April Fool's Day saw two jokes played through the Internet, one funny one not. The first announced that Homeland Security had closed Buzz Flash. Funny. The other April Fool's joke, the one by George Will, was not funny; it was ugly.
Why is it that on April 1st all of these NeoCons simultaneously began attacking the Equal Rights Amendment? The ERA is not a feminist issue; it is about freedom and what it means to be a real American. Their actions have their own logic. Pundits as Will and Schlafly oppose the ERA to obfuscate the historic bait and switch that allows all of us to be chopped up like liverwurst for the profit of the corporate state.
Obviously marching orders were issued. We know how that works. The White House Briefing goes out; operatives such as John Fund, Matt Drudge, and Robert Novak call those further down the power chain. Articles slamming the ERA appear at nearly the same moment. Steve Frank's Capitol News, is one example of that. Frank, an old friend of Fund's probably chatted with John Fund directly. Will might have talked with Novak. Or those instructions could have come through those special briefings Fund is so proud of receiving from the White House.
You can't manipulate public opinion without inserting opinions; to make that work you use operatives to let those 'on salary' know the issue so they can produce their specialized spin. So George Will sat down to construct his hit job on the the Equal Rights Amendment. He used a front end of sneering and demeaning comments,“dolled up in love beads and bell-bottomed trousers.” He followed with an argument that has been worn threadbare but never really examined that insists the ERA is redundant. Will cited, without naming it, a decision by the Supreme Court in 1971. There were reasons he did not want those examined too closely. There were two relevant decisions rendered that year and between the two is a world of difference.
Those two decisions tell a story that the NeoCons can't afford to have known. Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp affirms the right of the State to intrude into the private affairs of individuals, effectively canceling our inherent rights, the other, Reed v. Reed, and with a salutatory 7-0 decision, says, “the Court struck down an Illinois law giving preference to a male seeking to administrate an estate over an equally entitled female. This case concerned a set of separated parents whose adopted son had died without a will. Both sought to administrate the deceased's estate; following the law, a lower court had placed the father in charge. The Supreme Court ruled that men and women could be treated differently only when there was some reasonable and relevant cause for doing so; while the Illinois law simplified judicial proceedings, arbitrarily giving preference to men over women was "to make the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."
It must have annoyed them that the two decisions came in the same year.
That is one part of the obfescation Will, Schlafly, and other NeoCon operatives routinely use. The other one is ignoring the lower standard used on gender issues by the Supreme Court. According to those standards women are second class citizens and the NeoCons oppose the ERA because they are hoping to reduce even the consideration of 'Intermediate Scrutiny' cases of gender discrimination have now. Cute how Will glosses over that, isn't it? You can just hear him say, “Stupid women should shut up and be glad we let them wear shoes now.”
After that vague reference to 1971 Will moves on to his finale. There, he rather neatly segues again, unintentionally affirming the corporate connivance between government and megacorporations by citing as accepted fact the right of the State to make determinations on insurance questions. Success for the megacorporations and for people like Will depend on constantly reinforcing the idea government and corporations are not violating our rights every time they assert the power to regulate.
In a free market the state would have no such role. Until after WWII the State had no role there. Fraternal Orders had been providing for the needs of Americans for nearly a century by then. They made no profit, seeking only to provide security for their members. All kinds of fraternal orders were growing briskly and providing for those needs when FDR, himself a member of the Elks and Redmen, suggested with the best of intentions, a voluntary insurance plan available to Americans. Until it became obvious how profitable selling insurance could be all commercial purveyors of insurance were viewed as conmen, which of course they are.
Voluntary. Limited. Money held in trust.
That was, of course, Social Security. It took less that 20 years for Democrats to convert it into a tax imposed by law on all. Notice who benefited, megacorporations. Who made it possible? Congress. How was it accomplished? By ignoring the fact that such decisions are clearly outside the purview of government. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
George Will is not going to talk about unisex bathrooms or be caught saying that passage of the ERA will put women in combat. He knows his audience. But he did his best to deliver the goods for his NeoCon cronies that makes his posh lifestyle possible.
Unisex bathrooms, military service for women, and other such silliness are Phyllis Schlafly's ideas. Afew days ago at a forum in Maine Schlafly also said about rape, “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape." Let's not think about her fantasy life. It is amazing that today she can still deliver her lines with a straight face. One wonders what she would do if her husband decided his needs had to be met while she was at the podium. If she is consistent she would probably just assume the position.
The Equal Rights Amendment has never been more essential because if action is not taken America will become a corporate plantation with us as the slaves. It is not the freedom of women that is most on point but the freedom of all Americans.
To understand you need to revisit a moment in time; you need to taste and breathe in the vision a people who hungered for freedom.
Those people began a Revolution; that war is not finished. America has an unrealized Mission Statement, the Declaration of Independence. Mission Statements define the goal and motivate those whose pay in blood, sweat, and tears, to achieve that goal.
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