. I have often said that if our nation could be defined with a single word that word is equality. I have been honored by my country with decorations for valor and for wounds I received in combat. I have been humbled and honored by a few awards my lady and I have received for our pubic service to our community and nation. I take greater personal pride in the blood I shed as a teenage “Freedom Rider” in Alabama than all my accomplishments in the last 68 years. I would defend my sister Americans’ right to equality with the last drop of this old paratrooper’s blood. I can not support ERA and I assure you that is not a reflection on my belief that all Americans regardless of gender are equal under the law. This fact is at the very core of our nation’s principle.————————————————————-
Carolyn A. Cook Thank you for your comments. I read with great interest and appreciate your honesty.I believe that some men have great difficulty relating to the 2nd class citizenship of women because deep in their hearts they are ashamed to admit that it has been men perhaps themselves or others who have kept women in their place. But when it comes to the plight of black men – most white men feel empathy and a sense of brotherhood in seeking justice. I can relate to that sentiment for women. We are all tribal.
But there are a different set of rules in our society when it comes to men and women. Imagine how a team would function to play under two separate sets of rules among its players? Chaos and frustration.
But the beauty of equality enshrined in the Constitution is that it is a written promise that cannot be broken. No matter the law, no matter the politician, no matter the religious beliefs… or circumstance, human beings are equal in the eyes of the law.
Every day couples sign marriage contracts for better or for worse, yet Uncle Sam gets a free pass when it comes to women. Empty promises and proclamations of women’s post feminist world ring hollow.
Strict constructionists often oppose the ERA because it was not the intent of the forefathers to grant autonomy to women. We were and are legal property of men. And the behaviors and actions today prove that the collective mindset has not changed for men or women in spite of the fight for women’s equal treatment. But somehow when it comes to men relating to men – whether by race or sexual orientation – the dynamic and dialogue changes…. for them equality must happen. For women – stay on your proverbial pedestal, look pretty and don’t speak your mind.
For me, the Equal Rights Amendment is the gold standard for our humanity. It sets forth a fundamental principle of true democracy that all human beings whether male or female are equally valued when they come to the table. The constitution inspires us to seek greater levels of awareness, compassion and appreciation unlike laws which seek to restrict behavior.
In the end, it’s not law that will bring about women’s freedom from oppression. But the establishment of a level playing field throughout society that has the indelible power to collectively transform thought, behavior, action, tradition and eventually culture. For me the ERA is my personal and professional investment in a future that will stand the test of time and trends to endure and succeed where we leave off. There is no better gift for generations upon generations to come than the gift of respect and dignity for one another.
Six jurors unanimously voted to acquit George Zimmerman. After 16 hours of deliberation, they came to the same conclusion – not that he was innocent but that they could not convict. I thought he would be convicted, but I trust their decision. I trust women. We think a-lot. We consider all sides. We are compassionate. We are fair. It was not an easy decision. And neither was OJ Simpson’s.
If we took race out of this equation and inserted gender when murders of women happens daily across America, would an issue be made of this case? Would the justice department investigate? Would the NAACP pursue? Would National Organization for Women call for justice? Would citizens notice or care?
Ben Jealous (Pres. NAACP) cited an example of a black woman being charged for 20 years for shooting into a ceiling to protect herself again from intimate partner violence. Now, I don’t know her partner’s race, but assuming he was black- then her case was most certainly not a case of racial profiling as he contended, but gender profiling. Elsa Newman, a white lawyer, was sentenced to 20 years in prison when her children’s godmother shot her ex-husband in the leg for sexually assaulting their children. The children were sentenced to live with their father – the creepy dude who took showers with them. The boys now hate their mother. Justice?
Human rights are human rights no matter who is the victim. I hope one day that our country feels as much outrage towards the disingenuous treatment of all women by the Courts which has continued for centuries. Congress and the states continue to bar women from achieving the 1923 Equal Rights Amendment despite “equality and justice for all” hanging above our Supreme Court.
Yes, America, where is our outrage? Where are the million signatures to the White House to free Bradley Manning or to reinstate Edward Snowden’s passport who seeks asylum or to insist that Congress remove its deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment? And so what if Zimmerman is 1/2 white and 1/2 Hispanic. He’s a racist.
In the end, we all pick our battles. And divided… we continue to fail.
Seriously, Rev. Currie?
Women should forfeit 2/3 Congress, 35 states and 224 years of 2nd class citizenship to broaden the Equal Rights Amendment to include everyone who has ever been discriminated against? That subtle hint just rolls off the silver tongue of a man of the cloth, doesn’t it? Kind of lulls one to sleep before being rudely awakened. Women are bred to play 2nd fiddle. Always serving everyone else first. Always giving up the best slice of meat or the largest piece of cake…
Trust me, I got that message loud and clear in Catholic School as a kid. And you know where it left society? In a free fall of human despair.
Ah these words brought to us by the heart of patriarchy in America – a white man of the cloth – a blogger on Huff Po. Hey Rev., those boys never came back to help us win suffrage. They carried on without turning back. Hey…. I’ve got a better idea! How about you give up your white male moral privilege and we’ll all be equally oppressed together? Yeah, we didn’t think so. And neither will we go back to the starting line before tasting the sweet victory of the 1923 Equal Rights Amendment. She’s ours to claim for a more sane existence. And Rev, we promise to include Everyone.