Tuesday, September 6, 2016

RIP, Phyllis Schlafly

I met Phyllis Schlafly about 10 years ago at the Federalist Society National Convention.  I told her I'd long admired her, and had written a column for the Voice-Tribune about her contribution to conservatism.

She asked if I had seen her speech earlier that day. I was mortified; I apologized that, no, we had our sons with us and I had taken them to the Air & Space Museum because they were too young to go alone. I told her how sorry I was to miss it,

She informed me that her speech had been videotaped, and I could watch that.

It was not a warm and fuzzy exchange. Mrs. Schlafly was an intimidating lady with an imposing demeanor.

All those feminists and politicians and journalists she'd wrestled with over the decades must have been shocked upon first meeting her. The Mainstream Media and late night comedians portrayed her as a crazy house wife, some sort of throw-back. That belied her intellect (she had a Master's from Harvard and earned a law degree). She had an intellectual toughness. And she was fearless.

There are lots of smart people who are willing to put in the hours to work hard. Certainly those attributes contributed to Mrs. Schlafly's success. But what really stood out about her was her force of will and tenacity for fighting for her beliefs.

I have always been grateful to her, not just advancing conservative principles, but for the dignity she gave to the role of mother and wife.

She provided a counter-example to the notion that all women (and certainly all women lawyers) must be liberal feminists. She showed that women are not some ideological monolith -- that we can and should think for ourselves, even if that means challenging feminist orthodoxy. Even if it meant being mocked and ridiculed.

Conservatism has lost a lioness.

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