May we vote as if our lives depend on it

Dear President Trump,

Last night at about 8 Laura went to the grocery. There weren’t all that many items on the shopping list, but chief among them was Kozy Shack Tapioca or some other Kozy Shack pudding product – it had been a long, fairly rough day and some caloric comfort was a priority. Well, apparently I was not alone in that desire last night. When Laura got back she said that all the KS Tapioca and Rice Pudding was gone and there was only one KS Chocolate Pudding left so that’s what came home with her. Usually our Safeway stocks a boatload of KS product and that there was only one tub left is mindboggling and more than a little sad. I wonder how they are doing when it comes to restocking alcohol.

Just now Laura asked me if I’d seen any good news this morning and the best I could come up with is that it looks like Virginia will soon be the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which is the number of states needed to add it to the Constitution. Before giving you an earful about why this is not exactly booming good news, here is the text of the Amendment, all 24 words of it:

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

It’s a simple, one sentence declaration of basic equality that should have been a no-brainer in 1923 (really, 1776….) when it was first introduced it to Congress. Obviously this was shortly after women were FINALLY granted suffrage and allowed to vote so it probably seemed reasonable that if women were to be trusted with the vote, then surely they should be seen as equal under the laws of the United States in which they were now allowed to vote. After all, why would you allow people who aren’t perceived to be your equals do something so potentially impactful as vote? I suppose there could have been the assumption that women would follow their husbands’ lead and vote in lockstep with them and thus not be a threat. Or maybe the idea was that women would so underestimate their collective power that they wouldn’t bother voting or that individual men would keep ‘their’ women in line and make sure they voted ‘properly’ (which would obviate the need for a female version of the state sponsored Jim Crow terrorism that was perpetrated against African American men around voting).

It’s not clear whether the ERA was formally considered/discussed/voted on in 1923, but what is clear is that the current version didn’t get the green light from Congress until 1972, and here we are in 2020 finally about to pull in the 38th state to tip it over the magic three-quarter mark. Except, of course, there’s a f*cking catch – your DOJ ruled that because Congress set a ratification deadline of 1979 (it was maybe extended to 1982, but it’s not really clear that this was agreed upon by the power brokers), it doesn’t matter that we now have the requisite number of states on board – you all say the thing’s been dead in the water for 41 (or 38) years so we are SOL. I can hear you saying something like “too bad, so sad” while you wipe away a faux tear.

Well, assuming no states decide to unratify, we will carry this righteous three-quarters into the next presidency and Goodness willing, fairness and commonsense will prevail and the ERA will become the law of the land.

Did you see what Barack Obama said last month?

“I’m absolutely confident that if for two years every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything… living standards and outcomes.”

It’s a totally unrealistic (right now), moonshot of a statement, but I love that he said it and that it’s out there.

May we vote as if our lives depend on it.
May we be willing to bust out of the patriarchy box.
May we see that the world would truly be healthier if women and girls were fully enfranchised.
May we not make peace with the status quo.

Tracy Simpson

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