Friday, February 14, 2020

Equal Rights For Women? Is That Radical And Extreme? Only For Trump Republicans


Last month we mentioned that when the Virginia legislature, now controlled by the Democrats, passed ERA-- the Equal Rights Amendment-- Trump and his Republican enablers were still attempting to prevent it from being added to the Constitution. And that continues, of course. But yesterday, the House passed Jackie Speier's H.J. Resolution 79 removing the deadline for the ratification of the amendment.

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, took to the floor to urge her colleagues to vote for the bill. Actually it was more like a celebratory statement, since she already knew the bill was going to pass. "What a glorious day this is! Today, the House will vote to remove the arbitrary deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. With our vote today, and with Virginia’s historic vote to become the thirty-eighth and final state necessary to ratify the amendment, little girls, their moms and women across this country will know that yes, our Constitution can and will enshrine a ban on discrimination on the basis of sex. Equality of the sexes is not debatable. It has no expiration date. First proposed almost a century ago and passed by Congress in 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment would be a momentous step forward for women-- to end unequal pay, pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment and exploitation. To women across the country who are watching today, let me just say: 'We see you and we stand with you' as we take this step toward equal rights."

Every single Democrat, even the worst Blue Dogs, voted for passage. And, of course almost all of the Republicans did as well. Almost. Five Republicans broke with Trump and McCarthy and crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats. After all, half their constituents are women and they must have figured that out. The Republicans who voted in solidarity with women were John Curtis (UT), Rodney Davis (IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Tom Reed (NY) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ). The rest of the Republicans in the House-- or 182 of them anyway (+ ex-Republican Justin Amash)-- voted to continue waging the GOP war against women.

Audrey Denney is running for Congress in the northeast corner of California, a seat held by anti-equality Republican Doug LaMalfa. Audrey told us that she is "inspired by the women who have been unceasingly fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment for decades. Now that the ERA has passed the requisite number of states required to become law, we must continue to advocate for it to become a part of our Constitution and we must continue to fight to ensure that nobody is discriminated against based on their gender. This has been a bad week for Rep. LaMalfa’s record on defending women as he voted against enshrining the ERA in the Constitution and was one of only 37 Representatives to vote against the wildly bipartisan H.R.1980 which would have established a Smithsonian Museum of women’s history. Rep. LaMalfa claims to be 'one of us,' yet makes it clear from his votes that he doesn’t advocate for the women of our nation or California’s First District.

Liam O'Mara is also a California progressive running for Congress. His district, in Riverside County, is represented-- poorly-- by reactionary Republican Ken Calvert, who was arrested after being caught in a parked car with an underage, drugged-up prostitute (his pants down around his ankles)-- and then trying to flee from the police. Obviously, Calvert voted against the Equal Rights Amendment. Liam would have been proud to vote for it. "182 Republican legislators did not consider women worthy of equal citizenship (many do not consider women fully equal as humans, of course)," he told us after the vote. "One of those 'no' votes was Corrupt Ken Calvert, the Republican who has held CD-42 since 1993. Even half a century after the ERA was introduced, he still does not think women deserve legal equality. It is a sad fact of American life that in some ways a male corpse has more rights than a living woman, and the reason for this is 100% the Republican party. It remains beholden to the same sort of reactionary views on femininity which animated the fascist movement, and this anti-woman agenda is one more element of the GOP's steady drift into overt neofascism. Are women people? Do they deserve to be regarded as free and equal citizens? Vote to replace Calvert and the other 182 Republicans who disagree."

In southeast Missouri-- Limbaugh country-- the local congressman, Jason Smith, isn't someone anyone could possibly expect to either break with his party leadership or vote for women's equality. Cathy Ellis is the progressive Democrat taking him on. She told us that "Today is a proud day for the ERA and for women across this country. I have been a proud advocate for the ERA since I was young, and I am honored to see it finally move forward towards ratification. Unfortunately, my opponent does not feel this way. Jason Smith proudly voted no today, and he should truly be ashamed of himself. A vote against the ERA is a vote against women and equality. It’s time for a new leader in Missouri’s 8th that respects the rights of all people to have equal treatment under the law. It’s clear where Smith stands and who he works for. He doesn’t work for women, the LGBTQ+, our animals, our unions, or our families. All I can say is-- I’ll see him in November.”

Goal ThermometerSteve King isn't someone anyone would expect to stand up for women either. He's the only member of the Iowa congressional delegation to vote NO-- and J.D. Scholten wants to make sure it's the last time he votes against equality for women. "Today," said Scholten,"should have been one of Steve King’s easiest votes to cast: removing the arbitrary deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and banning discrimination on the basis of sex. Unsurprisingly, King voted no. This is a slap in the face to the 380,000 women and girls in Iowa’s 4th district and millions more across this country. Plain and simple: Steve King does not value women. He sees them as vehicles for childbirth-- but to him, that’s the extent of their worth. King couldn’t be more wrong that women deserve full lived and legal equality under the law, and are critical to the success of our communities, government, culture, and economy."

You might think Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a fairly senior Republican woman, might speak up for the ERA. But then you'd be wrong. She voted NO today and her progressive opponent in the Spokane-centered district, Chris Armitage noticed. "This," he said, "is a continuation of Cathy's near three decade long crusade to ensure that women, the LGBT community, and marginalized communities are not protected from discrimination. Whether voting against the Equal Rights Amendment, Same Sex Marriage, or even something as simple as changing the word 'Oriental' to 'Asian' in WA State Documents, Cathy has remained reliably bigoted. Now she is one of Trump's most important fundraising chairs. This is a race she won by single digits in 2018 and as she runs for her 9th term, her pro-discrimination platform will lose her this Congressional seat."

Jon Hoadley's opponent, Fred Upton, tries painting himself as a moderate in a moderate district-- and then he gives in (always) to the slightest pressure from the extremists who run the GOP. Upton was a NO vote. State Rep Hoadley told us that Upton "turned his back on every single woman in Michigan and across the country. Upton's vote against allowing the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to move forward is completely inexcusable and downright shameful. Equality isn't partisan, it doesn't expire, and it's long past time that we ensure that women have equal rights, equal protections under the law, and equal pay in the workplace. It's time the women of Southwest Michigan have someone representing them who values them every bit as much as they value their male constituents-- in Congress, I'll always fight for equality."

Want to help replace LaMalfa, Calvert, Smith, King, McMorris Rodgers and Upton with men and women who believe in equality? That's why I included the 2020 Blue America congressional thermometer above.

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At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a woman (Phyllis Schlafly) who torpedoed the ERA ratification Too many living women have "religious" beliefs which posit that they are to submit to benign male domination at all times even if they are allowed to speak their minds. The male decision is final!

Having to start ratification all over again means it isn't going to be ratified at all.

I guess women didn't really want this to be ratified enough to make sure it happened. What would their suffragette grandmothers have to say about this?

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a tenet of the southern Baptists that women are subservient to their male masters.

that leaves out most of the trump states. a reboot of ratification is certain to fail.

But so what? Both parties refuse to enforce 80% of the existing constitution. And voters will never elect anyone who will.

so... what were we discussing again? mass futility?


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